April 11 and the wolverine watch is over. Ms. Brasseur, our intrepid wolverine project leader, is off to the desert for some well-deserved vacation, and the revolving door that the 125-plus volunteers have been rotating through since December has rolled to a stop. No one has called me for a padlock key or trying to remember the combination to the key box at the freezer in days and there are no photo-warriors sitting at the end of the office oohing and ahhing about images of fishers and martens and weasels, oh, my. Even the IDFG team of Michael, Lacy and Scott seems to have moved on to other endeavors.
The silence in the office is deafening.
But, outside, the noise is just beginning. A song sparrow has been serenading me on my morning walks with Laddie, and robins are singing in the evening twilight. Canada geese are vocalizing and the umpteenth generation of ruffed grouse since I was a boy is thumping out his message of love in the woods west of the house beginning at about 4 each morning. I’ve been smelling spring, too, for the past few days, and the skunk cabbage is beginning to show yellow at Denton Slough. The snow geese have moved on, and yesterday, the redtail hawk who claims one of our riverfront trees in Montana as hers each year came home — and, as usual, scolded me for being in her neighborhood.
Summer’s coming. We have hikes to plan and trail projects to figure out. Another Extreme Plein Air hike is brewing.
Fourth of July parades, the Huckleberry Festival and the Bonner County Fair will give our volunteers a chance to wear their FSPW hats and t-shirts and spread the word a bit farther about our wilderness.
In this “down” season, we are sorting resumés in search of an intern, who we will share with the Cabinet Ranger District as a Scotchman Peaks wilderness ranger, and a summer project coordinator, who will be handling the details on our trail projects, education series and other public events.
The silence will not last long. April 22, we celebrate Earthday with lots of other folks around the country. April 26, we are headed to the Panida in Sandpoint for a benefit celebrating our 4,000th Friend of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness — quite a landmark for FSPW, and a confirmation that, not only are we growing, but our basic message about the importance of preserving the Peaks and other wild places is spreading.
It is good to have time to take a deep breath of spring air and look to the snow-covered Peaks. I know we will find good help for the coming season, and I know we will continue the good work of Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.