Where You Can Find the Great Outdoors
I was 10 years old when my Father moved us to Sandpoint. Until then I had been raised in Spokane, not really a bad place, but certainly not carrying the wonder and magic of the great outdoors so visible and present all around North Idaho.
Why North Idaho is a Place of Abundance in Rural Lifestyles
If you compare the three northern counties of Kootenai, Bonner and Boundary to other states there is something strikingly obvious: there are lots of places to play, boat, fish, swim, camp, hunt, ride horses–you name it. Urban sprawl has not yet dampened the feeling you get of having your own private place to do your thing.
I’ve been on Lake Pend Oreille in June, fishing for Mackinaw on breathless flat water at the break of dawn on a blue sky day and not seen another boat within 20 square miles. I’ve got the photographs to prove it. And we caught fish! That particular morning brought my largest to date, 29 pounds of predator char (lake trout to most people, Mackinaw to some).
That’s just a sample of what I see around North Idaho when I tell you it is endowed with qualities for rural living that few other places still hold. I’ve lived in Montana where the open expanse is fenced and owned. I’ve lived in Washington state where the traffic to and from was enough to choke the life out of your spirit.
Every state in America has its fine qualities, but Idaho has its uniqueness. Over 60% of the Panhandle is in State or Federal forest–that’s public ground. You can hunt it, fish it, hike it or just look at it. That’s nice.
North Idaho: A Place to Raise a Family
I haven’t lived here all my life. I don’t regret that really as it makes me more appreciative of what we have here. This is a place where kids can still ride their bikes on country roads and wade creeks full of little trout. It’s a place where there are enough publicly accessed fishing lakes that you’ll have a hard time reaching all of them in one season. It’s a place where kids can learn to work by helping you cut wood or learn to hunt and fend for themselves because there’s plenty of ground to learn on.
I find that there is more of a sense of family here than in some of the cities in which I’ve lived. I’ve thought about that and I think it has to do with bonding. In an open, rural and scenic sector, there is much more devotion to family and family ethics than you normally find in heavily populated areas. Urban life, in contrast, forces a kind on-guard self-protective relationship that you don’t find too much of in North Idaho.
Now there are people of all sorts who live here, just as there are in cities and more concentrated areas of human population; but the difference is noticeable because here you can still walk down the streets of Sandpoint or go into the Post Office or a store and be greeted with a smile and “howdy” from a total stranger.
That’s Sandpoint. That’s North Idaho.