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north idaho

recreation •  employment •  education •  cost of living •  climate • 
hospitals •  crime rate •  air, water, topography •  culture •  counties • 
north idaho resources •  other resources

North Idaho has much to offer, from the finest in health care, outdoor recreation and quality of life, to excellent job and school opportunities.

Recreation 

From lush green forests and snowy mountain tops to crystal clear lakes and rivers, there's nothing more exciting than enjoying the great Idaho outdoors. And there's a lot of it to enjoy!

North Idaho is approximately 20 percent farmland and 80 percent forested. Idaho Panhandle National Forests comprise approximately 2.5 million acres of public land in North Idaho and are within nine counties in three states: Boundary, Bonner, Benewah, Kootenai, Shoshone, Latah and Clearwater Counties in Idaho; Lincoln County in Montana; and Pend Oreille County in Washington.

Idaho Panhandle National Forests are a camper's paradise with over 60 public campgrounds and picnic areas.

Other water activities include classic wooden boat shows, sailboat rigattas, paddlewheel boat cruises and dozens of public beaches and swimming holes to enjoy the area's pristine waters and summer days. More than half of all the surface waters in Idaho are in the panhandle, from foam-flecked river rapids to quiet lakes perfect for canoes. Within the miles of rivers and vast lakes are world-class sport fisheries, many the location of sport fishing records.

Winter provides snowy wilds and hundreds of miles of groomed trails that beckon cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. 18 state wide ski resorts offer downhill skiers, from beginners and families to serious powder hounds, mountain amenities that rival the best in the nation.

The Selkirk, Cabinet, Coeur d'Alene and Bitteroot mountain ranges — These feature glacial cirques and gem-like lakes high above timberline and craggy ridgetops. The country, remote and rough to travel, is a special place for those seeking solitude.

Hells Canyon — Hugging the borders of northeastern Oregon and western Idaho, this national showcase holds 652,488 acres of beauty and adventure, where you can let your senses run as wild as the landscape. It is the deepest river gorge in North America with scenic vistas that rival any on the continent. World-class whitewater boating, spectacular mountain peaks, vast reaches of remote wilderness for hiking or horseback riding, Diverse and abundant wildlife and artifacts from prehistoric tribes and rustic remains of early miners and settlers.

Salmon-Challis Forest — This remote forest in central Idaho is a land of rugged mountains split by untamed rivers. At the heart of the legendary Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the forest teems with wildlife; chances are you may spot elk, bear, sheep, goats, moose, deer, antelope or even a wolf during your visit. Historic cabins, ranger stations, lookouts, mining ghost towns, and the Lewis and Clark and the Nez Perce National Historic Trails link today's visitor with the past. Escape to the backcountry in the Lemhi, Bitterroot, Pioneer or Lost River Mountain Ranges. Raft the Main or Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Relax at one of the 87 campgrounds or fight a trout or steelhead in one of the many lakes and streams.

Sawtooth Mountains — The magnificent Sawtooth Mountains are the crown jewels of Idaho's mountain ranges with over 300 alpine lakes which lie nestled between the jagged peaks. The 754,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area is a part of the Sawtooth National Forest. Trail rides and pack trips, scenic drives, hiking and boating are all available near Stanley.

Ski. With over 20,000 skiable acres, and 18 resorts, Idaho offers skiing the way it ought to be.

employment 

Employers across the state maintained payrolls at above average levels during the years last quarter. Hiring activity – the highest since 2007 – was 6 percent ahead of a year earlier at nearly 15,000.

November's six-tenths of a percentage point decline in the unemployment rate was twice the national rate decrease, which dropped from 7.3 percent to 7 percent.

About 3,800 more Idahoans were at work in November with total unemployment dropping to 47,300, the lowest level since last spring.

Non-farm/agriculture jobs totaled nearly 648,000 in November, up 2.1 percent over last year and four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national growth rate. Slightly stronger retail hiring in November offset hiring activity at hotels and restaurants, which have been steadily bringing on seasonal workers to handle any rebound in businesses.

Idaho started out 2013 with 39,900 farm/agriculture workers and ended 2013 with 48,750 which is substantial growth for the industry.

Idaho's economy has been producing jobs faster than the nation and most states over the past two years. Between October 2011 and October 2013, the number of nonfarm/agriculture jobs in Idaho increased 4.2 percent, seven-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only nine other states posted higher increases.

Employers across the state maintained payrolls at above average levels during the years last quarter. Hiring activity – the highest since 2007 – was 6 percent ahead of a year earlier at nearly 15,000.

November's six-tenths of a percentage point decline in the unemployment rate was twice the national rate decrease, which dropped from 7.3 percent to 7 percent.

About 3,800 more Idahoans were at work in November with total unemployment dropping to 47,300, the lowest level since last spring.

