Stimulus a rare boost for parks

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2009

Yellowstone isn’t flush with money from federal economic stimulus funds, but at least the Madison campground sewer system can be updated for the first time in some 50 years.

National Parks managers burdened with huge maintenance backlogs are delighted to get a $750 million share of the national handouts geared to creating jobs and improving infrastructure.

“This is probably the most significant investment made (for national parks) in more than a generation,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, noting 750 projects are planned in 48 states.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks will get a combined $33.5 million. The biggest chunk of Yellowstone’s share will fund a new $9 million wastewater treatment plant at Madison Junction.

Glacier Park will get $17.6 million, mostly to correct health and safety issues at Many Glacier Hotel as well as repairing high-use trails and backcountry campgrounds and improving restrooms.

Olympic National Park plans to use most of its $58 million to accelerate plans to remove a dam on the Elwha River.

About $4 million will be shared for Washington projects at Mount Rainier and North Cascades national parks, and the Fort Spokane, Fort Vancouver and Whitman Mission sites.

Rich Landers


Montana offers bison permits

The application deadline for a Montana bison hunting permit is May 1.

The state Department or Fish, Wildlife and Parks will be offering a limited number of permits for two areas: north of Gardner or near West Yellowstone. The drawing will be held in September once the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission sets the final bison quotas and seasons.

Cost for applicants who draw a tag: residents $125, nonresidents $750.

Rich Landers


Okanogan proposes travel plan

An Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest plan for managing motorized travel is out for public comment.

The proposal is a starting point for discussions on suggestions from several years of work by user groups, said Forest Supervisor Becki Heath.

Info: (509) 664-9384; www.fs.fed.us/r6/okawen/ travel-management.

Rich Landers


Bill ranks bighorns as pests

Idaho is a complex state, where the city council rejected commercial walking tours in Coeur d’Alene this week and the state legislature approved a bill to shoot bighorn sheep as vermin.

Lawmakers passed a bill mandating the Fish and Game Department to kill or move wild sheep that wander onto public grazing allotments above Hell’s Canyon.

The measure was headed to the desk of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter last week.

Rich Landers


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