Field reports: Field reports: Cascades timberlands acquired by state

PUBLIC LANDS – The Nature Conservancy has purchased 1,280 acres of timberland from Plum Creek in the Manastash area west of Ellensburg and transferred it to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to be managed as part of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.

This acquisition is the most recent in a project to eliminate a “checkerboard pattern” of public and private land and create large blocks of public lands in the Cascade Mountains.

Partnerships including the Yakama Nation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have brought more than 25,000 acres of private timberlands into public ownership as part of the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative.

The program assures public access to these lands as it heads off the possibility of the timber company selling the properties to private interests that could install locked gates.

Camp links kids with outdoors

NATURE WREN, a Coeur d’Alene-based environmental education and conservation organization, will hold a wildlife camp Friday and Saturday for youths ages 11-13.

Campers will meet in Coeur d’Alene before heading to wildlife education field trips in the lower Coeur d’Alene River lakes and Farragut State Park.

Instructors are professional wildlife biologists and educators.  Hands-on activities include field trips, live raptors, a butterfly survey and outdoor games. 

Preregister.  Cost: $75. 

Info: (208) 755-4216. 

Groups need help upgrading trails

TRAILS – The Idaho Trails Association is looking for volunteers for a one-day project in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest northeast of Sandpoint on Wednesday.

“We will be constructing a puncheon walkway to go over a bog hole about a mile from the summit of Grouse Mountain,” said project leader Phil Hough.

Sign up: idahotrailsassociation.org.

• The Washington Trails Association is organizing a July 22 trail work day at Mount Spokane State Park and a July 31-Aug. 3 backpacking work party in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness. Sign up: wta.org.

River access open at Stateline

BOATING – A launch site for drift boats, paddling craft and rafts has been remodeled and reopened at the stateline just downstream from the I-90 bridge.

The Stateline access site includes parking and native landscaping planted by state and federal agencies and volunteer groups on 800 feet of shoreline, said Andy Dunau of Spokane River Forum.

See details about this access and others on the Spokane River Water Trail website, spokaneriver.net/watertrail.

Pass Creek Pass road work starts

FORESTS – Travelers headed to the Pass Creek Pass area of the Colville National Forest, including the south trailhead for the Shedroof Divide and the Grassy Top Mountain trail, could experience delays this month.

The Forest Service and Border Patrol are doing heavy road maintenance on Forest Service Roads 302 (Idaho) and 22 (Washington).  This road connects travelers between Nordman, Idaho, and Metaline Falls, Washington.

Info: Priest Lake Ranger District, (208) 443-6839.

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