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Forest Service says popular road in Elkhorns will stay open to vehicles


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Photo by Christina Witham A Jeep navigates granite boulders along the North Powder River Road.

By Jayson Jacoby

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A popular four-wheel drive road in the Elkhorn Mountains northwest of Baker City will remain open to motor vehicles even if Congress designates a new wilderness there, a Forest Service official said this week.

Jodi Kramer, public affairs officer for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, said the Forest Service’s goal is to exclude the North Powder River Road from any new wilderness.

Congress has the final say in designating wilderness areas, and there are no bills pending to do so in the Elkhorns.

The news about the North Powder River Road is welcome, said Christina Witham of Baker City.

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Avalanche Center offers training for skiers, sledders


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Photo by Dave Clemens/ David Petrie along the West Fork of the Wallowa River.

By Katy Nesbitt

The (La Grande) Observer

JOSEPH — Backcountry skiing and snowmobiling, once reserved for a few adventurous souls, are gaining popularity throughout North America. With more people recreating in avalanche-prone territory, the risk of getting caught in a snow slide is also on the rise.

According to a Feb. 19 National Public Radio report, nine people died in 10 days in the Western U.S. Midwinter storms not only increased much needed snowpack, but created conditions risky for backcountry recreationists.

Backcountry skiing in the Wallowa and Elkhorn mountains is becoming more popular not only with locals, but with skiers from around the northwest. In 2009 Keith Stebbings, a retired engineer and longtime backcountry skier with ties to the avalanche center in Salt Lake City, moved to Joseph and met up with like-minded adventurers. 

Northeastern Oregon had no avalanche center, but a combination of the terrain and the growing interest in backcountry skiing and snowmobiling prompted Stebbings and others to form the Wallowa Avalanche Center.

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GO! Magazine available online

GO! Magazine now has a new address: http://www.gonortheastoregon.com.

Look to GO! Northeast Oregon for your current entertainment, dining and event options in Baker, Union and Wallowa Counties.

 

Rodeo ropes money for causes

In Baker County, the Fourth of July means that it’s time for the Haines Stampede and all the trimmings.

With the pancake breakfast, the parade, the rodeo and the fireworks, there’s enough to fill anyone’s plate. 

Besides all the fun, friends, food and family, the festivities in Haines have important philanthropic elements. 

 

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One family, 3 heart surgeries

Jason and Stacy Bingham are living a double nightmare, watching hearts fail in both their son and daughter.

It’s happened before for the couple, who live near Haines.

Different child, same diagnosis.

Lindsey Lou, 8, and Gage, 3, are now next door to each other at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

Lindsey hasn’t felt quite right for a while, but she got really sick in May.

“May 19, she woke up with a swollen face,” Jason said. Her diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that causes it to become enlarged.

It is the exact diagnosis the Binghams heard six years ago when their oldest daughter, Sierra, got sick. “It never crossed my mind,” Jason said.

Sierra, now 12, was admitted to Lucile Packard in July 2006, and received a heart transplant that August.

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