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Elk is on its own as the herd snitch

Outdoor Notes

The Foothills herd of Roosevelt elk that roam the northeast edge of Medford still has just one snitch among themselves.

The cow elk captured and collared earlier this month is the only elk state wildlife biologist Steve Niemela managed to catch in traps set around rural Medford.

Hot weather and the onslaught of the calving season convinced Niemela to halt the spring trapping effort May 12.

We're on hold right now and we'll probably wait until fall to resume the trapping effort, Niemela says.

The elk's radio collar transmits a frequency that helps Niemela, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, track the elk's every movement.

— The collar helps biologists track the Foothill herd's movement and will help the agency trap as many of the elk as possible over the next few years and transplant them in the Biscuit fire area of Josephine County.

The Foothill herd has swelled to about 80 animals, causing safety problems as they cross Foothill and Vilas roads as well as triggering conflicts with commercial pear orchards.

Niemela says he last flew over the area May 12 and the elk's collar shows she has remained in the Roxy Ann Peak area and is alive.

Sections of the Rogue River near Grants Pass will be closed to the public occasionally Friday through Monday to make room for the annual Boatnik races.

Private boats must be off the water in designated areas 30 minutes before the start of the jetboat races, according to the Josephine County Sheriff's Department's marine program. Private boaters also are banned from assisting in any crash or rescue operations as well.

However, boats may be anchored on the shoreline in areas deemed safe by race officials as well as marine deputies, says marine Deputy Ernie Fields.

Unauthorized boaters face citations for reckless or unsafe operation of a boat, which carries a &

36;421 bail.

Here are the closure periods issued Tuesday by marine deputies:

Friday:

The Rogue from Baker Park to Schroeder Park will be closed during race events scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday:

The Rogue from Baker Park to Robertson Bridge will be closed during race events scheduled for 11 a.m. to — p.m.

Sunday:

The Rogue from Baker Park to Almeda Park will be closed during race events scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to — p.m.

Monday:

The Rogue from Baker Park to Robertson Bridge will be closed during race events scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Forest Service officials hope to have the only paved access road from Galice to Agness open by Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer boating season.

Bear Camp Road has been blocked all winter and spring by snow, hazard trees and one troublesome slide near milepost 34 just outside of Agness along the Rogue River.

Oregon Department of Transportation crews finished plowing the single lane road May 15, cutting through snowdrifts as high as eight feet, says Patty Burel, spokeswoman for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

This week, Forest Service engineers and a private contractor are attempting to realign a segment of road around the slide and stabilize it as a temporary fix, Burel says. Once the temporary fix is in place and the hazard trees are removed, the road will be open, she says.

The Forest Service plans to build a permanent fix to the slide next year, Burel says.

Bear Camp Road is a popular route for Rogue Valley rafters and boaters who float the Lower Rogue Canyon, the stretch of the Wild and Scenic Rogue between Galice and Agness.

Throughout June, Bear Camp Road users will encounter Forest Service crews doing scheduled maintenance to the road.

Until Bear Camp Road is opened, motorists can take Forest Service Road No. 3348, also known as the Eden Valley Road, which is clear of snow and passable, the Forest Service reports.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail Elk is on its own as the herd snitch"mfreeman@mailtribune.com.