Posts tagged: state parks
WINTER SPORTS — My recent blog post on the transitions at Mount Spokane State Park indicated the biggest change this seasons is the elimination of the Discover Pass for WINTER vehicle access to the park through March 31.
The handy chart above, courtesy of the Spokane REI store, helps illustrate the change.
Read the story for details.
WINTER SPORTS — This is transition time for nordic skiers and snowshoers at Mount Spokane State Park.
This week: State Park staff was out recently to clear about 50 trees that had blown down on the 60-kilometer cross-country trails system after two feet of snow followed the storm and buried them well. Taking the snowcat out for that job helped pack some of the trails, and Park Manager Steve Christensen went out on his own with the snowmobile groomer to smooth out the trails, although it was too hard-packed to set tracks. The Selkirk Lodge will be opened on Thanksgiving Day, he said. “I've been trying to save a little money on heating it — it costs about $1,000 a month — since there's not that many people up here yet,” he said.
Starting Dec. 1: Official grooming will begin if snow conditions allow. The biggest change this year mostly affects snowshoers. Dec. 1 marks the day that Discover Passes will no longer be valid for parking during the winter season at Mount Spokane, where all vehicles will need a Sno Park Permit in their vehicles EXCEPT at the Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park official parking when the resort is operating. No parking will be allowed along the roads without a Sno-Park Permit this season.
Lots of other things are gearing up. A good way to stay informed is to Join or Renew a membership with Spokane Nordic and get the club's regular newsletters and email updates. A sampling of this week's updates:
Snowball potluck, Dec. 7
Celebrate the first Saturday of grooming at the Mt. Spokane Cross-Country Ski Park with the Snowball potluck on Dec. 7, assuming conditions cooperate. If it has to be moved later for lack of grooming conditions, we'll let you know through email and Facebook. This is open to ALL skiers. Get to know your fellow skiers and start the season with a full belly. Bring a dish to share for lunch at noon at the Selkirk Lodge. What to bring: Names starting with A-P bring a main Dish; Q-Z bring Dessert.
WinterFest early registration prizes
Even better than Black Friday… register for WinterFest by Dec. 1 and you'll be automatically entered to win an REI backpack. WinterFest is a new event the club is organizing to celebrate muscle-powered winter sports at Mount Spokane.
Kids' skis available
The online ski swap lists a collection of used small kids' gear available at Mountain Gear's retail store in Spokane. You can also find a set of barely-used ski waxes and some booties for your skijoring dog.
Nordic Kids and Youth Rangers
Register for Nordic Kids and the new Youth Rangers program before Dec. 15 to avoid late fees. And invite a friend to get their kid going in lessons!
Adult nordic skiing lessons
Adult lessons are scheduled for all experience levels, skate or classic on Saturdays and Sundays starting Dec. 7. Tweak those skills, and invite that friend or co-worker who's never skied to try out a beginner lesson.
Contact Spokane Nordic by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLIC LANDS — I've seen their embarrassing display of leadership in the home video (above) from the field as they toppled an ancient rock feature on Utah's Goblin Valley State Park.
I've also seen their lame attempts to justify their vandalism as ensuring the safety of visitors.
But the bottom line is that these two Boy Scout leaders are stupid thugs who have no business being role models for our youth.
If you see an issue that needs attention on public lands, contact the management authorities. It's illegal to destroy natural features.
Boy Scouts remove leaders who toppled rock formation in Utah park
The Boy Scout leaders who toppled a rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, and captured their actions on video that went viral online, have been removed from their leadership positions.
—Salt Lake Tribune;
TRAILS — Farmers and disabled visitors could be allowed to used motorized vehicles on portions of two major state rail-trails under a proposal being considered by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
A public meeting is set for Nov. 1 in Ellensburg to discuss the proposed regulation changes on Iron Horse State Park’s John Wayne Pioneer Trail (JWPT). The trail is the former Milwaukee railroad corridor that runs from North Bend east to the Idaho border near Tekoa.
The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, in the Teanaway Room at the Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby St. in Ellensburg.
The Washington State Legislature directed that the JWPT be managed for non-motorized uses, and various grants over the years also have limited trail use to non-motorized recreation. A state law restricts motor vehicle use of the JWPT.
