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Sep. 24—New award created for nonfiction stories about sheep hunting and conservation

The Jack O'Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center and Wild Sheep Foundation have created a new award for nonfiction stories about sheep hunting and conservation.

The Jack O'Connor Writes Award will focus on magazine-style articles and photo essays that focus on the promotion of ethical wild sheep hunting and reflect the sort of storytelling that made O'Connor a favorite read among the sporting public.

O'Connor was known as the dean of outdoor writers. He lived in Lewiston, his adopted hometown, for 30 years. For more than four decades he wrote about big game hunting the world over and was the resident expert on guns and shooting for Outdoor Life magazine.

He died in 1978, but is still remembered for his tales of African safaris, bighorn sheep hunts in Alaska and pursuing whitetail deer in Idaho and Arizona. The Jack O'Connor center at Hells Gate State Park houses many of his trophy mounts, as well as some of his guns and writing memorabilia.

The annual award will be given to the author of the best published article about wild sheep hunting and conservation. The winning author will receive a bronze bust of O'Connor. The deadline for the inaugural contest is Nov. 1. More information about the rules of the contest will be posted at

Veterans and newbies can get a jump on waterfowl season

Young hunters, veterans and military personnel can get a jump on the waterfowl season in Idaho this weekend.

A special two-day hunt for hunters 17 and younger and for those who are serving or have served in the military starts Saturday. More information is available at

Lolo Pass Visitors Center to celebrate Natl. Public Lands Day

POWELL — The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest will celebrate National Public Lands Day at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center near here Saturday.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.and has outdoor activities for the whole family, including arts and crafts and yard games for children and interpretive programs for adults.

Attendees will be asked to follow current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Masks are required inside the visitor center.

Wildlife club holds enhanced carry license training

LAPWAI — The Lewis Clark Wildlife Club is holding an enhanced carry weapons license training at its shooting range near here sunday.

The training will occupy the six-bench portion of the range and the classroom area. The 18-bench side of the range will be open for public shooting.

Forest thinning to be done at Fields Spring State Park

ANATONE — Washington State Parks will conduct forest thinning at Fields Spring State Park near here this fall.

The project is designed to reduce the risk of wildfires, insects and disease and to improve the overall health of the forests there, according to a news release from the Washington Department of Parks and Recreation.

A contractor has been hired to thin approximately 300 acres south of State Route 129. Preparations for that work are underway. Park officials are asking visitors not to disturb paint and flagging in the area. The work is scheduled to begin next month and last into the spring. Follow-up work may include trail repairs, debris management, replanting and noxious weed control.

Portions of the park and select trails will close during the logging. All trails will reopen once they are deemed safe. Because the park attracts winter recreationists, closure updates will be posted periodically on State Parks' Winter Recreation Twitter feed @WAStatePks_WNTR.

Shaun McKinney to supervise Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

BAKER CITY — Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa announced this week that Shaun McKinney will serve as the next supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

McKinney joins the Wallowa-Whitman from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, where he leads a team providing direct assistance, training and innovative natural resources technological solutions to agency personnel. He has previous senior leadership experience within the Forest Service.

"Shaun has worked in both public and private land conservation, drawing on his background as a fisheries biologist to inform his strategic direction and oversight of a large team tasked with developing and implementing innovative technical solutions for field science staff working on a variety of complex natural resource issues," Casamassa said. "His considerable experience in organizational leadership, science-based decision-making and innovative problem-solving will serve him well as he serves the residents and communities of eastern Oregon as Forest Supervisor on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest."

McKinney has a master's degree in fisheries science and statistics from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University.

"I'm looking forward to returning to the Blue Mountains, where I began my career, to work together with the staff, communities and partners on healthy ecosystems and economies. It will be an exciting next chapter, filled with challenges and opportunities," he said.

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