Visitors to one of north Idaho's most popular spots - the 200-acre "Samowen" campground on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille - have often been stumped by its Polynesian-sounding name.
* "Can you tell me about Samoan
campground?" they ask," Idaho Panhandle National Forest spokeswoman
Judy York told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Now the area has been
officially renamed the "Sam Owen Campground," after the man who
donated the land to the Forest Service 56 years
Speaking of misnomers,
the Samish Tribe was among five Washington state tribes declared
"legally extinct" by a federal judge in 1979. U.S. District Judge
George Boldt arguably had two reasons for doing this. First, a
clerk in the Bureau of Indian Affairs inadvertently left the Samish
off a list of federally recognized tribes a decade before, leaving
its 500 members in legal limbo. Secondly, Boldt had Alzheimer's
disease - as the tribes learned when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
reported on Boldt's death certificate.
Samish, who were not aware of their extinction, didn't think much
of Boldt's ruling or its attached legal baggage - the fact that
they were no longer allowed to take salmon, crab or clams from the
waters near their home in northern Puget Sound. So they ignored
"We've been fishing since 1979," tribal
chairwoman Margaret Greene told High Country News. "We haven't been
prosecuted. I want to go out there as soon as possible and get me a
bucket full of shrimp."
bucket of shrimp is one thing, but a test tube of urine is entirely
another. Four unidentified raft guides wrote in boatman's quarterly
review that they have hired a lawyer to challenge the drug-testing
policy that has already started on the Colorado River through the
Grand Canyon and may soon spread to Utah's Canyonlands National
Park and Dinosaur National Monument.
guides point to a 1993 study comparing the injury frequency of
commercial river-running on the Grand Canyon with 17 other sports.
Football was the most injurious, billiards the least. Commercial
whitewater rafting came in third safest, between bowling and
"We've created a monster because we go
"Yippee-ki-yi-ay" down the river," 25-year Colorado River veteran
Tom Moody told the Associated Press. "But because of the modern
equipment and professional training of the guides, it's very safe."
Some stories circulating in
the wake of this tourist season suggest that tourists themselves
should be tested for drugs. The following true story was e-mailed
to us from Greg Poschman of Aspen: A woman visiting Yosemite
National Park embarked on a solo hike to the top of El Capitan.
When she got lost and saw a storm brewing, she called 911 from her
cellular phone and asked to be rescued. A helicopter found her
barely off the trail and less than half a mile from the summit.
When the copter lifted off and the woman saw how close she was to
her goal, she asked the crew to set her down on top. When they
declined, she threatened to sue them for
when an elderly couple stopped to film some bears at Dunraven Pass,
a young bear crawled into their car searching for food. Unable to
make the bear leave, the exasperated couple drove 17 miles to the
ranger station at Canyon Village with the bear in the back seat.
When the husband got out to report the incident, the bear hopped
over into the front seat so that investigating rangers found the
woman in the passenger seat and the bear behind the
It's important to
remember that the only thing that lies between being us and being
tourists is a little bit of geographic displacement. We're actually
not a bit smarter than tourists. Take John Elliott, who recently
launched an unsuccessful bid to unseat Hal Harper, the Democratic
state representative for Montana's District 52. He told the Helena
Independent-Record that he is "against unnecessary laws," but is
nevertheless in favor of the state paying for female state
employees to have their hair done as a birthday gift. He is also
interested in sponsoring legislation that would strengthen families
- such as outlawing divorce proceedings if the woman involved is
Heard around the West
invites readers to get involved in the column. Send any tidbits
that merit sharing - small-town newspaper clips, personal
anecdotes, relevant bumpersticker slogans. The definition remains
loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or