Non-farm/agriculture jobs totaled nearly 648,000 in November, up 2.1 percent over last year and four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national growth rate. Slightly stronger retail hiring in November offset hiring activity at hotels and restaurants, which have been steadily bringing on seasonal workers to handle any rebound in businesses.

education 

The Public Charter School Commission's mission is to ensure PCSC-authorized public charter schools' compliance with Idaho statute, protecting student and public interests by balancing high standards of accountability with respect for the autonomy of public charter schools and implementing best authorizing practices to ensure the excellence of public charter school options available to Idaho families with 30 authorized charter schools state wide.

Idaho is committed to improving education and curriculum at home. The purpose of Improvement Planning is to improve the quality of the student experience with teaching and learning in Idaho schools and districts. The Improvement Plan provides the framework for analyzing problems, identifying underlying causes, and addressing instructional issues in a school or district that has not made sufficient progress in student achievement.

The Improvement Plan should embody a plan that is comprehensive, highly structured specific and focused primarily on the school's instructional program. The plan should incorporate strategies based on scientifically based research that will strengthen the core academic subjects in the school and address the specific academic issues that caused the school to be identified for school improvement.

Average Class Size — The average class size In Idaho is 18.2 students per 1 teacher.

% of Title I Schools — 70.4% of schools in Idaho are Title I Schools.

Graduation Rate — 84.0% of all students entering high school in Idaho graduate.

Just over 10,000 students were enrolled in 14 professional-technical schools offering 99 programs.

94% of high school professional-technical education program completers successfully found jobs or continued their education.

cost of living 

Compared to the US average, the cost of living in Idaho is approximately 20% lower, making it one of the most affordable western states in which to live. In part, this is due to the local production of food products, which decreases transportation costs and consequently the shelf price of groceries.

In addition, Idaho has one of the lowest population densities in the country and land isn't as costly as in some other states. Combined with the fact that the state doesn't collect property taxes, even if local governments do, it's easy to see why the homeownership rate is almost 73%.

With an average household income of $40,500 and an average commute time of just 20 minutes, it's clear that fuel prices aren't as big of a budgeting issue for residents as they are in a state like California. After moving to Idaho, you'll enjoy utilities prices lower than the national average as well.

Based on average housing costs, utilities, health care, transportation, groceries and other services, Idaho's cost of living is the second lowest of the 11 western states. Idaho's housing costs are moderate and affordable. Values will vary from one city and or community to another. Median home values in major cities are:

  • Boise $234,904
  • Coeur d'Alene $222,923
  • Idaho Falls $177,447
  • Lewiston $163,080
  • Pocatello $156,082
  • Twin Falls $155,741
Residential Energy Costs –

Idaho is rich in renewable energy resources; geothermal energy sufficient to generate electricity commercially is present in most of the State.

In 2011, 92 percent of Idaho's net electricity generation came from renewable energy resources, and Idaho had the lowest average electricity prices in the United States.

In 2010, 52 percent of the electricity consumed in Idaho was imported from other States.

Hydroelectric power supplied 80 percent of electricity generated in Idaho in 2011.

Idaho's wind generation nearly tripled in 2011, providing 8.2 percent of net electricity generation.

Idaho has some of the most affordable electricity in the nation, in part large because 80 percent of its electricity is provided by hydroelectricity, one of the most affordable sources of electricity. A greater percentage of electricity is generated from hydroelectricity in Idaho than in any other state. Natural gas provides 13 percent of the state's electricity, with wood biomass contributing four percent of the state's supply.

climate 

Temperature — The highest annual averages are found in the lower elevations of the Clearwater and Little Salmon River Basins, and in the stretch of the Snake River Valley from the vicinity of Bliss downstream to Lewiston, including the open valleys of the Boise, Payette, and Weiser Rivers. At Swan Falls the annual mean is 55° F, highest in the State. Obsidian, at an elevation of 6,780 feet in Custer County, has the lowest annual average, 35.4° F, of any reporting station, with such places as Sun Valley, Chilly Barton Flat, Grouse, Island Park Dam, and Big Creek not far behind.

Humidity — Humidity, as a climatic factor, seems to hold a great deal of interest for many people, yet it is one of the more elusive weather elements to deal with statistically. Human comfort during the summer months is greatly affected by the moisture content of the air. In Idaho, where maximum temperatures above 90° are not uncommon in July and August, humidity at the time of maximum temperature is usually below 25 percent, and often down to 15 percent or lower.

Sunshine — The annual average percentage of possible sunshine ranges from about 50 in the north to about 70 in the south. Winter, with its frequent periods of cloudy weather, has about 40 percent of possible sunshine in the large open valleys of the south and less than 30 percent in the north. In July and August the average percentage rises to the upper 80's in the southwest and to near 80 in the east and north.

