Field reports: Turnbull Refuge gets high marks
REFUGES – Most visitors to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in 2010 and 2011 were impressed with its recreational opportunities, education and services, according to a survey released last week.
About 90 percent of respondents gave high marks to their experience on the 16,000-acre refuge south of Cheney.
The survey, commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, evaluated responses from more than 200 adult visitors surveyed at the refuge in 2010 and 2011. Turnbull was one of 53 national wildlife refuges surveyed.
President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903. Today the 556 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System protect fish and wildlife. More than 400 of the refuges also are open to the public.
Many refuges are known as popular sites for recreation.
More than 45 million people visited national wildlife refuges in 2011.
While 79 percent of Turnbull survey respondents live within 50 miles of the refuge, most nonlocal visitors said visiting Turnbull was a primary purpose of their trip.
The top three activities respondents participated in were wildlife observation (82 percent), bird watching (71 percent) and driving the auto tour route (67 percent).
Prompted by local activists, sportsmen and naturalists, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Turnbull in 1937 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds.
“Turnbull’s unique channeled scabland landscape formed by volcanic activity and glacial floods created diverse wildlife habitats that also attracts visitors from around the country,” said refuge manager Dan Matiatos.
Mount Spokane park future discussed
PARKS – Washington State Parks officials are holding meetings across the state to discuss potentially sweeping changes in park operations.
A meeting on possibilities for Mount Spokane is set for Monday, 6 p.m-7:30 p.m. at Spokane Public Library Shadle Branch, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave.
A meeting dealing with Riverside State Park was held Saturday.
State officials are gathering opinions on options such as operating the system as a private enterprise based on profits generated at the sites or as a public conservation asset.
The cash-strapped parks system is trying to make a five-year management plan. The Washington Legislature had voted to wean the parks from all state general funding in the next few years.
Rangers and other staff positions at Riverside and Mount Spokane state parks were cut by 40 percent in January.
Blackwell Island launch to open at Lake CdA
BOATING – The Bureau of Land Management’s Blackwell Island boat launch and recreation area will open Wednesday.
The popular site is along Highway 95.
Season passes cost $40 and include access to Mineral Ridge boat launch.
BLM staff will be on-site during the Memorial Day weekend to sell season passes. Info: (208)769-5000.