PUBLIC AREAS – The Martin Luther King holiday is the first in a series of fee-free entrance days federal land managers will be offering at parks, forests, U.S. Bureau of Land management lands, refuges and some other public lands where fees are charged.
Washington State Parks also sets dates for fee-free entry scattered through the year.
The first freebie date of 2014 involves Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Federal lands will offer free entry on Jan. 20.
Washington State Parks will waive the Discover Pass requirement on Jan. 19-20. However, Washington Sno-Park permits will still be required at Mount Spokane State Park
The next free-entry dates for federal lands involve Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 15-17 at national parks, wildlife refuges and forests.
March 19 is the next fee-free day for state parks, honoring the “birthday” of the Washington State Parks System.
Avalanche scholarship honors Abromeit
WINTER SPORTS – Friends of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center are sponsoring an avalanche education scholarship in memory of Doug Abromeit, a Sandpoint native who was instrumental in starting the National Avalanche Center. Abromeit died last fall.
“We will send one student a year to a Level 1 avalanche class,” said Kevin Davis of the IPAC based in Sandpoint. “Doug was born and raised in Sandpoint and his family still resides here. Doug retired from the Forest Service in 2011, last stationed in Ketchum.”
The scholarship will be introduced at a public program on Friday, 4:30 p.m., at the Caribou Room in the Day Lodge at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Several presenters will highlight Abromeit’s contributions to avalanche education, the history of avalanche control in the USA and development of the national and Idaho Panhandle avalanche centers.
Trophy lake trout targeted at Flathead
FISHING – Despite some public opposition, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Thursday to eliminate the lake trout “slot limit” on the southern half of Flathead Lake, a change that has been sought by the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes as part of an ongoing effort to suppress the lake trout population for the benefit of threatened bull trout.
After March 1, anglers will be allowed to keep lake trout more than 30 inches long on the southern half of the lake where the tribes have management authority.
The slot limit, in place since 1992, prohibited anglers from keeping lake trout between 30 and 36 inches long with the intent of protecting the lake’s trophy fishery. A lake trout must live 20-25 years to reach 30 inches in the lake, biologists said.
Fishing guides say the rule change could make the lake less desirable for angling clients.
PUBLIC LANDS – Organizers of recreation events to be held on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests must apply for summer permits by Jan. 31 under a new schedule that starts this year, officials say. Info: (208) 765-7223.