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Outdoor Idaho

Outdoor Idaho

35th Anniversary Special

You can cover a lot of territory in 35 years and still just barely scratch the surface. We know because we've been doing thatexploring the beauty, the drama, the science of nature for 35 years. This special revisits some of the scenic wonders we've uncovered along the way. We also take viewers behind the scenes and remember the folks who have shared their stories with us over the years.

We've changed a lot in three and a half decades. Of course, who hasn't? Hey, welcome to our 35th Anniversary Special.


February 20, 2018

You can cover a lot of territory in 35 years and still just barely scratch the surface. I'm reminded of something the writer Ernest Hemingway once said: "A helluva lot of state, this Idaho, that I didn't know about."

And with more than 60% of it public land, there's a good chance none of us will ever visit all of the state's impressive landscapes. It's just that vast.t

If Outdoor Idaho ever does fold up its tent, it certainly won't be because we've run out of story ideas or places to visit. Just the public policy challenges alone - wolves, wilderness, weeds, water, timber wars, wild fires - could keep us busy for a couple years.

In our hour-long "35th Anniversary Special," we focus on some of those issues.

We also take you behind the scenes, as every Anniversary show must do. My colleague Sauni Symonds has been working on that segment. In many ways, it will be the heart of our program, giving my colleagues behind the camera a chance to shine.

They also get to recap some of their favorite interviews out of the 300 or so shows we've chronicled over the years.

Last month we asked our viewers on social media to comment on what the show has meant to them, and they responded. Talk about a fascinating and humbling experience! We made that a part of our show also.

I'm often asked why Outdoor Idaho has survived and thrived for so long. I think there are several factors, including strong support from our general managers over the years and a willingness from our development folks to search out grants and underwriting.

Couple that with a close-knit group of people who still enjoy working together; a commitment to only tackle shows that someone on staff really cares about; and an attempt to populate each program with real Idahoans, who can help shine a light on their part of the state. "We tell Idaho's stories" is actually in our Mission Statement; we take it seriously, but we get a lot of help from the ones we interview.

And then there's the state itself. Geologically, Idaho is so impressive! The influence that her mountains and valleys and rivers exert on our staff hopefully shines through every episode. I know our team works hard to capture that natural beauty; and I think viewers appreciate the extra effort, especially when we climb to the top of a 12,000 foot peak, or descend hundreds of feet into a limestone cave, or hike 20 miles into the wilderness, just to get the shot.

The show has always been willing to re-invent itself. Everyone who has worked on Outdoor Idaho has brought something new to the mix, and it has allowed the show to grow and change for 35 years. But it has always remained essentially a labor of love.

There aren't too many things that can unite a complicated state like Idaho. (The joke is that we have three capitals: Boise, Spokane, and Salt Lake City.)

Maybe that's what Outdoor Idaho has been doing best of all these past 35 years… helping to connect our geographically challenged state. At least, that's what many viewers zeroed in on when we asked them what the show has meant to them.

I guess that's not a bad peg to hang your hat on. Thanks for watching.

35th Anniversary Special Tease

Short introduction to the 35th Anniversary Special.

Our Idaho in Video

A video essay about our state. We are Idahoans, and this is Idaho.

Behind the Scenes

What it takes to produce a show, and how it's changed over the years.

Our Favorite Interviews

Our contributing producers share their favorite interviews.

Issues We've Tackled

More than 60 percent of Idaho is publicly owned, and complex issues abound.

In Memoriam

They've passed on, but we were fortunate to call them friends.

The Song

"This Old Idaho" - Casey Jack Kristofferson

What Outdoor Idaho Means to Me


My family's been here for a long time - seven generations to be exact. We homesteaded out south of Hanson in the Magic Valley and we didn't even realize all the things that there were to do. So Outdoor Idaho has been able to really kind of dig in and show us all these different things.

We're very grateful for it and it's been wonderful, like I said, to be able to watch it and be part of these other parts of our wonderful state.

The local PBS station happened to air a one-hour special called "Idaho Edens," produced by Outdoor Idaho and Idaho Public Television; and it was spectacular because it showed us not just where we happened to spend a week, but how much more the state had to offer. So we immediately ordered a VHS tape, and that way we could watch it whenever we needed to. It became a form of inspiration and helped to remind us of what we were working so hard to get to. In a way it kind of became a nature bar or an energy bar for our souls.

