The Clearwater County Chamber of Commerce held the February General Membership meeting at Riverside Lanes Orofino. There were 20 attendees present when Director Holland took roll and all were welcomed with self-introductions.

The chamber provided a variety of appetizers prepared by the Riverside Lanes Diner for everyone to enjoy. Marlene Prall, owner of the bowling alley, was introduced and thanked for allowing the group to meet. The business has received many great updates since Marlene took ownership and is not finished yet. She is excited to be hosting the LCO City Tournament coming up February 17-18.
Gus Garbe, Natural Resources manager for Dworshak USACE was introduced as Guest Speaker. Gus presented fact sheets to all present and discussed current projects. The Corp. has partnered with UofI for a masters student to study/measure 7k acres of mitigation area for large game/Elk habitat. This project will wrap up in September 2024. A Timber Sale is open now until March 13, 2024 for bidding on 313 acres with a 3 year execution plan. This will help reduce fuels, improve habitat, thin, and renew forest health to ground that hasn’t happened in over 100 years, due to the lack of natural burns that usually occur in nature over time. Talk to Gus for any questions or to get a bid package. The Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill has opened up funding toward projects, including repaving of Dent Acres this summer. The campground will be closed from Aug through September for the project. Approximately $20 million is projected toward Hatchery projects for upgrades, heat exchangers, and electric generator systems over 4-5 years. Fish repopulation goals at the Hatchery are for approximately 2.1 million Steelhead, 2 million Chinook and 550k Coho to be released locally. The Corp. is also working with P.L.A.Y. on another trail adoption. ATV trails are mapped and available at the Dam visitor center or online.
Director Holland gave the Director report on events, membership renewal, news and new members joining, including P.L.A.Y., Future Leaders Learning Center-Orofino, Backcountry Tax Service and Bear Country Getaways. Even with little snow the Elk River Winterfest and Pierce Winter Festival happened with fun for all attending. Elk River Ice Fishing Derby was successful again, hosting approximately 240 participants. The chamber will be offering members more options for sponsorships and advertising in the next printing of the Adventure Guide. Please give her a call with any questions or to sign up. SAVE the DATE for MAY 3rd to attend the annual fundraising banquet & auction. Monopoly Rags to Riches is this year’s theme. Tickets will be on sale soon. Minutes of the last meeting were motioned and approved.
CCED Director, Susan Jacobson, was present with a report. Avista has reopened their Energy Efficiency Grants with almost zero cost to businesses. Lighting can be swapped out to LED, as well as HVAC and equipment updates. T-Mobile is offering entrepreneurial grants. Food businesses can take advantage of Value Added and Middle Producer Grants, for a short period. The Orofino Adventure Park and Community Pool projects are in the works for grant funding and local partnerships. Watch for press releases coming soon. Attended FARE Idaho and Shot Show conferences, making great contacts and connections. For more information contact Susan.
Clinton Daniel was present for Congressman Fulcher and announced Intern jobs are open in all 3 offices, no political qualifications needed. Town Halls and Tele-Town Halls happening soon, call if interested in attending. Co-sponsoring the DAM Act and legislation to repeal family death or estate tax.
Upcoming events to mark on your calendar: Green Things Horticulture Classes each Saturday in February at the Orofino VFW, Bald Mt Valentine’s Fundraiser Feb. 10th at the Pierce Community Center, Orofino Senior Citizens Bake/Gift Sale Feb 10th, Big Game parties at the Elkhorn, Chubby’s, VFW, and Tom’s Tavern Feb. 11th, Jake Jacobson Acoustic Songwriter Session Feb 15th at Big Canyon Acres, Clearwater Historical Society Museum talks History of Teaken/Cavendish Communities by Doug Huffman Feb. 20th at the Clearwater Memorial Public Library, help the IDYCA take down Christmas lights at the Orofino Park Feb. 24th 8am-noon, TLC Foundation Bingo & Trivia March 2nd at the Orofino VFW, and March 23rd Big Canyon Acres hosting Bridal Fair. Mark your calendar for Memorial weekend at Big Canyon Acres for their first Idaho Fest of the West event.
Next meeting, open to the public, March 6th at 4pm at the Clearwater Saloon with Branch & Vines providing treats and guest speaker from CVH, Lenne Bonner.
Photo: Chamber board member Brandee Consentino, Riverside Lanes Owner Marlene Prall and Chamber Director Erica Holland welcome the community to the February General Membership meeting.