Field reports: Umatilla Forest starts management plan revision with meetings

FORESTS – The Blue Mountains National Forests have begun revising the plans and policies for managing everything from logging, grazing and firefighting to recreation and wilderness for the next 15 years.

The group of forests include the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman of Oregon and Washington.

Kick-off public meetings begin at 5:30 p.m., with a 6 p.m. presentation followed by discussion and an open house as follows:

• Thursday , Dayton, Wash., Fairgrounds Youth Building, 1 N. Pine.

• April 9, Clarkston Campus of Walla Walla Community College, 1470 Bridge St.

Follow the planning process and make comments by June 11 at tinyurl.com/fsplan.

Hunting seasons on panel’s agenda

HUNTING – Proposed changes to Washington’s hunting seasons are on the agenda for the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission when it meets April 11-12 in Olympia.

The state Fish and Wildlife Department is scheduled to present policies for dealing with tribal hunting and proposals for real estate acquisitions to benefit wildlife habitat.

Whitefish reconsidering uphill skiing policy

SKIING – The U.S. Forest Service and Whitefish Mountain Resort are considering changes to the resort’s policy of allowing skiers to travel uphill after two people entered an area with active avalanche control.

The resort is one of the few that allows people to ascend ski runs and ski down for free, an increasingly popular activity.

But ski patrollers say a male and female on Feb. 19 disregarded warnings from ski patrollers and descended a closed slope.

Ski patrollers say they had to extinguish explosives that were about to be deployed.

North Cascades Highway clearing to start

PARKS – Crews will begin clearing snow from the North Cascades Highway on Monday, Washington Transportation Department officials say, and the mountainous stretch of Highway 20 could reopen by early May.

The highway closed for the winter on Dec. 3.

Springer season eyed in Clarkston area

FISHING – Anglers asked Washington to consider a spring chinook salmon fishing season in the Snake River near Clarkston when they met with fish managers on Wednesday.

Most of the 65 or so anglers who attended a Fish and Wildlife Department in Clarkston said they wanted the chance to fish close to home.

The state has proposed limit fishing to three days a week in at least three fishing areas on the lower Snake River. But biologists pointed out that past fishing seasons near Clarkston have produced low harvest and scant participation.

Washington lacks the federal approval required to fish for salmon upstream from Asotin in the free-flowing water anglers would prefer.

Chinook fishing on a short stretch of the Grande Ronde River is a possibility, Mendel said. Seasons will be set later this month.

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