Forest Service reminds visitors to leave fireworks behind

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, the U.S. Forest Service would like to remind visitors to national forests in Oregon and Washington that discharging fireworks or explosives, including exploding targets, is prohibited.

Fireworks routinely cause wildfires. Exploding targets are a documented cause of wildfires and have been associated with at least five wildfires on National Forest System lands since 2012, resulting in more than 15,600 acres burned and approximately $30 million in suppression costs.

The prohibition of exploding targets on national forest lands is not intended to deter the sport of target shooting. The prohibition is directed at concerns over the potential for fire ignition associated with the use of exploding targets on public lands.

Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

For information about this order, please contact Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Loudermilk at (360) 891-5278.

Mountain bikers gear for 24 Hours

The annual 24-Hour “Round the Clock” mountain bike race is gearing up for another extravaganza of solo and team efforts supported by a huge campout with friends and fellow dirtbaggers Saturday-Monday at Riverside State Park.

The Seven Mile airstrip area fills on the eve of the race with hundreds of bikes along with tents, RVs, trailers and cyclists from around the country. The event begins with a La Mans start at noon Saturday. Riders complete as many 15-mile dirt-trail laps as possible in 24 hours. Info: www.roundandround.com.

Prominent boat ramp reopens in CdA

Blackwell Island boat launch, a popular Bureau of Land Management recreation site on Lake Coeur d’Alene, will open for the season today, the Coeur d’Alene BLM office reports. The site will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The site offers four launch lanes and 135 parking spots for vehicles with trailers. Picnic tables with grills are available, and a large group picnic pavilion is available for rental through the Coeur d’Alene District Office for $30 a day.

Daily rates at Blackwell Island are $6 and fee envelopes are available on-site. 

Season passes are $40 and cover use at the Blackwell Island Recreation Site and the Mineral Ridge Boat Launch. 

Passes can be purchased at BLM’s Coeur d’Alene District Office located at 3815 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene or by calling the office at (208) 769-5000.

Spokane residents can purchase season passes Monday-Friday at the Bureau of Land Management’s Spokane District Office, 1103 N. Fancher Rd.

Season passes are not available for purchase on-site at Blackwell Island. 

Info: (208) 769-5000.

Boating under the influence advisory

The U.S. Coast Guard recently released the 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics. The new figures show the largest decrease in the number of alcohol-related recreational boater deaths in the past five years. From 2012 to 2013, there was a 31 percent decrease in the number of recreational boaters’ deaths where alcohol use was the known primary contributing factor.

Despite the positive signs, boating under the influence continues to be a major problem in the United States. Over the past five years, alcohol use has remained the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths.

To help draw public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, in 2009, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators launched, in partnership with the United States Coast Guard, Operation Dry Water – the nation’s boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign. This year’s Operation Dry Water weekend is June 27-29.

The mission of Operation Dry Water is to raise public awareness and reduce the number of deaths on the water related to alcohol consumption. During last year’s dry water weekend, law enforcement removed 290 BUI operators from the water and made contact with more the 144,000 boaters, educating them about boating under the influence and safe boating practices.

To find out more about Operation Dry Water or register your agency to participate in the campaign, visit operationdrywater.org.

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