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Fall Creek Falls @ Daryl L. Hunter
Fly-fishing the South Fork of the Snake River below Fall Creek Falls in Swan Valley Idaho

Swan Valley, Irwin and Palisades are the communities that comprise the scenic valley that nestle along the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River below Palisades Dam, collectively known as Swan Valley, one of the premier tail water dry-fly fisheries in North America but trophy trout fishing isn’t the only game in town. With the Big Hole Range to the north, the Caribou Mountains to the south and the Palisades Range to the east provide splendid panoramas and year-round outdoor activities are a magnet for sportsmen and adventurers.

On the south side of Swan Valley is the twenty-mile long Palisades Reservoir which provides great fishing, water sports, ice fishing and stunning scenery as it is hemmed in by the peaks of the Snake River Range and The Caribou Mountain Range. Many marvel at the paucity of boats on such a beautiful lake. There is a popular hotspring up Bear Creek that is a popular 8-mile round trip hike.

The Caribou Mountains are laced with backcountry roads and so access is quite easy. The Fall Creek Drainage has become a magnet for mountain bikers and always was for off highway vehicle enthusiasts and has been their popular camping/riding destination because of its vast network of trails.

The Snake River Range has become, a possibly too popular, spot as a hiking and horseback trail riding as the scenery there is stunning. However, if you go deep enough into the Palisades Wilderness Study Area you will find solitude.

Full Moon over the South Fork of the Snake River, Swan Valley, Idaho

The northwestern end of the Big Hole Mountains are laced with a network of dirt roads but the south end by Swan Valley as all access by trail only. The Big Holes are an awesome getaway for the hiker, horseback rider, and the ATV rider.

Many ranches of the valley have been subdivided, but there are still several ranches around to keep Swan Valley’s cowboy heritage alive. I do venture to say that a culture of fly-fisherman has largely supplanted the cowboy though.

The surrounding mountains are home to elk, deer, mountain goats, black and grizzly bears. Swan Valley is on the south side of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and so shares many wild assets as Yellowstone itself. The mountains and valleys have tremendous hunting, and the many mountain streams are all full of wild cutthroat trout.

This valley of about 700 residents is an outdoorsman’s paradise but not much else. It has a few restaurants, bars, fly shops, motels and fishing lodges but then that is about all an outdoorsman needs.

 

Cover Idaho Magazine - Fall Creek Falls, Swan Valley Idaho
Daryl L. Hunter the publisher of this web site wrote this article about Swan Valley For Idaho Magazine

 

Podunk Perfect
A Tourist Town Escapee Finds Nirvana in Eastern Idaho
By Daryl L. Hunter

Carved by the South Fork of the Snake River between the Caribou Range to the west and the Snake River Range and Big Hole Range to the east, it is crowned by twenty-mile-long Palisades Reservoir to the south. It seemed to me a suitable place to land. I had driven through the valley often from my home in Jackson Hole, because Idaho Falls was where the affordable shopping was. I liked the valley because podunk places have always attracted me. Even so, Swan Valley’s abundant charm hadn’t jumped out at me, because everywhere in the Greater Yellowstone region is like this, and as much as you try to fish and hike every location, it just isn’t possible.

After I finally took a closer took, I made an offer on my future home, cast a fly upon the waters of the South Fork of the Snake, and in no time at all had a writhing, two-pound rainbow tail danc­ing across an eddy as the fish tried for the fast water a short distance away. Ah, ha! I had heard the South Fork was a better fishery than the Upper Snake, but had never bothered to try it. Now I was hooked..................Rest Of Story

 

Swan Valley News
Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan
  Community planning in America began during colonial times when it became necessary to provide public services such as streets, public buildings, and plans for cities and towns as the nation grew. Over time, legal standards were adopted for fair and equitable development and use of the land in public and private sectors of our society. By the early 1800ês, planning standards had been developed for large cities including the new national capital of Washington, D.C. The capital plan set general standards for development which are still used today. During the early 1900ês, concepts of planning and zoning for areas beyond the cities were established through the adoption of a body of land use laws at the national, state, and local levels of government.
Clarification of Rainbow Trout Stocking in the South Fork
By Idaho Game and Fish
 

With the focus in recent months on encouraging rainbow trout harvest in the South Fork of the Snake River there has been some confusion about IDFGês rainbow trout stocking practices that warrant clarification. True, until the early 1980ês IDFG was guilty of stocking rainbow trout into the South Fork and some of the tributaries. Although it was clearly a mistake in retrospect, it was done to meet a demand for harvest and provide a diverse fishery. Unfortunately, thirty years ago biologists did not recognize the threat rainbow trout pose to native cutthroat trout.

