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UI summer science camps let nature be teacher

NATURE — The University of Idaho is offering summer science camps that allow youths grades 6 through 11 to go outdoors for hands-on discovery.

Enrollment is open for students interested in spending a week The McCall Outdoor Science School on the shores of Payette Lake learning from University of Idaho graduate students, exploring the mountains, lakes and rivers of central Idaho and releasing their inner scientist.

  • River Science Boys’ Expedition: June 22-27, Grades 6-9, $387.50
  • W.O.W.S. (Women Outdoor with Science): July 6-11, Grades 6-11, $387.50

These are five-day field science expeditions where students explore the rugged Idaho mountains, go whitewater rafting and learn what university climate, water and alternative energy researchers are studying.

  • Beyond MOSS: July 13-18, Grades 6-9, $297.50

This five-day program goes beyond the school year MOSS program for those who have been to MOSS or who will be coming soon.

  • Adventure Day Camp: June 17-August 1; Grades 3-5 and 6-9, Cost varies

This day camp focuses on learning, playing and enjoying nature while letting imagination drive discovery.

The McCall Outdoor Science School is an outreach of the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources. The residential science school engages Idaho students in year-round learning through our school partnerships. The college also hosts an on-site graduate program for university students who serve as teachers while working towards their graduate degrees.

Blood moon compliments colors of Bryce Canyon

SKYWATCHING — In case the clouds —  or the need for sleep — obstructed your view of last night's lunar eclipse, here's the scene as seen in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers rendezvous in Spokane

HUNTING/FISHING — Local members of the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers are inviting interested sportsmen to tip a cold one with them starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, at the Post Street Ale House, 1 N. Post St.

“This is an informal gathering and a great chance to drink some beers, meet other passionate outdoorsmen, share ideas about BHA and the world of hunting, fishing and conservation,” the group says in a release.

Among other things, local members are laying the ground work for the 2015 Backcountry Hunters & Anglers National Rendezvous, which will be held in Spokane in February or March of 2015.

Group leaders attending the Wednesday gathering include Land Tawney, BHA executive director, Josh Kuntz, chapter  and events coordinator and Caitlin Twohig, executive assistant.

Video: Pre-runoff streamer fishing tips for St. Joe River

FISHING - Put on an extra layer of fleece and get ready to fly fish the pre-runoff period on area rivers — as well as the post-runoff period before prime flows return.

How do you fish these “shoulder” seasons?

FISHING — Sean Visintainer of Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane Valley has produced a series of informational fly fishing videos that take the mystery out of rigging up and presenting flies to trout in the pre-runoff shoulder season.

In the video above, Visintainer zeroes in on taking cutthroats by chucking streamers into “soft” water along the high flows of the St. Joe River.

Access to Little Salmon River hinges on angler respect

FISHING — A popular stretch of the Little Salmon River at Riggins, Idaho, will be accessible for the spring salmon season thanks to an agreement forged by Fish and Game staff and the local landowner. 

The only “catch” is, salmon anglers have to be on their best behavior, Idaho Fish and Game Department officials say.

In other words, anglers who have the attitude that they have a right to go get to the river regardless of who owns the property could ruin the deal for everyone.

All property on both sides of the Little Salmon from its confluence with Rapid River downstream to milepost 193 is now privately owned, but the 18-month lease targeting the west bank of this river reach will give anglers access to many coveted salmon fishing holes.

“The Department of Fish and Game is obviously pleased with the agreement we’ve reached with the landowner that continues to allow salmon and steelhead fishing access to the Little Salmon River across his private property,” said Virgil Moore, agency director. “The continued use of this segment of the river relies on all of us honoring the access rules outlined in the agreement and respecting private property.”

The local landowner was equally pleased. “We are delighted to have worked with Fish and Game staff to develop this agreement,” property owner Ralph Sletager said. “The agreement provides great fishing access for the public and addresses our concerns as property owners.”

A Little Salmon River access map and rules brochure will soon be available on the Fish and Game website, and also at the Lewiston, McCall and Nampa Fish and Game offices.

Read on for details:

Angling closure lifted on portion of Lake Rufus Woods

FISHING — There's more room for anglers to roam on Lake Rufus Woods starting today, according to the following release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. An area downstream of Grand Coulee Dam closed after the 9/11 attacks has been reopened.

