Posts tagged: trails
PUBLIC LANDS — The 22 formal objections filed to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests’ revised forest plan were made available for review this week.
The revision of the plan last revised in 1987 was released in September and is meant to guide forest management of everything from timber production to roadless areas for the next 15 years or so.
The objections can be reviewed on Idaho Panhandle National Forests “Objections Received” webpage.
People interested in an objection can file a request to participate in any resolution meetings that are scheduled.
The Forest Service has 90 days to respond to the objections.
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: email@example.com
TRAILS — The section of the Spokane River Centennial Trail that's been closed for weeks because of sewer line construction at the Spokane Convention Center expansion site (see story) will reopen this afternoon.
The Friends of the Centennial Trail report that Mile 22.5 of the Centennial Trail, from Division Street Bridge west to King Cole Bridge at the Spokane Convention Center, flows through the first phase of restoring and re-landscaping the area.
“Like the newly discovered Spokane River Gorge views from the Trail at Kendall Yards, the 'new' Convention Center views show case Riverfront Park, the north bank of the river and Gonzaga University like never before,” the Friends say in a email update.
“Extensive work to restore and landscape the Spokane River shoreline and bring a new first-phase surface to the Trail is beautiful. Even in their dormant state, the addition of over 75 trees and hundreds of native plants make this area flourish. Some Miracle Mile Medallions here have been carefully removed and stored. They will be re-installed in numerical order when the project is completed by December, 2014.”
The second phase of trail construction begins next September.
HIKING — Last month I emphasized that the hunting seasons shouldn't deter hikers from getting out to enjoy the region's trails during the brilliant autumn show of colors.
Ann Fennessy and her husband second that motion. As Ann said in an email, the season can be full of discoveries, for hikers and their companions:
My husband and I had a beautiful hike this past Friday close to Chewelah Peak. Our Golden Doodle, Mae, bailed out over the trail for a moment, then returned with a dog's version of a rich man's home on Halloween: the remains of a field-dressed deer. We couldn't see the carcass, but the hunter had kindly sawed the bones into 8-9” sections: perfect for each of our hounds to find a hunk and carry it along for the rest of the hike.
Oh, Lord, were they prancing and dancing! Occasionally, they just had to flop down and gnaw their treasure for a minute. Bob and I were happy to pause and let them savor while we savored the surroundings.
As you can see, we are decked out in fairly visible gear. I do get nervous hiking at this time of year, but take precautions. Plus, my husband and I carry on conversations most of the time and we stick to the trails.
A couple of weeks and a couple of wind storms later, the larch are losing their golden needles and the autumn hiking season is fading away.
TRAILS — A packed house showed up last night at the new Jefferson Elementary School for the city-sponsored meeting to unveil new plans for the $6.8 million project that will repave and remodel High Drive while changing access to the South Hill bluff trails. The meeting provided a lot of answers to concerned neighbors and perhaps raised a few more questions.
One comment from the audience caught my attention as an illustration of how wide the views range on developing a public asset such as High Drive. The comment from the man, Dave, reminds us that private property owners often take very narrow views of public interest on city right-of-way.
To paraphrase Dave:
The city should focus funding earmarked for sidewalks to poor neighborhoods where people need the walkways to get to the bus rather than waste the money on a sidewalk in an affluent neighborhood where it isn't needed.
First, Dave apparently doesn't look out the tinted windows of his vehicle as he drives to and from his South Hill home to observe all of the walkers and runners who use High Drive each day.
Second, more walkers and runners would enjoy the premier views of High Drive if they didn't have to walk in the road especially around dangerous curves.
Third, it's crazy that the city has gone this long without providing a sidewalk or path the length of High Drive, one of the finest pedestrian routes the city has to offer.
TRAILS — As today's news story points out, City of Spokane engineers are ready to present a new plan for the $6.8 million High Drive street project after public criticism of initial proposals this summer and fall sent them back to the drawing board.
The project is of major concern to the hikers, cyclists, dog walkers and runners who flock to the 25-mile trail system along the South Hill bluff. Initial proposals would have reduced access to the trails and eliminated up to 80 percent of the available parking.
The city will unveil the revised design in an open-house meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., at the new Jefferson Elementary School, 123 E. 37th Ave.
ENVIRONMENT — If you are a camper, backpacker, paddler or angler, you're probably looking back, as I am, with fond memories of October's fall color spectacle against blue skies.
It was fantastic, with perhaps a record dearth of rainfall to spoil the experience.
Not great for everyone, but we take the lemonaide when it comes.
We were sleeping under stars and an brilliant full moon without need for a tent in the middle of the month
Like all seasons, October glory is finally waning into something else, as this photo suggests from Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
TRAILS — Do you shy away from hiking trails in the beautiful season of autumn because the hunting seasons are underway?
Here's a query I received from area hiker Randy Gosline:
I'm looking for some advice from a hunter. I hike and backpack a lot of miles during the Spring and Summer. Fall is probably the prettiest time of the year to hike with all the trees and foliage changing colors. Here in lies the problem. Hiking during hunting season scares the “Bajeepers” out of me. Even though I always wear bright colors and make lots of noise along the way I can't help but be very nervous about hiking this time of year. Do you have any advice for those of us who want to continue to enjoy hiking during hunting season? I hate to put my backpack away when we are having beautiful fall weather to hike in.
First, if you're genuinely afraid, you can hike in state and national parks and wildlife refuges where hunting is prohibited.