Since the early 1980ês IDFG has not stocked rainbow trout in the South Fork, the tributaries, or in Palisades Reservoir. This would clearly be in conflict with our goal of managing the South Fork for native cutthroat trout. Some of the confusion is likely related to the stocking database on the IDFG website. The website lists that South Fork as having been stocked with rainbow trout as recently as 2000. These fish were all stocked in the Dry Bed, below the Great Feeder diversion. Because these fish did not have access to the South Fork and were sterile triploids incapable of interbreeding with cutthroat trout, they pose no threat to the South Fork cutthroat population. Regardless, this program has also been recently terminated because of poor return-to-creel.

IDFG is sincerely committed to cutthroat trout conservation in the South Fork. The efforts depend on anglers playing an active role in suppressing rainbow trout. It is therefore vital that anglers know their efforts are not being undermined by counterproductive stocking practices by IDFG.

Ski Magazine's Inn of the Month: Swan Valley's South Fork Lodge
  The award-winning lodge sits on the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River, which anglers consider one of the world's premier trout rivers. In keeping with Rockefeller's wish for a refuge of denim elegance.
The Resort Town Curse
By
Daryl L. Hunter
  I have lived in many resort towns and I have noticed a trend. I am attracted to them when they are still little, quaint and undiscovered but it usually isn't long before word spreads about the next great place.

Yellowstone News

New Ebook

The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.

In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.

As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. I provide maps of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. I also touch on trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations.  

The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas are profiled as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision.  The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.

In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.

If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five our blitz.  But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park................. More Info

Living a richer life without any money

By Daryl L. Hunter

Since purchasing my first camera, I have been living a visual feast that has cost me a real estate career in a lucrative Southern California market. My scenery seemed to always be just over the next hill somewhere; cityscapes just were not my kind of inspiration. I soon tired of local beach sunsets and disturbingly enough; the sun bathing beauties scattered about.

It wasn't long before I was traveling farther a field, weekend trips to Big Sur, Lake Arrowhead, Yosemite, and yes, a three-day driving marathon to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. I decided that my weekends just were not long enough. I would just have to take more time off work, and then I could make it to Tahoe, the coastal redwoods, and the Oregon coast......................... rest of story

Moulton Barn Restoration

The Youth Conservation Program is more than a summer job; it's an action-packed educational opportunity that accomplishes much needed work in one of America's most popular landscapes while helping participants develop a personal conservation ethic. Each summer in Grand Teton National Park, a group of 16 to 19-year-olds works, earns, and learns during this highly successful ten week program. This past week the crew has been working on the John Moulton Barn..................... rest of story

Moulton barn restoration, most photographed barn in the world


Yellowstone roadside grizzlies worth rangers' hassle???

Yellowstone visitors would pay an additional $41 to ensure seeing roadside grizzlies, a study shows, and the attraction creates 155 jobs and more than $10 million a year for the regional economy. The $41 visitors would pay is on top of the $25-per-vehicle entrance fee. If Yellowstone no longer allowed grizzly bears to use roadside habitat — and instead chased, moved or killed them — the regional economy would lose more than $10 million a year and 155 jobs according to the paper "The economics of roadside bear viewing."............................Rest of story

Autumn Photography in Grand Teton Park

By Daryl L. Hunter

October 1st, at dark-thirty shortly before the first hint of dawn, with a crisp nip of fall in the air, I usually find myself at Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park with my ten new best friends. At the Oxbow at this early hour, we are hoping for the first hint of light to reveal an expanse of cirrus clouds above Mt. Moran to stop the warm rays of morning light from spilling over the edge of the world to an un-captureable point beyond the Grand Tetons. Oh, the Oxbow is still a stunning spot, even devoid of clouds, as the first rays of dawn sneak over the eastern horizon, a rose colored blanket of light hovers over the mountains as it shares its wealth of alpenglow with the peaks below, but none the less, we photogaphers are all hoping for natures reflector and diffuser to magnify the magnificence...........rest of story

Yellowstone National Park: highlights

Locals like to say there's never a bad day in Yellowstone. But some activities are better than others. Near the top of my list is a slow drive along the north shore of Yellowstone Lake. The easy trail to Storm Point is worth a half hour's walk, or more if the wind is calm and the boulders are comfortable for sitting. A few miles east, a side road leads to Lake Butte Overlook which offers views across North America's largest alpine lake to the Teton range 100 miles south. This is a good place to be at sunset........................ rest of story

Yellowstone Volcano Warning?

Yellowstone National Park is fighting viral rumors that the park's bison are fleeing an impending supervolcano eruption. Officials told Reuters that they've been fielding dozens of calls and emails since a video of galloping bison went viral this week in the wake of an earthquake at Yellowstone. They said the video actually shows the animals running down a paved road that leads deeper into the park................. rest of story

Red and Yellow Aspens, Grand Tetons for the Bridger Teton National Forest
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