However, farmers with property adjacent to the trail and State Parks concessionaires have requested that the agency allow them motorized use.
The proposal would allow motorized use by special permit through the agency for farmers s well as a new class of motor vehicles defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices.”
The proposed changes are not intended to alter the primary non-motorized recreation focus of State Parks’ trail management, officials say.
Washington State Parks manages five long-distance rail trails for non-motorized recreation, including hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and winter activities such as cross-country skiing and dog-sledding. The trails include the JWPT, managed as part of Iron Horse State Park and comprising most of the old Milwaukee Railroad corridor between Cedar Falls/North Bend and the Idaho border; the Centennial Trail near Spokane; Columbia Hills Plateau Trail from East Pasco to Fish Lake/Spokane; the Willapa Hills Trail from Chehalis to Raymond; and the Klickitat Trail, with a trailhead in Lyle near the Columbia River.
Info: Susan Koch at email@example.com.
PARKS — The foundation is done and a contractor has put up the walls on the new Smith Gap warming hut for snowshoers and backcountry skiers at Mount Spokane State Park.
Warren D. Walker snapped this photo to document the effort on Sunday.
Steven Christensen, park manager, said it's unlikely the hut will be ready for use this winter, but there's still a possibility. Either way, volunteers will be needed next summer to finish the inside, he said.
STATE LANDS — Revenue collected from sales of the Discover Pass was nearly $1 million higher than the previous year, according to a report prepared for the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission.
But it still falls short of funding the needs of state parks.
Sales in the second full year of the program generated almost $16.7 million, compared with $15.7 million in the first year. The majority went to state parks, with the rest going to the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Even with the increase, the Discover Pass revenues fall short of the Washington Legislature's projections when it enacted the pass program.
The program was created to offset the loss of state funding through budget cuts. A $30 annual pass or $10 daily pass is required in motor vehicles accessing state parks and other state-managed recreation lands.
The Discover Pass program was projected to bring in $23.4 million in the first year. It managed only $13.2 million.
A report prepared for the state Parks and Recreation Commission says the state took in $32.4 million in the two-year budget cycle that ended June 30.
Parks officials hope that the trend of accepting the Discover Pass continues, boosted by legislative changes to allow families to use on more than one vehicle.
PUBLIC LANDS — Saturday is a big day of freebies and stewardship on public lands throughout the region.
It's National Public Lands Day as well as National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Here are some opportunities to consider:
Washington State Parks are offering free vehicle access on Saturday — no Discover Pass is required.
Federal lands, including all National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges such as Turnbull are offering free entry on Saturday, one of 13 national lands Fee-Free Days in 2013. The next will be Veterans Day Weekend (Nov. 9-11).
Hunting and fishing activities and information for newcomers to the sports will be offered by sportsmen's groups, 1 p.m.- 5 p.m. at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional office grounds, 2315 N. Discovery Pl. in Spokane Valley. See story for more details.
Spokane River Clean-Up, an annual event that attracts around 800 volunteers from individuals, families and groups, will spiff up sections of the river from 9 a.m.-noon followed by a barbecue. Get details and register online at friendsofthefalls.com.
WINTER SPORTS — Work is progressing on a hut to serve as a Smith Gap warming shelter for snowshoers and backcountry skiers at Mount Spokane State Park.
It's no surprise that Cris Currie, long-time leader of the Friends of Mount Spokane State Park, is in the thick of the volunteer action. The friends group is looking for a wood stove to install in the hut.
Here's a weekend update with these photos from Currie's wife, Nora Searing:
STATE PARKS — A Sept. 7 night of star gazing with expert astronomers south of Spokane at Steptoe Butte State Park catches my eye in this list of upcoming free cultural events scheduled during the year-long Washington State Parks Centennial Celebration.
Here's the remaining schedule of events:
WINTER SPORTS — The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is looking for winter sports enthusiasts to serve on the Washington State Winter Recreation Advisory Committee (WRAC).
The committee for non-motorized recreation has three positions that will soon become vacant. Two of the positions are for non-motorized (cross country skier, snowshoer, dog musher, skijorer) who live in Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln or Spokane counties (Area 3). Another position is for a non-motorized recreation representative living in Adams, Whitman, Franklin, Garfield, Columbia, Walla Walla or Asotin counties (Area 6).