Fast forward 25 years, and here we are. We moved here 10 years ago, and we've never looked back. And Outdoor Idaho was with us every step of the way. Now, it's something that continues to show us just how vast and expansive the beauty of this state is. And while we may not be able to ever experience everything Idaho has to offer, it's good to know it's there. For me, Outdoor Idaho is kind of like getting a peek into heaven, but it's still up to you to get there.

Outdoor Idaho is a great show for the entire family. My kids like the adventure side of it. They like the exploring shows. My wife likes the shows with all the places that she's never gone before. She always says that would be a great place to take the dog. Outdoor Idaho has been around for 35 years, and it's an important part of the Idaho story.

Working with Outdoor Idaho has been an experience. For me it's been addictive and it's been so informative and educational and positive.

They're all motivated people; they're so dedicated, and they're so genuine about their role of producing a quality program. It's not something that they look at as, like, 'I gotta do this to get my paycheck.' It's 'I wanna do this!' And at the same time soak in some of the beauty that we're seeing, and photographing, and talking about on a continual basis. And they have that night and day. They got that Commitment that is so rare today when working with a group of people.

We are Idaho natives. I grew up outside of Dubois, and my husband grew up in Pocatello. We met in Idaho, fell in love in Idaho, and started our adult lives together in Idaho. We left our home in 2007, though, to explore the world and to get more education. We certainly did some exploration, and we also got a lot more educated, which was fantastic. But, our goal has always been to come back to Idaho to serve the state that shaped us. We're still trying to find jobs that work for our careers but we're homesick. We long for the Tetons, for the Sawtooths, and for the smell of sagebrush on the desert. We miss Idaho and we miss being Idahoans.

Outdoor Idaho helps to fill that lonely, homesick place in our hearts. Few things settle our souls more than Bruce Reichert's familiar voice narrating scenes of our homeland. Outdoor Idaho has meant a connection to home for us for the past 11 years. It reminds us of why we fight to preserve the majesty of the Gem State even as displaced Idahoans, and why we should continue to work towards coming home.

The greatest impact that Outdoor Idaho has had is the amount of viewers that you reach. You don't just reach outdoor enthusiasts; you reach a broad stream of viewers. That viewership is very much influenced by the way you present your excellent programming. It's not just a look at politics; it's a look at land ethics; it's a look at how managers manage our wild land. It's a look at how we as recreationists interact with that land. Probably Idaho's great resource is our environment; and the show does an excellent job, and I think perhaps has influenced a little bit, how we've looked at it in the past, the future, and the present.

Participating in several of the Outdoor Idaho programs… what I have been most amazed about is how authentic the show really is. There's not a lot of "staging" of the scene, or how somebody interacts with you; you're able to bring out the real character of people; and therefore, I think you're bringing out the real character of how we as Idahoans interact with this amazing place that we live.

I was born in Twin Falls, Idaho. Now 69 years later, I still live in Idaho. I have been to all 50 states, Canada, Africa, Europe and Asia, and I retired in Boise. I have been an avid outdoorsman and conservationist most of my life. I have hiked, biked, hunted, fished, kayaked, driven and otherwise explored a lot of Idaho in 69 years. Outdoor Idaho has entertained me and shown the wonders of Idaho for years; but most importantly it has inspired me to find ways to share the wonders of the Idaho outdoors with others. I have been a photographer for about 7 years. I volunteer with many Idaho nonprofits to help conserve and improve wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Outdoor Idaho's Face Book page gives me another way to share Idaho's amazing wildlife with others and hopefully get them excited about conserving Idaho's wildlife and habitat. My motto on my Facebook page -- "Shoot, Share and Conserve" - sums up what I love to do with photography in Idaho's great outdoors.

It connects us. If you're in Idaho Falls and you want to go to north Idaho, it's a long ways. But we all get really excited about seeing all the parts and pieces of Idaho, through a new episode. And so it really helps us in terms of connecting around outdoors experiences. So I really enjoy that.

What it also has meant is, my father lives in Orofino, Idaho. That's not an easy place to get to. I live here in Idaho Falls. And we'll often get on the phone or on email and, 'hey, did you see that episode of Outdoor Idaho? Dad, did you ever fish that stream?' It might bring back memories for him, and I will want to go experience it myself, and create my own memories, from something that we saw from Outdoor Idaho.