The Pacific Ocean does not affect our temperature too greatly in Idaho. What it does affect is the amount of precipitation we receive. North Idaho receives large amounts of rain and snow from storms blown in from the coast. There are no high mountain ranges to keep the clouds from that area, so precipitation may be more than four times as much as that received in the southern part of the state. Southern Idaho is protected on all sides by mountains. For that reason, much of the area receives very little rain or snow and is usually called a desert.Although t he climate varies greatly in different areas of the state, in general the climate of Idaho is temperate. Temperate means an area has four seasons with great changes in the average temperatures between summer and winter.

All areas of Idaho undergo the transition through the four seasons, but the seasons manifest differently according to geographic location. Idaho has three main geographic provinces: mountains, valleys, and plains.

July is the hottest month of the year in Idaho. Temperatures are highest on the plains that occupy regional lowlands: the Snake River Plain, and on the lower reaches of the Clearwater, and Snake rivers, especially from Bliss to Lewiston. Temperatures greater than 100 degrees occur each year at many locations in southwestern Idaho.

Severe Weather Conditions — Although southern wind direction brings storms to South Idaho during the summer season, Idaho is generally considered as a state having minimal violent weather conditions. However, small windstorms are frequent, hurricanes and tornadoes are not common. Moreover, some parts of the state are highly at risk for floods after the winter season.

Since climate change is happening worldwide, Idaho's weather cannot be predicted at times. However, those mentioned above are the general weather conditions you will expect when you are travelling or when you wish to move to Idaho.

hospitals 

50 licensed hospitals state wide. With 44 county boundaries, 36 of those 50 hospitals are a Idaho Hospital Association members.

crime rate 

Based on this report, the crime rate in Idaho for 2014 is expected to be lower than in 2010 when the state violent crime rate was lower than the national violent crime rate average by 37.45% and the state property crime rate was lower than the national property crime rate average by 0.28%.

The crime rate is 5,086 per 100,000 residents. Idaho has the second-lowest rate in the West. Only Utah had a lower crime rate, based on the most-recently available numbers.

air, water & topography 

Air — everything is the same as what you had, although idaho did implement a Dept of Environment Quality that monitors air pollutants and changes daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.

Surface Water — Surface waters consist of rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs, and wetlands in Idaho. These waters not only provide great natural beauty, they supply the water necessary for drinking, recreation, industry, agriculture, and aquatic life as well. DEQ water quality protection efforts are designed to ensure surface waters meet their designated beneficial uses and Idaho water quality standards.

With over 92,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 100 lakes and reservoirs, water is one of Idaho's most important resources. Our rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands not only provide great natural beauty, they supply the water necessary for drinking, recreation, industry, agriculture, and aquatic life.

Water Quality — DEQ's Water Quality Division is responsible for assuring that the state's surface, ground, and drinking water resources meet state water quality standards. Among the Division's major duties are to:

  • Work with public health districts to protect the quality of public drinking water by assisting public drinking water systems to comply with state requirements, conducting sampling surveys and on-site visits, reviewing water system plans and specifications, and providing training and outreach to water systems. DEQ also assesses potential contaminant threats to Idaho's drinking water sources.
  • Monitor and assess the levels of pollutants in surface waters such as rivers and streams and report on surface water quality.
  • Adopt water quality standards to protect public health and welfare, enhance the quality of water, and meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.

Topographic Features — Idaho lies entirely west of the Continental Divide. The northern part of the State averages lower in elevation than the much larger central and southern portions, where numeous mountain ranges form barriers to the free flow of air from all points of the compass. In the north the main barrier is the rugged chain of Bitterroot Mountains forming much of the boundary between Idaho and Montana. The extreme range of elevation in the State is from 738 feet of the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers to 12,655 feet at Mt. Borah in Custer County. Comprising rugged mountain ranges, canyons, high grassy valleys, arid plains, and fertile lowlands, the State reflects in its topography and vegetation a wide range of climates. Located some 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Idaho is, nevertheless, influenced by maritime air borne eastward on the prevailing westerly winds. Particularly in winter, the maritime influence is noticeable in the greater averagae cloudiness, greater frequency of precipitation, and mean temperatures, which are above those at the same latitude and altitude in midcontinent. This maritime influence is most marked in the northern part of the State, where the air arrives via the Columbia River Gorge with a greater burden of moisture than at lower latitudes. Eastern Idaho's climate has a more continental character than the west and north, a fact quite evident not only in the somewhat greater range between winter and summer temperatures, but also in the reversal of the wet winter-dry summer pattern.

culture  

Idaho's cultural activities are as diverse as the state's geography. World-famous resorts host first-class musical performers, theatre, winter carnivals, and art shows. Idaho is home to a symphony orchestra, opera and ballet companies, chamber music groups, and a summer Shakespeare festival. But culture comes in many forms throughout the state: jazz and bluegrass music, big-name stars, nationally recognized music festivals, community theatre, rodeos, county fairs, and professional sports.

north idaho counties 

north idaho resources 

other resources 

 

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