We’re fortunate that Idaho – beautiful gem that it is – hasn’t made too many headlines, allowing us to keep and preserve our lifestyle and landscape. But, as with any state, Idaho has had its fair share of moments in the spotlight, with a few hilarious headlines thrown in to lighten the mood.
1. The time a semi full of bees created mayhem on the freeway.
Just last year, a semi hauling agricultural bees overturned on I-90 near Coeur d'Alene, swarming the air with millions of the flying pollinators. Traffic was at a standstill and backed up for miles, and drivers were cautioned via radio and interstate signs to keep windows rolled up as authorities were brought in. Over 400 hives were on board the truck, which fishtailed before tipping over. The bees were being transported from Washington to Montana for private farm pollination.
2. The day smalll-town Idaho declared itself the "Center of the Universe".
In 2004, rural Northern Idaho made headlines by declaring itself the Center of the Universe.
Mayor Ron Garitone declared the title somewhat tongue-in-cheek as a message to the EPA, but the distinction has stuck and is commemorated by an emblazoned manhole cover in the center of town. Today, the cover is one of Wallace's biggest tourist photo ops.
3. That time snakes took over a home in Rexburg.
The spacious home in the Rexburg countryside was thought to be a steal back
In 2009, until new homeowners Ben and Amber Sessions discovered their dream home to be a living, wriggling nest. Infested with thousands of rank-smelling but harmless garter snakes, the slithering reptiles were even inside the walls, where the couple could hear them moving at night. Only two short years later, they abandoned the home. The Snake House came on the market again while experts attempted to manage the infestation -- widely known across the country in part due to Animal Planet's coverage. Today? Well, the site has quite a reputation.
4. That time an Idaho man stopped to "relieve himself" and started a wildfire instead.
When nature calls... things don't always go as planned. In what would turn out to be the most hilarious set of headlines in Idaho's history, one unsuspecting cyclist who stopped to heed the call of nature wound up starting a fire in the Boise foothills instead. The situation (which, according to the BLM, has happened once before) arose when the cyclist attempted to burn his toilet paper, rather than bury it or pack it out. But in the middle of Idaho's dry season, the sparks quickly grew into a 70-acre brush fire. Oops.
5. Decades of Jackrabbit drives definitely don't make the list of our state's proudest moments.
Idaho's "rabbit drives" are a horrifying part of our state's history that most would rather forget. Unfortunately, the practice continued well into the 1980s across various cities, like Mud Lake. Wild jackrabbits aren't ordinarily considered to be pests, but found in large numbers, can quickly eat through crops and cause extreme damage to small farms. In 1981, local farmers took the proliferating animals into their own hands. In sickening displays of brutality, hundreds of thousands of rabbits were clubbed from careening motorcycles and ATVs, corralled, and killed. The practice dates back to the pre-1920s.
6. The day Idaho's largest range fire in over a decade consumed close to 300,000 acres.
Idaho's 2015 Soda Fire was started by lightning in Owyhee County mid-August. Livestock, grazing lands, and sage grouse habitat were destroyed, and the devastation caused Hwy 95 to be closed down in some areas. The blaze took weeks to contain, with smoke contaminating air quality into the red, and forcing many residents indoors. 2016's Pioneer Fire--while it dominated local media--didn't quite top the previous season.
7. That time Idaho beavers flooded Idaho's skies.
In 1948, a glimpse at Idaho's horizon might have revealed dozens of small wooden boxes, held aloft by parachutes, drifting slowly downward. Each airhole-laden box contained a pair of beavers, and the process was meant to redistribute the beaver population into needed areas to foster natural habitat maintenance. Tidbit: the first beaver parachuted into the Frank Church Wilderness was named Geronimo. You can check out the video
Oh, Idaho. Your mistakes and your beauty always have a story to tell. What else would you add to this list?