My best advice for you is to stay on trails and to continue what you're already doing: Wear bright colors, (avoid black, which looks too much like a bear) make noise — and keep hiking!
I've hiked or hunted virtually every week during the fall for decades and I've never had a problem.I've hiked or hunted virtually every week during the fall for decades and I've never had a problem.
Here are six choice fall hikes in Eastern Washington.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIKING — I'm not the only one who's noticed that October often is a premium month for backpacking.
The weather is clear and crisp and the autumn colors are brilliant.
Check out this photo by Ken Vanden Heuvel from his recent trek into Little Ibex Lake in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness of Western Montana. There's no official trail to the little lake, which is snug in a notch of broken granite.
So many places to find your autumn niche.
UPDATED at 5:10 p.m.
IKING — A 23-year-old woman reported missing for six days while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in southwest Washington was found safe this weekend.
Alejandra Wilson was located Saturday afternoon, authorities told the Associated Press. She was cold and tired but otherwise OK.
A search team spotted the Oregon woman walking in the Crest trail area as she started hiking out. She was reported missing after becoming overdue for a trail check Sept. 30.
Sgt. George Town of the Yakima County sheriff’s office said Wilson reported that she got stranded by a snow storm about a week ago and waited until conditions improved before walking out.
“She said the snow was almost waist deep and she was pretty well stuck. She wasn’t lost, she was just stuck,” Town said in an interview Sunday.
Wilson told authorities she hunkered down and set up camp under some trees to wait out the storm, he said. From there, she said she spotted the Coast Guard helicopters that went up in search of her. The helicopters flew overhead but she wasn’t able to flag them down in time, Town said.
“The Coast Guard guys were right on track. They did a good job. She wasn’t able to make herself visible,” but their presence “gave her real confidence,” Town said.
He noted that she still had food when she was located Saturday. She was reunited with her dad, grandparents and friends Saturday.
Some of the volunteer searchers included hiking companions who had been on the trail with her earlier in her trip, Town said Sunday.
The Oregonian caught up to Wilson for a first-hand account and the “chilling” details. Click “continue reading” to read the account from the AP Wire.
HIKING — Fall is a stunning time to walk through the region's wildlands, from the scablands to the national forests.
Here are three of my many “favorite” fall walks, all of which are detailed in my latest co-authored guide book, Day Hiking Eastern Washington.
1. Abercrombie Mountain (west of Ione) – The trail to the summit of Eastern Washington’s second-highest peak leads to sweeping views of fall colors, especially the larch that are in the prime of their “goldness” in the Pend Oreille River Valley by the third week of October.
Note: Road improvements are planned on the Abercrombie access roads this fall. Contact the Colville National forest Three Rivers District for updates on restrictions.
2. Hall Mountain (east of Metaline)– The rigorous hike to the former site of a forest fire lookout overlooking Sullivan Lake and the Salmo-Priest Wilderness passes a variety of fall color scenery with a brilliant red bonus. Near the trailhead, visit the bridge over Harvey Creek next to Sullivan Lake to see thousands of spawning kokanee for their run that peaks in early November.
3. Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (south of Cheney)– An easy stroll along the refuge’s Pine Lakes rewards hikers with colorful fall scenery worth the trip in itself. But bring binoculars to appreciate the even more vivid wild art of migrating waterfowl. The hike leads past waters frequented by trumpeter swans that produced two hatches of cygnets this year that will be fledging this fall.
TRAILS — The City of Spokane's plans to “remodel” High Drive in 2014 while updating sewer lines could change bike lanes and reduce parking options for the popular South Hill bluff trails.
Traffic flow, pedestrian walkways, and bike lanes will also be affected, according to the Friends of the Bluff.
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.
TRAILS – A non-profit group has raised $400,000 to secure a key piece of Lake Pend Oreille waterfront for a trail near Sandpoint.
Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail president Jon Sayler said a couple of large donations helped raise the required money a year ahead of schedule.
The City of Sandpoint already as purchased two parcels of four parcels needed to secure the trail corridor.
The City of Ponderay has agreed to purchase the third parcel in October and the Friends group has pledged to by the fourth parcel next year, he said.
Sayler said the purchases, opening more than a mile and a half of shoreline trail to the public, are the first phase of the trail project.
Future plans call for securing portions of railroad right-of-way to complete the trail into Ponderay, an underpass under the railroad from the shoreline to Ponderay and master trail planning for future trail construction and amenities.
The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail Concept Plan, developed by the community in 2010, also calls for the trail to extend into Kootenai and Ponder Point, which will also require cooperation of the railroad and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A celebration event is set for Nov. 21 at the Pend d’Oreille Winery.
PUBLIC LANDS — Good news/bad news for hikers who enjoy the trails to Abercrombie and Sherlock Peaks in Pend Oreille County:
The Colville National Forest will begin road maintenance and reconstruction on Oct. 1 on the following roads.
These roads access the Abercrombie and Sherlock Peak areas and the Silver Creek Trail Head. Expect delays and temporary closures due to road construction until December 01, 2013
Info: Three Rivers Ranger Station at (509) 738-7700.
PUBLIC LANDS – The Bonners Ferry Ranger District will close the access road to the Roman Nose trailhead this week for repairs, according to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
Forest Service Road 1007 over Caribou Pass will be closed Tuesday-Friday so culverts can be replaced. It will be open next weekend, but will be closed again Oct. 7-11.
Info: (208) 267-5561.
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.