Action:   Open the closed waters section on Rufus Woods Lake to recreational fishing. 

Effective Date: April 15, 2014 until further notice.

Species affected:   All species   

Location:   From Grand Coulee Dam downstream to the State Route 155 Bridge.  

Reason for action:   Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, this section of Rufus Woods Lake was closed to public access and recreational fishing for security purposes. Public access has recently been restored, and recreational fishing will now be permitted. This same change in fishing rules was also adopted by the Colville Confederated Tribe’s Fish and Wildlife Department.        

Other information:   Fishing rules and license requirements in effect downstream of the SR 155 Bridge apply to the newly opened section. Consult the current Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet for fishing rules and license requirements in effect on Rufus Woods Lake.  

Northeastern Washington fishing lakes to get more trout

FISHING — More fish will be stocked in northeastern Washington lakes this spring, a benefit of the relicensing agreement for Boundary Dam.

A new, long-term recreational fishing program that will increase fish numbers stocked in Pend Oreille and Stevens counties lakes kicks off  this month, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said. 

The program, funded by Seattle City Light as part of its new operating license for Boundary Dam, will stock approximately 12,000 pounds of trout and kokanee in local lakes annually for the next 40 years.

“This enhanced fish stocking program will provide the additional springtime opportunity that northeast Washington anglers have been asking for,” said Bill Baker, WDFW fish biologist of Colville. 

The program continues and expands stocking of rainbow trout, tiger trout, cutthroat trout, and kokanee in 17 lakes. Most fish will be stocked as spring and fall fry and fingerlings, but catchable-size fish  (10-12 inches) will also be stocked.

The 2014 stocking list includes:

  • 11 lakes in Pend Oreille County — Big Meadow, Carls, Crescent, Deception, Frater, Lead King, Ledbetter, Leo, Little Lost, Nile, and Yocum;
  • Six lakes in Stevens County — Cedar, Deep, Gillette, Heritage, Sherry and Thomas.

This new program also includes monitoring to help fine tune the effort. Anglers who see staff or creel counters on the lake or dockside are encouraged to tell them about catches so the program can be evaluated.

Video: What it’s like to walk into a rattlesnake den

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Spring and fall are the best times to find rattlesnakes congregated by a den, if you happen to stumble upon one.

Montana resident Michael Delaney took this video — clearly he was wearing leather boots and chaps — and offered this insight:

The den is only about 1/2 mile from our house, and we just came across it one time. The best times to find them at the den are in the spring when they're coming out and in the fall when they're going back in. During other times of the year you usually won't see anything there. Then den is right next to a tall creek bank, I think they use the cracks and holes from erosion as their den. 

IF YOU'RE SQUEAMISH about snakes, do yourself a favor and don't watch this video.

I post this to illustrate what you could walk into in portions of Eastern Washington and Idaho… and why you would want to back out immediately.

Trucks ready to haul salmon around Wanapum Dam

FISHING – As construction workers race against the biological clocks of salmon to make fish ladders at Wanapum Dam operational, state fishery managers say they are standing ready with an alternate plan to truck spring chinook up the Columbia River.

Shortly after discovering a 65-foot-long fracture in a spillway pier Feb. 27, dam operators lowered the water level behind the 185-foot structure by a record 26 feet, leaving the fish ladders high and dry.

Sometime this week, the first of an estimated 20,000 spring chinook salmon are expected to arrive in the area near Vantage on their upriver run to spawn. Nearly 4,000 of those fish are wild, naturally spawning fish, and the entire run is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Grant County Public Utility District, which owns the dam, has been scrambling to modify the fish ladders to make them operational by April 15, but also worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to develop a backup plan. Fish ladders at Rock Island Dam also are affected. Work to modify the ladders is estimated at $7 million.

“The stakes are very high, especially given the number of wild spring chinook involved,” said Jim Brown, regional WDFW director for northcentral Washington. “Grant County PUD is doing a great job, but all of us have a role to play in getting those fish upriver to spawn.”

Under the current plan, WDFW will intercept salmon at Priest Rapids Dam and truck most of them around Wanapum Dam, 19 miles upriver. Working in rotation, experienced drivers will haul the salmon in eight tanker trucks, each capable of moving up to 1,500 fish a day.

