The biggest peak in Spokane’s backyard is so familiar, yet so unknown. The number of people informed that it was Mount Baldy before being renamed Mount Spokane in 1912 could be higher than the sum of visitors who understand whether a Discover Pass or Sno-Park vehicle permit is required for access this week.
Big bears have a taste for small bugs in the Rockies, scientists say. More grizzly bears are congregating each summer on steep rocky slopes in search of army cutworm moths in the southeastern portion of the more than 9,210-square-mile Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Yellow larch needles litter the laundry room floor where I dropped my hunting clothes Sunday night. After devoting 10 days to the pursuit of elk meat for our freezer, I’m reluctant to sweep up the mess. It’s all I have to show for the effort. I’m left to chew on little more than the memories of another rewarding but meatless nature observation season.
OUTSKINNED – A decades-old tradition of trading a deer skin for a pair of buckskin gloves is just a memory this year. Pacific Steel and Recycling in Spokane is no longer taking deer, elk and moose hides.
It’s time for high schoolers to begin thinking about fame, fortune and the great outdoors. The Spokesman-Review once again is joining the Outdoor Writers Association of America in sponsoring contests for youth outdoor writing. The 2014 S-R contest is open to high school students from the newspaper’s circulation area.
OUTFIELD – Once locally extinct, fishers are bounding all over the Olympic Peninsula. First released into Olympic National Park in 2008 in an effort to repopulate the native carnivore, they now range from Neah Bay to Ocean Shores, from Port Townsend to Olympia, preliminary data from remote cameras and hair snags confirm.
The 2000 Idaho Legislature declared huckleberries the state fruit. But like potatoes, Washington has its share of the delicious purple berries prized for pies, pancakes, muffins, ice cream, jam, wine and just about anything else that needs a touch of tart sweetness. The huckleberry season is underway at lower elevations and the pleasure is working its way up the region’s mountainsides as the berries ripen. People and communities have taken note:
ELGIN, Ore. – Four deer suddenly appeared out of the thick evergreens bordering the campground and moseyed along the campground road. It was fun watching them browse, prance and play at the edge of the campsites at Minam State Park between La Grande and Enterprise.
Teachers in Stevens County have brought hundreds of schoolkids to McDowell Lake for science field trips over the years. That’s the first clue that a special 1.3-mile trail starting from the lake’s camping area on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is worth a visit. Nature lovers will find this short trail packed with features, such as a ripe wild strawberry that is supercharged with more flavor than its larger cousins. In the course of a mile, hikers can see five distinct ecological habitats, from riparian to semi-arid on a self-guided tour.
The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge southeast of Colville is celebrating its 75th anniversary this summer to acquaint more people with recent visitor-friendly improvements to a niche that’s protected mostly for wildlife. Organized activities range from bird and butterfly walks to a bicycling event. Meanwhile, the 43,000-acre refuge already attracts a quiet, steady year-round stream of visitors who have discovered the camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and educational opportunities.
Habitat management is a never-ending job at the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Area, and fire is a natural tool. “Unlike a tree farm, we look at the trees and all the vegetation under them for their potential wildlife habitat,” said Jerry Cline, refuge manager.
A wildlife population explosion takes place around this time every year and anyone can stumble onto a baby critter virtually anywhere outside. “Wild bird and mammal species typically produce young in the spring and early summer,” says Phil Cooper of Idaho Fish and Game. “This allows the young to have time to gain the strength and size needed to survive the challenges of winter, or the rigors and dangers of fall migration.”
A Bonners Ferry man has the unusual distinction of winning a top prize in a Ducks Unlimited waterfowling photo contest without being able to identify the birds in the picture. Steve Jamsa won the Best Overall runner-up award in the 2014 DU magazine contest with a photo of a teal flock banking into a turn on a North Idaho wetland.
The annual shows that inspired Native American dancers centuries ago are underway on Washington’s grasslands, sagebrush prairies and mountain foothills. Grouse are strutting on their stages to fan their tails and beam with gaudy colors for the breeding season before melting back into the monochrome hideaways of their habitat, what’s left of it.
I had a rafter of wild turkeys scoped out late Tuesday afternoon just 12 hours before the opening of the spring gobbler hunting season. The situation was right out of the Successful Sportsman’s Textbook: