Unjust bust, photo

What an injustice that Vanessa Schultz, the off-duty Colorado police officer who wrongfully held a Jackson teenager at gunpoint, was not charged with a criminal offense. Our police and community failed to stand up for the rights and dignity of an innocent and wrongly targeted individual. We should be outraged.

And News&Guide, please be more mindful of how publishing the photo of an innocent young Latino man unjustly placed in handcuffs was extremely insensitive and does so much more harm than good. In reality, it was Schultz who should have been under arrest.

Instead, why not choose a photo of the young man positively engaged with his school community or with friends? As you know, pictures leave a powerful lasting impression.

Beth Eastman

Jackson

Yes to wildlife crossings

You might think that a specific purpose excise tax proposal would not appeal to everyone, but I have a suggestion that might come pretty close to doing just that: wildlife crossings.

Most folks have themselves or have had a family member who has been adversely affected by a collision with a large animal, so lots of locals may find preventing such accidents pretty tempting.

Hunters like to have lots of elk and deer around, as well as moose and bison. Bikers and hikers like to observe wild animals. And guess what: Even the tourists don’t like blood on their vehicle as a souvenir, and many of them came here especially to photograph live animals.

Some folks in the auto repair business or who just don’t want to pay taxes could feel like voting against crossings, but most of them have vehicles and family members at risk, too.

So since it seems like almost all of us are in favor of a healthy population of native critters and concerned about both the risks of injury in collisions and the cost of repairing vehicles, I think I would certainly vote for a SPET for crossings. Please consider joining me in protecting our wildlife and our community.

Richard Klene

Jackson

Don’t boot rainbows

Your May 8 article on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent electroshocking and removal of naturalized rainbows and hybrids raises questions about the department’s agenda. The fishing industry, including businesses, cannot afford the impact of this practice, which will hurt anglers’ chances for years to come.

Per its website, Fish and Game purports the practice is needed to protect Yellowstone large-spotted cutthroat. In the 1990s an Endangered Species Act petition sought to list the Yellowstone cutthroat. That petition was denied in 2001 and again declined on appeal in 2005. Fourteen years later Fish and Game is still operating, on assumption, to avoid any potential ESA listing.

In reality, one could argue, the Snake below Palisades Dam would never be included in any future ESA actions because of the reasons below.

Stocking records in Idaho in the upper Snake River region, dating back to the 1890s, suggest a lengthy and high level of hybridization of stocked rainbows, hatchery Yellowstone and Snake River cutthroats below Palisades Reservoir. This has resulted in genetic dilution not seen above Palisades.

In the opinion of Dr. Robert Benhke in his 2002 book, “Trout and Salmon of North America,” he doubts that “the size of the spots on the fine-spotted cutthroat trout became larger at the Wyoming-Idaho border.”

Above Palisades Dam, the federal government and Wyoming recognize and effectively manage the Snake River, Salt River and Palisades Reservoir for Snake River fine-spotted cutthroats.

The Snake River fine-spotted is known to be an aggressive feeder and thus has a higher survival rate. This allows them to directly compete with rainbows and outcompete Yellowstone cutthroat for habitat and reproductive success. A Snake River fine-spotted-centric agenda ultimately makes more sense than a Yellowstone cutthroat agenda.

It is Idaho Fish and Game’s biological opinion that the subspecies of cutthroat changes below Palisades Dam to Yellowstone cutthroats.

So one has to ask for what reason and how did Fish and Game change the spotting pattern and native trout below Palisades Dam?

Angler satisfaction and perception of Fish and Game is changing, and not for the positive. Anglers have absolutely voted their opinion by not participating in Idaho’s angler incentive rainbow removal program. Less than 0.5% of Idaho’s over 300,000 annual anglers have chosen to participate. That is a deafening statement of a failed program. And a strong vote to leave the fishery as it is.

The local economies, including shops, restaurants and accommodations, are suffering and will continue to as long as this misguided program is in place.

The time is now for a middle ground to protect the South Fork fishery. And to do what is economically sound for Idaho citizens and anglers who come from near and far to revel in the diverse fishery the South Fork has to offer.

Fish and Game, through a partnership with local businesses, should consider: full spawning tributary protection, including acquiring water rights; placing Snake River fine-spotted egg boxes in all of the tributaries, not just in Rainey Creek; stocking Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat to replace losses due to electroshocking; and approving a pure six rainbow harvest limit.

The South Fork is the most successfully diverse fishery in the world. That diversity needs to be celebrated — not vilified. The vast majority of us would like to keep it that way for generations to come.

Edmund Emory

Swan Valley, Idaho

Letters to the editor should be limited to 400 words, be signed and include a town of residence and a telephone number for verification. Letters are due by 5 p.m. Monday. No thank yous or political endorsement letters. Guest Shot columns are limited to 800 words. Email editor@jhnewsandguide.com.

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