At the same time, a smaller number of hatchery-reared fish – identifiable by a clipped adipose fin – will be fitted with coded and radio tags and released from the Priest Rapids facility to negotiate the newly configured fish ladders at Wanapum Dam.

“The tags will allow us to track those salmon, and determine whether they are able to get over the dam on the reconfigured fish ladders,” Brown said. “That will tell us when it’s safe to suspend the trucking operation, and allow the fish to move past Wanapum on their own.”

That plan was unanimously approved by the Priest Rapids Coordinating Committee, a multi-jurisdictional organization established in 2004 to oversee hydroelectric projects in the mid-Columbia region.

Chelan PUD is also extending the fish ladders at Rock Island Dam, 38 miles upriver, to accommodate the drawdown in the Wanapum Pool. That work is also scheduled for completion today.

Brown said fishery managers are counting on the success of those measures to move fish upstream, because the trucking option will become less and less viable as larger runs of migrating salmon move into the area.

Starting in June, salmon managers are anticipating a run of up to 80,000 summer chinook, followed by 400,000 sockeye salmon and 300,000 fall chinook salmon.

“We can handle the spring chinook run with tanker trucks if that becomes necessary,” Brown said. “But there simply aren’t enough trucks, trained personnel, or hours in the day to move the number of salmon we’re expecting later in the year.”

Spring gobbler seasons open in region

HUNTING — It's 5:49 a.m.: Washington's spring gobbler general hunting season just opened.

I hear turkeys talking out here in the woods, but I don't see them.

Patience.

Lunar eclipse good excuse to sleep out tonight

CAMPING — The “Blood Moon” will treat sky watchers who can stay up past 11 p.m. tonight.  The weather forecast indicates the viewing of the lunar eclipse will be good.

And if you have a warm sleeping bad, it might be a good night to doze off under the stars.

  • The bloody red color the moon takes on during an eclipse is caused by refraction of sunlight by the Earth's atmosphere.

Tonight will be the first in the rare sequence of four total lunar eclipses expected in the next two years.

See details of the eclipses, and their role in Christian lore, in this story by USA Today.

Biologist to speak on Idaho bull trout

COEUR d’ALENE SPORTSMEN’S BREAKFAST
Tuesday, April 15 at 6: 30 a.m.

Breakfast.. $7.50 includes tax and gratuity
Lake City Senior Center, 1916 N. Lakewood Dr., Coeur d’Alene

Tom Whalen, Senior Conservation Officer will give a presentation on the bull trout education and enforcement program. 

Stop in for breakfast, have a cup of coffee, and visit with IDFG staff and sportsmen like yourself.

Questions?  Nancy at Idaho Fish and Game, (208) 769-1414

Lake Roosevelt drawdown forecast bad news for fishery

FISHING/BOATING — There have been worse years for spring drawdowns at Lake Roosevelt in the past decade, but as my recent story explains, anglers can expect a high percentage of the trout and kokanee to be flushed through Grande Coulee Dam when the drawdown goes below 1,240 feet.

The level of Lake Roosevelt is about 1246 today and dropping at the rate of about a foot a day as Grand Coulee Dam is being operated to meet flood control elevations.

The forecast for the level at the end of April is 1,235 feet.  This could be revised.

It's important at this point to compare the lake level with the levels at which boat ramps are dewatered.  Spring Canyon near Grand Coulee and Seven Bays downstream on the Columbia from the Spokane Arm are the deepest launches on the 125-mile long reservoir.

Get daily Lake Roosevelt level forecast by phone, updated daily at 3 p.m: (800) 824-4916.

Check out this post with a link to a NOAA site with Roosevelt levels and a list of boat launching elevations on the same page.

Washington increases elk tags, cuts deer permit fees

HUNTING —  Elk hunting permits will be increased in the Colockum and Yakima areas along with antlerless deer permits in northeastern Washington under 2014-15 hunting regulations adopted by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday and Saturday in Olympia.

The continued growth of many state deer and elk populations will support increases in the number of hunting permits issued this year, Dave Ware, Fish and Wildlife Department  game manager, said at the public meeting.

