Posts tagged: San Juan Islands
OUTDOOR TRAVEL — Two premier outdoor recreation areas within a day’s access from Spokane are listed among the Lonely Planet's Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013.
The San Juan Islands are No. 3 on the list and dubbed “The Gourmet Archipelago.” The writer notes the three main islands – San Juan, Orcas and Lopez – support two vineyards, a lavender farm, an alpaca ranch and weekend farmers’ markets that ply everything from artichokes to marionberries.”
From the outdoor recreation angle, the islands are standouts for bicycling, sailing and sea kayaking. “Hop on a bike, explore the beaches and enjoy the scenery, but be sure to eat!” the author says, noting several fine restaurants.
Glacier National Park is ranked No. 10 — perhaps a little low from a outdoor enthusiast's point of view, but that’s just as well, considering the Lonely Planet’s top 10 list is viewed by 12 million people a year.
“A relatively new shuttle system offers an eco-friendly alternative. But go soon,” the author warns. “The park’s 25 glaciers are melting – and could be gone altogether by 2030 if current climate changes continue!”
Here's full list of Lonely Planet's Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013:
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A five-year project has succeeded in returning the Western bluebird to Washington’s San Juan Islands. The bird had historically inhabited the islands, but changing land use practices and a paucity of nesting sites meant the species had not nested there for over 40 years.
Biologists with the Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project captured and translocated 45 breeding pairs of Western Bluebirds from an expanding population at Fort Lewis Military installation, Washington, and another four pairs from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The birds were kept in aviaries on San Juan Island prior to release to acclimate them to their new surroundings.
Read on for details about the project and the several cooperating groups from the American Bird Conservancy.
MARINE MAMMALS — A newborn calf has been spotted among one of the pods of killer whales returning to the Puget Sound.
The Kitsap Sun reports the baby orca was seen Wednesday, when a majority of the three pods of killer whales returned to the San Juan Islands, as they do each year.
Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research says all the adult orcas in the three pods seem to be accounted for, including one whale that had not been seen since February.
Balcomb says the newborn calf is male and still had his umbilical cord attached on Wednesday. That means he is only days old. His birth brings the total Puget Sound or Southern Resident orca population to 88. The whales are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.