An additional open position is for an at-large candidate to represent motorized (snowmobiler) winter sports enthusiasts.
Nominations must be received by August 30. New appointments begin Oct. 1, for a term of three years.
The WRAC is made up of six non-motorized representatives and three representatives from snowmobile winter sports. The committee also has one representative each from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Association of Counties. Also included is an ex-officio member from the Washington Department of Licensing.
The committee meets at least two weekends each year, once during the winter and once during the summer. The committee reviews vital issues and advises the Commission and its staff on program policy and funding priorities for snow removal, trail grooming, sanitation, education and enforcement. Members are appointed by the Commission and may serve up to two, three-year terms. Travel, lodging and meal costs for the meetings are reimbursed for members.
The Winter Recreation Program manages more than 3,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 300 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and more than 120 Sno-Parks (plowed parking areas near snowmobile and cross-country ski trails).
The Winter Recreation Program is supported entirely by user fees, snowmobile registrations and a percentage of the state fuel tax.
Contact the Winter Recreation Program by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650,
Info: (360) 902-8684.
STATE PARKS — The Friends of Mount Spokane State Park are putting out a plea for someone with building skills to help lead the construction before winter of a yurt for snowshoers and backcountry skiers at the park.
Here's the message:
We are now at a critical point in our 4 year effort to build a new winter shelter for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing at Mt. Spokane, and we need everyone’s help. A grant for materials has been secured from the Johnston-Fix Foundation and additional financial support is available from the Friends of Mt. Spokane. The plans have been approved and park staff expect to have the foundation for the hut finished by the middle of next week. The location is Smith Gap. Unfortunately, the volunteer retired contractor we had lined up to lead the project is no longer available and we need to replace him. IF we can find a replacement within the next couple of weeks, and if we can find 3 or 4 committed volunteers who can devote several days a week to the project, we could at least get the exterior done this season. If not, we will do our best to protect the foundation over the winter and resume in June.So, I would like to ask everyone if they happen to know a retired or semi-retired builder/contractor (preferably a snowshoer or skier!) who would like to devote a few weeks of their time to direct the construction of this hut. The Friends Group will pay for the materials and at least this person’s expenses. We think we can start Friday the 16th. If you know of anyone, have them email me at email@example.com or call me at 509-466-9540. I would be happy to discuss the details with them. It’s easier if they have their own tools, but they will also be able to use the fairly extensive resources that the park has as well. I will be out of town this Friday to Tuesday but will be available by email.Then, secondly, assuming we can find the right person, we will need additional volunteers who can pound nails and move boards around. So those people should contact me too and let me know their level of building experience and their availability. You do not need a Discover Pass. In fact, with 24 hours of service, you can get a free Discover Pass!This has the potential to be a very exciting, fun project, and volunteers are guaranteed to learn a lot about the park, have the opportunity to hang out with some fun people, and maybe even learn a few things about building.Thanks for your help!!Cris Currie, PresidentFriends of Mt. Spokane State Park
CAMPING — Fires and charcoal barbecue grills — even in designated campsites — have been temporarily banned in Washington State Parks starting today to coincide with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources ban on outdoor fires announced on Tuesday.
The statewide ban is in effect through Sept. 30 and prohibits campfires in developed campgrounds and other recreational fires, although State Parks leave the option open to allow campfires sooner if weather cooperates.
Campers at state parks will be allowed to use devices that allow for control of combustion, including propane and liquid gas stoves appropriate for camping and backcountry use; propane barbecue devices that do not use solid briquettes; propane or pressurized white gas warming devices that have a shield or base; and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.
SPECIAL REPORT ON WOLVES:
OUTLOCATE – Geocacher’s have a new reason to find their way to Washington State Parks. To celebrate the state parks centennial, 100 geocaches have been hidden in 100 state parks.
Geocaches are containers stashed around the world with their GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates registered on a public website.
Each cache in the Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour was placed by an active member of the local geocaching community and approved by a ranger at each park.
Centennial GeoTour players can download the GeoTour passport, map and guidelines.
Vehicles entering state parks must display a Washington Discover Pass.
