Outdoors

Field reports: Nordic grooming stalled at Mount Spokane

SKIING – A lack of snow has kept the new snowcat groomer from being tested this week on the Mount Spokane nordic ski trail system, said Jerry Johnson, park ranger.

“People have been up skiing on ungroomed snow; there’s enough for having fun, but there hasn’t been enough for grooming,” he said. For recorded updates, call 238-4025.

Sno-Park permits are required on vehicles in state park parking areas except for patrons of the downhill ski area when lifts are running. The resort hasn’t opened.

Boy Scouts to base at Boone-Crockett ranch

CAMPS – The Montana Council of the Boy Scouts of America wants to make the state a premier national destination for Scout troops by partnering with a ranch bordering the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The Boone and Crockett Club, the keeper of North American big-game hunting records, is allowing its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch near Choteau to be certified as a “high adventure base” for Scouting.

Boone and Crockett chief of staff Tony Schoonen says the ranch will accept 50 Scouts a week during six weeks in July and August for weeklong adventures.

The Scouts also have high-adventure base camps in Florida, Minnesota and New Mexico.

Discover Pass has optional start date

PARKS – The state Parks and Recreation Commission is promoting the Discover Pass as a holiday gift idea.

A new option allows a choice in the starting date for the annual state parking pass.

The $30 pass is available online ( discoverpass.wa.gov) and at stores that also sell fishing and hunting licenses. The money helps pay for operating state parks and recreation lands owned by the Fish and Wildlife Department and the Department of Natural Resources.

The Nature Conservancy secures timber land

CONSERVATION – A national environmental group acquired a half of a square mile of moose, elk and bear habitat in North Idaho. The group plans to begin restoring the land’s natural qualities before selling it to a private buyer who would be allowed to continue sustainable timber harvests.

The Nature Conservancy announced this month it acquired a ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and hardwood forest at the foot of Hall Mountain in northern Boundary County, not far from the U.S.-Canada border.

Eventually TNC plans to place a conservation easement on the 317 acres that allows for sustainable timber harvests before selling the land, which borders publicly owned land.

Officials with the group called the transaction a “win-win situation” for the local resource-based economy and the region’s wildlife.

Region’s national parks changing guard

PARKS – Chas Cartwright, Glacier National Park superintendent since 2008, plans to retire in December after 25 years with the National Park Service.

He began his career with the park service in 1987 as an archaeologist at Canyonlands and Arches national parks and Natural Bridges Monument in Utah.

Sarah Creachbaum is taking over as superintendent of Olympic National Park.

She most recently served as superintendent of Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui, Hawaii.



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