BOATING – Lake Roosevelt’s public boat launch at Crescent Bay will be closed from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday for the debut of Washington’s newest ferry, which will transport State Route 21 traffic across the Columbia River at Keller Ferry.
Motorists must use alternate routes from Monday through Aug. 13 as ferry service on the Keller route will be suspended to upgrade the terminals and fit them to the new $9.6 million vessel.
Boaters in the area will be able to use the launch ramp at Spring Canyon, 3 miles east of Grand Coulee off State Route 174, during this closure.
The Washington Department of Transportation will launch the Sanpoil, built to replace the Martha S, a six-car ferry that’s covered the route across the Columbia River north of Wilbur for 64 years
The Sanpoil will carry 20 cars while being more efficient, officials say.
Video shows paddlers kill swimming deer
WILDLIFE – State wildlife agents are investigating after a video surfaced showing a group of people in a canoe killing a deer in the waters near Squaxin Island, in southwestern Puget Sound.
The killing of the buck was captured on a 12-minute video, which shows a man swinging at the animal with an oar. The buck swims away but a couple minutes later, a paddler jumps into the water and attempts to drown the deer before another man dives in to assist.
The video ends with the deer being paddled to shore aboard the canoe.
Squaxin Island Tribal Council member Ray Peters says he was disturbed by the video, because that’s not how the tribe harvests deer.
No hunting season is open for deer. Officials are still trying to identify some of the people in the video.
Bitterroot flows below average
FISHNG – A U.S. Forest Service hydrologist says flows in the Bitterroot River are about half of average for this time of year.
Ed Snook with the Bitterroot National Forest tells the Ravalli Republic (bit.ly/12uzzUQ) that the snowpack levels for the Bitterroot drainage are at about 38 percent of normal.
He says flows in the river are more appropriate for mid- to late July than late June.
He says the low water will mean a short boating season.
Rainier sites open ahead of schedule
PARKS – The recent summer weather around the Pacific Northwest has melted snow and allowed for Mount Rainier National Park staff to open multiple facilities ahead of schedule.
The Sunrise Road, Sunrise Lodge and Sunrise Visitor Center all opened to the public Friday, according to Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King.
Other openings that are ahead of schedule include Cougar Rock Campground, Narada Falls Trail and White River Campground, which all opened on Friday. Mowich Lake Road is set to open Wednesday.
The other areas in the park already open include Ohanapecosh, Paradise, Longmire and Carbon River.