CAMPING – Idaho State Parks has partnered with The North Face to loan camping equipment at no charge to first-time campers through September.
The Explore Your Parks program is underway at two North Idaho state parks:
The offer’s also good at Lake Cascade State Park south of McCall.
New campers can check out tents, tarps, chairs, cooking equipment, lanterns and other gear – everything needed except sleeping bags and food.
The only costs are the normal campsite and reservation fees.
Participants are greeted by staff who will assist with campsite setup and offer tips on camping basics.
Often the state parks also have activities, such as staff-led nature hikes and family activities.
TRAILS — The state budget approved during the special session of the Washington Legislature provides strong funding — $65 million — for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, which in turn funds grants to critically approved projects across the state.
Bids for projects involving the Spokane Centennial Trail and Spokane County Conservation Futures are among the 88 projects the WWRP has approved. Now that fundng is in the budget, some excellent recreation and wildlife projects will be allowed to go forward.
STATE PARKS — Volunteers organized from local groups and organized by the Washington Trails Association are installing foot bridges for hikers and snowshoers over the creek crossed by popular trails, such as Trail 100. in Mount Spokane State Park.
Photo shows the crew after the first bridge was completed on Monday.
WTA is returning to the park July 20-22 to finish more bridges.
SHOOTING — There's clearly a demand for good-quality, safe shooting facilities, as demonstrated by the interest in last weekend's reopening of the range at Farragut State Park.
Here's a media release with details on using the facility from Idaho Fish and Game.
Farragut Hunters in the Idaho Panhandle are happy about the reopening of a local shooting range where they can safely sight in their hunting rifles. The 100-yard range at Farragut State Park reopened to the public on Saturday, June 1. The range is west of Bayview, Idaho between the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.
The range is administered jointly by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). Itis now open for public shooting the first and third Saturdays of each month through the summer on a first-come, first-served basis. Hours are 10am until 5pm.
There is a $5.00 range use fee in addition to the Farragut State Park entrance fee. Firearms are limited to rifles including .22 caliber, centerfire rifles less than .50 caliber, and muzzleloaders up to .54 caliber. For now, no handgun shooting is allowed.
The Farragut range was originally part of the Farragut Naval Training Station built in 1942. After the second world war, the range was turned over to the state and opened for use as a public shooting range.
The range was open to the public for about 60 years before being temporarily closed by court order over concerns about noise and safety when plans were announced to improve the range.
The IDFG has used $260,000 from hunting and fishing fines, timber sales and National Rifle Association grants to improve safety and reduce noise at the range. The work entailed lowering the range, building 12-foot berms to muffle noise and contain bullets, and installing overhead safety baffles.
During the time the range was closed, shooters were sighting in firearms in places where there were no specific safety rules, no established backstops, and no boundary fences or warning signs. Many of these places were on national forest or nearby state lands. Used targets and empty casings were left behind in frequently used locations and the areas became littered eyesores.
The reopened range has strict safety rules with on-site supervision by IDFG, high berms and sand pit backstops, noise and bullet containment baffles, perimeter fencing, and facilities for disposal of used targets and casings.
“We’re certainly pleased to reopen the Range,” said Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore. “Former range users will see a dramatic difference in the shooting venue, and neighbors can see the steps we’ve taken to improve safety and reduce noise,” Moore said.
The range is currently authorized for up to 500 shooter visits per year. A hearing is scheduled for later in the year about possibly removing that limit.
In the future, Fish and Game plans to complete work to open a 50-yard and a 200-yard shooting area of the range.
RIVERS — Wiley E. Waters rafting company is offering discounted three-hour whitewater river float trips for the Washington State Parks Centennial 2013 celebration on Saturday (June 8) at Riverside State Park.
Trips will start at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., with shuttles from Riverside Park's Bowl and Pitcher area to the launch site in Peaceful Valley and from the take-out at Plese Flats.
Cost: $49. Pre-register: (208) 457-1092 or on line, riverrafting.net.
Last-minute sign-up will be accepted by the outfitter’s booth at the Bowl and Pitcher if space is available.
Check the Riverside State ParksFoundation website for details and a schedule of events for the centennial celebration.
See the Sunday Outdoors story: Riverside good choice for Centennial Celebration.