Montana recommends against Yellowstone grizzly hunt
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are recommending against holding a grizzly bear hunt in 2018 after the animals lost their federal protections across a three-state region around Yellowstone National Park.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Martha Williams said Thursday the state wants to demonstrate its commitment to the grizzly’s long-term recovery.
State wildlife commissioners will consider the matter Feb. 15.
An estimated 700 grizzly bears roam the Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho — up from an estimated 136 when they were given protections in the mid-1970s.
Federal officials lifted protections last year, opening the door to hunts for the first time in decades.
Wyoming game commissioners last month said they want grizzly hunting regulations to be drafted. That means hunting could begin this fall.
New bill would tweak Idaho’s trespassing laws
BOISE (AP) — An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would add increased fines for trespassing on private property.
The Idaho Statesman reports that House Agricultural Affairs Chairwoman Judy Boyle on Thursday described the state’s trespass laws as a “patchwork” and in need of an update.
If approved, Boyle’s bill would set trespassing penalties anywhere from $50 to $500, with higher fees for people who intentionally trespass. Additionally, third time trespass offenses would be charged as a felony.
Boyle, a rancher, says she’s experienced trespassing on her property and added that the law should protect private property rights.
Post Falls railroad crossing upgraded following fatal wreck
POST FALLS (AP) — A railroad crossing in a northern Idaho city has been upgraded with additional safety features nearly a year after a wreck between a car and train caused the death of a 15-year-old girl.
The Coeur d’Alene Press reports the Union Pacific crossing at Spokane Street in Post Falls has been equipped with $925,000 in safety features, including bells, flashing lights and lighted gates.
Another crossing in Post Falls on Grange Avenue received $564,000 in upgrades. Officials are coordinating efforts among railroad companies and state and federal agencies to also upgrade a crossing in Athol.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 29 wrecks between trains and cars were recorded in Kootenai County over the last decade. The wrecks resulted in six deaths, including that of Mikelli Villasenor in Post Falls.