Field reports: Plan now to hike the Enchantments
HIKING – Backpackers have to be on their toes months before they plan to go hiking in the Enchantment zone of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Camping is allowed only by permit June 15-Oct. 15 in this popular Cascades backcountry area west of Leavenworth, Wash. Some of the permit drawing rules have changed this year.
Applications for the 2012 lottery are being accepted on the Recreation.gov website through March 13.
The 394,000-acre wilderness is accessed by 47 trailheads and 615 miles of trails.
However, the Enchantment Lakes area is considered the most scenic portion of the wilderness. Because this alpine area is fragile, the Wenatchee National Forest sets a daily quota on the number of campers to keep it from being overrun.
Despite quotas, nearly 150,000 visitors enter the wilderness a year.
See details on the permits and application process on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website, fs.usda.gov/okawen.
Death Valley ultra: Bliss tells of ordeal
ENDURANCE – Spokane ultra marathon runner Lisa Bliss will present a program on her solo epic of running unsupported through Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney on Thursday at 7 p.m. at REI.
She finished the grueling 146 miles from the lowest point in the lower 48 states to the highest in 89 hours, 38 minutes.
Bliss is the only woman and the second person to do the run unsupported.
Beyond her passion for marathoning, Bliss dedicated the run to raise money for Crosswalk Youth Shelter, a center run by Volunteers of America for homeless teens in Spokane.
The presentation is free, but go online to preregister to reserve a seat: rei.com/spokane.
Hunting proposals in public spotlight
HUNTING – Idaho is trying to strike a predator-prey balance by having hunters kill more wolves and fewer elk next year.
Washington is proposing a wide range of rules, such as reducing senior citizen deer hunting and allowing electronic duck decoys.
Both states will hold meetings this week where the public can comment.
Idaho Panhandle meetings include:
Thursday in Sandpoint, 7 p.m., at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, Lehman Building.
Friday in Coeur d’Alene, 7 p.m., at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will decide 2012 big-game hunting seasons March 21-23 in Boise.
Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear public testimony on more than a dozen proposed 2012-2014 hunting rules on Friday at the Civic Center, 401 S. Balsam St., in Moses Lake.
The commission is set to vote on proposals April 13-14 in Olympia.
Olympic Mountains goats increasing
WILDLIFE – A survey shows a 40 percent jump since 2004 in the number of mountain goats in Washington’s Olympic Mountains.
More than 340 goats are in the area, say researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service. Observers in helicopters searched high peaks over several days last July.
Biologist Kurt Jenkins says the 2011 census released this month shows the first increase in the population since the 1980s. He says the population had been remarkably steady since then.
Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s and numbered nearly 1,200 in 1983. Park officials removed several hundred from the park in the late 1980s over concerns of their potential impact to the environment.
Olympic National Park officials are seeking money to analyze how to manage goats in the park. In 2010 a Port Angeles, Wash., man was gored to death by a goat.
Snowshoe break at Snoqualmie Pass
NATURE – Guided snowshoeing treks geared to exposing all skill levels to winter ecology are being offered by the U.S. Forest Service at Snoqualmie Pass through March 31.
Guided outings ranging from 90 minutes to a half day are offered for adults and children, with snowshoes provided.
Shorter walks focus on winter birding, animal tracking and general winter forest ecology. The more advanced half-day trip takes participants through the beauty of the Commonwealth Basin and expands on winter ecology, mountain weather and avalanche safety.
The “Kids in the Snow” program gives children a chance to earn a Junior Snow Ranger badge while they learn about snow safety, crawl into a snow cave and observe snow crystals through a magnifier.
A winter photography and ecology walk also is offered.
Participants are encouraged to wear layered and insulated clothing, hats and gloves, with sturdy waterproof boots for the snowshoes. No jeans or cotton. A $10 per person donation is requested for short hikes, $20 for half-day treks.
Make reservations: (425) 434-6111 Thursday-Sunday.