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Stimulus funding will improve wilderness trails in some national forests. (File)
Stimulus funding will improve wilderness trails in some national forests. (File)

BASS drops women’s contests

OUTCAST – The Women’s Bassmaster Tour for professional tournament fishing has been dropped for 2010, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society announced last week.

Citing steadily declining participation levels since the Women’s Tour debuted in 2005, BASS general manager Tom Ricks called the decision “very tough.”

Virtually all fishing events have suffered since the economy tanked in 2008. Pro anglers should expect leaner schedules, payouts and sponsorships, industry insiders say.

Women in particular do not contribute significantly to the sale of products marketed by fishing event sponsors, they say.

Trails ‘stimulated’ in Eagle Cap area

OUTLAY – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is embarking on its most ambitious trail-maintenance campaign in years.

Bolstered by $1.6 million in federal stimulus money, plans call for helping hikers and horseback riders by trimming brush and moving downed logs on almost 1,100 miles of trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area during 2010 and 2011.

Some of the trails haven’t been regularly maintained in years, officials said.

•Mount St. Helens and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest will get a $13 million stimulus boost for trail and facility upgrades in 2010.

Canadian climber warms up to cold

What: “Cold Passion,” free program on climbing and exploring in extreme environments.

Who: By Margo Talbot, Canadian ice climber, guide and Antarctic expedition veteran.

When: Monday, 7 p.m.

Where: Mountain Gear, 2001 N. Division.

More rivers freed from dams

OUTFLOW – The tradeoff between dams and the environment is getting new scrutiny as dams become dangerously outdated or obsolete.

The conservation group American Rivers has documented 798 dams that have been removed in recent decades, with 358 coming out since 1999.

In 2009 alone, 58 dams were removed or scheduled for removal, including four in Washington.

For example, removing a 3.5-foot-high irrigation project dam on Satus Creek near Toppenish improved 90 river miles of habitat for steelhead.

Removal of Bruton Dam, an 8-foot-tall irrigation diversion along the Yakima River, has restored 30 river miles and provided upstream passage and habitat for salmon.

Hemlock Dam, a 22-foot-high power generator originally built in 1935, was removed this summer on Trout Creek, a tributary to the Wind River. The project opened 15 miles of upstream habitat for salmon and steelhead that return to the famous Wind River fishery.

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