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Field reports: Kayakers roll away from Chelan Gorge

A kayaker at “entrance exam” in the Chelan River Gorge. (Associated Press)
A kayaker at “entrance exam” in the Chelan River Gorge. (Associated Press)

PADDLING – Whitewater kayak events through the exhilarating Chelan River Gorge will be set once-yearly rather than four-times yearly as interest among expert boaters has declined, Chelan County PUD announced this week.

The new plan, worked out with American Whitewater, calls for a water release this year on Sept. 15 and 16 regardless of how many kayakers sign up.

Only about a quarter-mile long, the gorge thunders with expert-only Class 4, 5 and 6 whitewater during spill events.

The PUD’s federal license to operate Lake Chelan Dam originally ordered four annual releases of water through the gorge for whitewater recreation. But there hasn’t been enough interest among boaters in the past three years to justify four events.

Boaters must register prior to the September event online at

Sportsman issues topic of SCI symposium

HUNTING – A Sportsman’s Symposium focusing on hunting and fishing issues is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the North Central High School Auditorium, sponsored by the Inland Empire Chapter of Safari Club International.

Guest speakers include Nelson Freeman, SCI’s government affairs director in Washington, D.C., and Dick Leland, district director for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Topics for the town hall meeting format include:

• Federal public lands policy, including the Forest Service planning rule, the roadless rule and BLM sport shooting policy.

• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policies limiting hunting on national wildlife refuges.

• Hunter participation in national elections.



Big Rock access nears completion

PARKS – Construction of the Stevens Creek Road access to the Big Rock-Rocks of Sharon conservation area is nearly complete.

The public parking area, of keen interest to hikers and climbers, is scheduled to be open sometime this week, Spokane County Parks officials said.

The site is one of two public accesses to Big Rock and the Iller Creek Conservation area. The county purchased the Rocks of Sharon area from Dishman Hills Conservancy last year.

Colville Forest revising road plan

FORESTS – The Colville National Forest is seeking comments on a revised proposal to regulate camping and expand roads and trails open to motorized recreation.

Comments are due by the end of August on the South End Project revised plans for the Tacoma, Chewelah and Calispell drainages. The original proposals were appealed last winter by conservation groups. Info: /outdoors.

Tennessee man wins Idaho’s bighorn lottery

HUNTING – Rob Durrett, 56, of Clarksville, Tenn., won a raffle drawing for a coveted bighorn sheep permit in Idaho.

The drawing raised $69,000 for bighorn disease research.

Durrett will be able to shoot one of the iconic big-game animals in any unit open to sheep hunting, including the coveted Unit 11 along the Hells Canyon of the Snake River.


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