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Field reports: Outdoor retailers want Utah monument

PUBLIC LANDS – The Outdoor Industry Association and more than 100 outdoor-related businesses are asking President Barack Obama to designate 1.4 million acres of federal wildlands surrounding Canyonlands National Park as a national monument.

The Greater Canyonlands area includes geologic landmarks such as Labyrinth Canyon, Indian Creek, White Canyon, Fiddler Butte, Robbers Roost, Lockhart Basin and the Dirty Devil River.

The area is under increasing pressure from what monument proponents say is off-road-vehicle abuse, proposed mining and oil and gas development.

The OIA is the retailers group that brings to Utah its annual summer and winter markets, the state’s largest conventions, which draw more than 46,000 visitors and $42.5 million annually to the local economy.

For months OIA has been at odds with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert over the state’s bid to reclaim more than 30 million acres of federally controlled public lands. If it succeeds, Utah plans to sell or lease some of that land for development.

Veterans sign up for free eagle cruise

WILDLIFE – Local veterans and military personnel can sign up starting at noon Monday for a free cruise boat tour on Saturday (Nov. 24) to view the start of the annual bald eagle congregation on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Local veterans are allowed to bring up to five immediate family members on the boat that will tour Wolf Lodge Bay with a wildlife biologist aboard.

The first Veterans Eagle Boat Cruise offered last week filled in a couple of days, said officials with the Bureau of Land Management, which coordinates the veterans cruise along with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Priority will be given to veterans and active military personnel who have not previously been on a cruise.

Contact: Suzanne Endsley, (208) 769-5004.

Owls attack park visitors

WILDLIFE –Barred owls have been swooping down on people in Seattle-area parks.

A ranger at Bridle Trails State Park in Kirkland, Mary Welborn, says people have been clawed enough to draw blood in a handful of incidents.

King County has closed parts of the Soaring Eagle regional park in Sammamish because of similar attacks.

State Fish and Wildlife Department staffers say the young owls are territorial about new nesting spots.

Rangers say the owls seem to target people wearing head phones and women wearing their hair in pony tails.

Learn to tie flies, build fly rods

FISHING – Evening classes being offered by Spokane fly fishing shops include:

• Rod building, Nov. 21, 28, by Steve Moran. Cost: $75. Sign up at Swede’s Fly Shop, 1611 N. Ash St., 323-0500.

• Beginner fly tying, Dec. 3, 4, by Mark Poirier. Cost: $50. Sign up at Silver Bow Fly Shop. 13210 E. Indiana Ave., 924-9998.

Rainier passes closed

OUTDRIFT – Two mountain passes on the east side of Mount Rainier – Chinook Pass on Highway 410 and nearby Cayuse Pass on Highway 123 – have been closed for the season by recent snow and avalanches.