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Kids in for a thrill at Emigrant Lake event

CAST for Kids will hold a fishing event for 40 special-needs kids at Emigrant Lake June 18. [Courtesy photo]

The CAST For Kids organization is looking for some help creating a special day on Emigrant Lake June 18 for a bunch of special kids.

The organization, whose acronym stands for Catch A Special Thrill, plans to return to the Rogue Valley by holding a fishing and boating event for 40 special-needs kids on Emigrant Lake.

Event leaders, however, are in need of volunteer boat captains to take at least one kid and one parent or guardian on a three-hour morning fishing and boating expedition before a picnic lunch at Emigrant Lake County Park.

“Most of these kids have never been boating and never caught a fish,” says Jay Yelas, the event coordinator. “This is a quality outdoor recreation experience for special-needs kids.”

Driftboats and other boats 15 feet or longer are needed, with jetboats and pontoon boats “ideal,” Yelas says.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., finishing with a barbecue and awards ceremony in which each participant will receive a plaque with his or her picture and a little microphone time to tell their fish story.

Boat captains will convene at 7 a.m. at the county park boat ramp to launch their boats and take part in a safety meeting, Yelas says.

To volunteer, sign up at the organization's website at castforkids.org/event/emigrantlake or call Yelas at 541-602-9823.

Bear-proof containers for rent on Wild Rogue

State and federal land managers are partnering with various wildlife groups on a pilot program this summer to curb interactions between black bears and floaters and hikers along the Lower Rogue River Canyon.

The groups are renting out bear-proof food containers for $5 a day to reduce bears’ ability to get food from canyon users — a key component in record-setting bear-human conflicts along the Wild and Scenic Rogue.

The canisters can be rented at Whitewater Cowboys in Merlin, which is on the corridor entering the upper river side of the Wild and Scenic Rogue as well as the Rogue River National Recreation Trail.

By storing food, garbage, sunscreen and even lip balm in these containers, hikers and boaters will reduce the likelihood of bears entering their camps to steal food. That interaction is the most prevalent reason for bear-human conflicts during the heavy recreation period there each spring through fall.

You can rent the canisters online at whitewatercowboys.com/rogue-river-shuttles/wild-and-scenic-section-shuttles.

The bear canister rental program is a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State Police, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, Rogue Riverkeeper and the Humane Society of the United States.

Freeman wins outdoor journalism awards

Mail Tribune outdoors writer Mark Freeman won writing and video awards recently from the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Freeman won second place in OWAA’s Outdoor Adventure category for an Oregon Outdoors piece called “Guerilla Grazer” about Talent man Aaron Fletcher who lives off food he scavenges along the Rogue Valley floor as well as from his small flock of sheep.

Freeman also won third place in the video classification for that same category for a video package called “Fall Foliage” that highlighted Fletcher as well as hunting for fall mushrooms and how to cook them easily at home.

The OWAA is the oldest and largest professional organization of outdoor communicators in the world.

Mark Freeman covers the outdoors for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4470 or at mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com.