Outdoors blog

Colville Forest hosts NatureWatch hikes, tours

Columbia Mountain Lookout is looking much more handsome since it was restored.
Columbia Mountain Lookout is looking much more handsome since it was restored.

FORESTS – Hikes and other free activities are being organized by the Colville National Forest this summer to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday and the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Here's the lineup of NatureWatch events:

July 12: Hike the 3-mile round-trip route to Round Top Mountain in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness with Forest Service wildlife biologist Mike Borysewicz. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station. The group will drive about 12 miles to the trailhead at Pass Creek Pass.

This trail, rated moderately difficult, passes through a regenerating old burn, subalpine forests and a picturesque alpine meadow, and Borysewicz has a keen eye for birds and wildlife.   Bring sturdy shoes, a hat, water, and a lunch.

Group size is limited to 12 in the wilderness. Pre-register with the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station, (509) 446-7500.

July 19: Hike the 7-mile round-trip route to Columbia Mountain Fire Lookout Cabin on the Kettle Crest with forest archeologist Alicia Beat. Meet at the Kettle Crest parking area along Hwy 20 at 9 a.m. for this moderately difficult trail with 1,400 feet of elevation gain.

Bring  lunch and plenty of water to enjoy the view from the peak, as well as wildflowers, wildlife, history, and restoration of the lookout.

 Aug. 9: Auto-tour to Salmo Mountain Fire Lookout with forest safety manager Sandy Mosconi. Meet at the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station at 9 a.m. The station is a 20-minute drive east of Ione.

The group will drive about 20 miles along Sullivan Creek, stopping along the way to discover the culture and natural history of the area. Parts of this road are high clearance, narrow and have switchbacks. Bring water and your lunch. Salmo Mountain Fire Lookout will provide views of the Salmo-Priest Wilderness and surrounding areas.

Aug 9: Hike Crowell Ridge into the Salmo-Priest wilderness with  Newport-Sullivan Lake District Ranger Gayne Sears. Meet at the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station at 9 a.m. for a rough 60-minute drive to the Sullivan Mountain Lookout.

This is a high-clearance vehicle road for about 4 miles. The group will hike 2 miles along the scenic ridgeline, returning the same way. Sears will talk about the idea of an enduring resource of wilderness and what wilderness means. Discover the culture and natural history of the area.

Bring plenty of water, lunch, and be prepared for a mildly strenuous hike with glorious views of the Salmo-Priest Wilderness.

Group size is limited to 12 in wilderness. Pre-register with the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station, (509) 446-7500.

 

 

 




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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