I had to jump on this chance to write about "What Outdoor Idaho Has Meant to Me." You see....it gave me a chance to "see" again! No, I never lost my eyesight, but my "insight" to life was gone due to many years of addiction. So, with recovery, came the outdoors of Idaho. My camera became my new set of eyes, and my body healed with every step I took up a mountain, every stroke I made in my kayak on an Idaho mountain lake, every cast I made for a trout in a glacial lake, and every glide or slip or slide I made on my beloved skis.

I came alive again in Outdoor Idaho and now never miss a chance to share my many photos on Outdoor Idaho's monthly contests and share my love of the state with my family and friends. Thanks for helping me celebrate your 35 years!

And I think sometimes North Idaho feels disconnected from the rest of the state; and so that connection is really valuable. The challenge of that is you've showed us so many interesting places that I'm not sure my bucket is big enough to get all those bucket-list items accomplished, visited, toured, and enjoyed.

I've heard Idaho referred to as the "Gem State," and there's no better way to seeing what the gems are than Outdoor Idaho. It opened my eyes to places I hadn't been, and I've gone to places that I wouldn't otherwise have gone to, had I not been prompted by what I saw on Outdoor Idaho.

What I see for the future of Outdoor Idaho is that it can help us to deal with the increased number of people that are using the outdoors. And the ethics: how do we treat each other, how do we treat different user groups, and how do we get along and appreciate the gems that we have.

All these years I have not gone on vacation, and last year I went to Hawaii. The place is beautiful! But because of you guys, I kept seeing all these places in Idaho, and I said, 'Why leave?' So I stayed here for 35 years when all these opportunities are out there. So, thanks a lot, guys!

We just religiously watch Outdoor Idaho. If we don't watch it, we record it and watch it later and re-watch them. And the reason that I like Outdoor Idaho so much is that it just inspires. It just inspires you to get out and do things and to explore and see this wonderful state that we live in. You see all the adventures that you can go on. You could spend a lifetime just exploring and never even see it all. And so Outdoor Idaho does that as well. It allows you to see things that maybe you wouldn't get a chance to experience otherwise.

I do belong to a local fly fishing club, and a lot of people who join have come here from other areas, so our club routinely uses the Outdoor Idaho DVDs to educate our members about all the different opportunities that there are in Idaho, because people will not always think about there being that diversity in Idaho related to the geography, so being able to show them something that is done as beautifully as the Outdoor Idaho segments are has been very helpful to educate our club members about all the different opportunities that there are in Idaho.

So when I think of Outdoor Idaho the first thing to me that comes to mind is the beautiful cinematography. It takes you to places that you probably will never see in your lifetime. And I think it's also inspiring.

When I think it's been around for 35 years, I hope it's around for another 35 years. I think it's important for future generations to learn and see the beauties that the state has to offer, and hopefully that will inspire them to want to continue protecting the wilderness that we have.

It has a great deal of spirituality and soul to it. The folks that work on that program are so conscientious about what they're looking at, and what they're showing us, and the stories that they tell. And it's just Idaho. It's who we are, and it's wonderful. We love it.

I just think we're very lucky to have this crew narrating and filming the show. They're so professional, and they do a lot with very little funding, actually. That show has been on a shoestring for a very long time, and they do a terrific job.

Outdoor Idaho with regard to rivers and streams has become, in my estimation, a more accessible avenue for the general public than even the archives.

And so you've become an alternate repository and in that way a very valuable aspect to saving Idaho's history.

You're bringing nature right into people's homes. So I want to salute you for that. And you're also affecting, you know, the next generation of young people getting out here. I mean, we're brothers in this regard.

Outdoor Idaho Sponsors Past and Present

  • Boise Co-Op
  • Boise State University School of Public Service
  • Cable ONE
  • James and Barbara Cimino Foundation
  • Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co of Idaho
  • Greg Carr Foundation
  • Heart of the West Ford
  • Hollingshead Eye Center
  • Idaho Conservation League
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
  • Idaho Department of Commerce Division of Tourism
  • Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association
  • Idaho State Parks and Recreation
  • Sara Ifft
  • Larry H. Miller Subaru
  • Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation
  • Lyle Pearson Land Rover Boise
  • Office Max Community Fund
  • Parkwood Business Properties
  • Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation
  • Southern Idaho Tourism
  • St. Lukes Regional Medical Center
  • SUEZ
  • US Bancorp
  • Wackerli Subaru
  • Martha and William Weiler
  • Zamzows