June 23, 2008

White Bird, Idaho: ‘Roughing It’ in a Beautiful Setting — Focus

By Bunderson, Gaye

Since 1969, happy campers have been the norm at a White Bird, Idaho, campground now known as Hells Canyon Jet Boat Trips & Lodging. The campground is run by Heather and Les Killgore, who own Killgore Adventures, LLC along with their son Kurt.

Heather Killgore, in a phone interview, said the campground area was originally built for travelers in campers and trailers but now has been fixed up to accommodate RVs. "I've changed the electrical boxes three times," she said. "There are now plug-ins to accommodate 20, 30 or 50 amps, depending on the size of the RV."

Another major change has been the shift from 18 campsites to 14 to make each site roomier - big enough to accommodate a 70-foot RV. "We made them bigger to ease any crowding. The campers come to get away from all that crowding stuff," Killgore said.

Travelers also come to escape everyday noises and stresses and, according to Killgore, one of the biggest selling points about the area is it's "off the beaten path."

"It's a mile off Highway 95. It's a quiet, beautiful setting." The campground is also just 10 minutes from the Nez Perce National Forest.

As the name Hells Canyon Jet Boat Trips & Lodging indicates, boating excursions are available and there are ample opportunities for fishing steelhead, sturgeon, salmon, trout, and bass.

On May 27, salmon fishing got under way. At the time, Killgore said, the Salmon River was high at 45,000 cfs (cubic feet per second). "The average is 5,000 cfs, but it had been up to 90,000 cfs," she said.

The Killgores are licensed outfitters and guides and can arrange activities such as mountain biking, horseback trail riding, and wildlife viewing of big horn sheep, elk, deer, bear, bald eagles, and otters.

Also, the campsite sits near a national historical park that was the scene of the 1877 Nez Perce War. "The significance of that war is it's one the Indians won," Killgore said. "They didn't lose a single Indian, and the cavalry had to retreat."

Cost per stay at the Killgores' campground is $25 per night for an RV space of up to one to two people and an additional $3 per night per person after that. "We're not full every night," Killgore said. "People are coming here for a reason, to fish or jet boat - we're more of a destination place than an overnight place."

Campers come from all over the U.S., but are predominately from the Northwest: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, and Utah. The campground is open year-round. The busiest season is May through October, with the slowest months being December and January.

Get the facts

Kilgore Adventures LLC dba Hells Canyon Jet Boat Trips & Lodging is located in White Bird, Idaho. For information on all the outdoor activities available there, costs, and how to get there, contact:

Phone: 1-800-469-8757

E-mail: [email protected]

Web site: www.killgoreadventures.com

Credit: Gaye Bunderson

(Copyright 2008 Dolan Media Newswires)

(c) 2008 Idaho Business Review, The. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.