PUBLIC LANDS – A flood of federal economic recovery funds is headed to Inland Northwest recreation sites this season, and campers should check ahead to see if their favorite areas might have restrictions.
Early-spring maintenance and construction will temporarily displace early season campers at some popular area campgrounds. Among them:
Little Pend Oreille Lakes campgrounds will get a new water system this year. Construction starts at Lake Gillette Campground on Monday. The Forest Service hopes to keep at least one of the campgrounds – Lake Gillette, Gillette and Lake Thomas – available to campers in May and June. Boat launching could be blocked some days.
Updates: Three Rivers Ranger District, (509) 738-7700.
Lake Roosevelt campgrounds at Spring Canyon, Keller Ferry and Hawk Creek will have temporary closures during May for road maintenance starting Monday at Spring Canyon.
Updates: (509) 633-9441, ext. 110.
Coeur d’Alene area BLM recreation sites are getting a surge of maintenance starting this month boosted by federal stimulus funding.
•Blue Creek Bay on the northeastern shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene will have intermittent work through November to construct docks, toilets and other recreation facilities.
•Killarney Lake boat launch and adjacent recreation sites projects are expected to be done before Memorial Day as the area gets new docks. A new boat ramp will be installed this fall. Picnic area and Popcorn Island dock and restroom construction is set for June and July.
•Huckleberry Campground on the St. Joe River will get new vault toilets in June.
Updates: (208) 769-5031.
Clearwater National Forest officials plan a wide range of upgrades ranging from paving campground roads to restoring fire lookout rentals cabins.
Springer forecast not quite so big
FISHING – Spring chinook salmon run to the Columbia River is big, but not the monster return forecast earlier. The run is expected to range from 310,000 to 370,000, Chris Kern of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Wednesday.
While that could be the biggest return since 334,559 in 2002, it is substantially smaller than the initial prediction of 470,000.
About half the run is believed to have passed Bonneville Dam, making the return somewhat earlier than the very late runs of the past five years, Kern said.
The count at Bonneville Dam through Tuesday was 163,370. Sport and commercial fishermen downstream of Bonneville Dam have landed 32,320 chinook originally destined for upstream of the dam.
Chinook passing Bonneville Dam through June 15 are categorized as the spring stock.
The Vancouver Columbian
Reservations change for Swan Lake
NATIONAL FORESTS – Reservations are going national for the historic Swan Lake kitchen shelter and group campsite at the Colville National Forest campground south of Republic.
Starting about June 14, the public will be able to make reservations up to a year in advance online or by phone on the Reserve America public lands reservation system. Reservations no longer will be accepted by the Republic Ranger District.
Historical preservation repairs are planned this spring, preventing early-season use.
Nightly rental fees will remain the same at $35 a night, but a $10 transaction fee also will be charged. The shelter can be reserved for day use or by overnight groups.
Info: (509) 775-7438.
For reservations: (877) 444-6777; www.recreation.gov