“After a five-year stretch of mild winters, surveys show that most big game populations are stable or growing,” Ware said. “That bodes well for hunting opportunities this year.”

The commission approved additional permits in three key areas:

  • Colockum elk herd: With the herd continuing to exceed population objectives, WDFW will increase the number special permits, primarily for antlerless elk, to 1,016 from 374.
  • Yakima elk herd: The commission approved 130 additional permits for antlered elk and 1,440 for antlerless elk in response to the herd's continuing growth in central Washington.
  • Northeast white-tailed deer: Buck harvest levels have increased as the herd starts to rebound from harsh winters of 2007-08. WDFW will make 120 additional antlerless special permits available this year to youth, senior, and disabled hunters.

The only significant reduction made in special permits this year is in the Mount St. Helens area, where the elk herd has reached WDFW's management objective after six years of elevated permit levels.

That strategy, designed to bring the herd into balance with available habitat, has reduced the herd by 25 to 30 percent. At WDFW's request, the commission approved a reduction of 400 permits this year.

Fee reductions for some special permits and tags, which were raised in 2009, were approved by the commission. Ware said WDFW proposed those reductions to encourage participation in certain hunts and address concerns raised about the cost of certain permits.

Under the new fee schedule adopted by the commission, the cost of a second-deer tag will be reduced to $43.40 from $68, while the price of a multi-season deer tag drops to $139.10 from $182.

The cost will also be reduced for second-deer “damage tags” used by hunters working with property owners with damage-prevention or kill permits.

Disabled hunters will benefit from a streamlined process for issuing hunters with disabilities special-use permits. The commission also approved rules that will enable the hunters to use modified hunting equipment such as crossbows equipped with a scope.

In other business, the commission approved WDFW's proposal to acquire 640 acres near Wenatchee to provide a migratory corridor for deer, elk and other wildlife. Working in partnership with Chelan County and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, WDFW secured the property with funding provided by the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Other transactions approved by the commission will allow WDFW to:

  • Accept the transfer from the Washington State Department of Transportation of a one-acre inholding to WDFW's Oak Creek Wildlife Area near Yakima.
  • Exchange three-quarters of an acre with the City of Sumner, which will allow WDFW to construct a parking lot near a water-access site on the Puyallup River.
  • Acquire a pipeline easement to improve the water supply at the Aberdeen Hatchery in Grays Harbor County.

Minutes of the meeting and an audio transcript will be posted on the commission's website.

Deep Creek hike has potential for discovery

HIKING — My story about the visual pleasures of day hiking in April was published in the Sunday Outdoors section.  One of the hikes mentioned was Deep Creek Canyon in Riverside State Park.

As if to emphasize the timeliness of hiking that area, Crystal Gartner and members of the Upper Columbia River Group of Sierra Club were on the trail finding more to see than spring wildflowers.

If nesting bald eagles might tickle your fancy, take this hike — No. 82 in Day Hiking Eastern Washington — and be sure to hike all the way to the benches on Pine Bluff.

Hint:  Bring binoculars!

Yakima River blows out; fly fishers look elsewhere

FISHING — Bad timing on my part…. My story about fly fishing the Yakima River's skwala stonefly hatch was published on Sunday, a few days after the river blew out and became unfishable.

With the rivers still high on Sunday, even the guides from Ellensburg Angler were posting photos of being with their families at Columbia Basin Lakes, which are in prime condition for trout fishing this month.

Says Mike Canada of Ellensburg Angler:

The Yakima river is still out of shape unfortunately, we have been out scouting some other fisheries. Stefan has been out chasing carp, and bass in the basin area, while Caiden and I have been camping and chasing trout in the seep lakes area…. Enjoy this beautiful weather we are getting right now.

 

Moses Lake to host High School Bass Fishing Challenge

FISHING — The Moses Lake High School Bass Fishing Team is challenging other high school teams to a May 10 tournament on May 10 — a week before the Washington State High School championships at Lake Chelan.

Winners at the state championships qualify for regional championships and a berth to the World Championship competition.

Students must be associated with a team in order to participate.

Another high school team challenge by R.A.Long High School's team will be held at Riffe Lake in Lewis County June 14.

The Moses Lake team won the state team championship last year.

Check it out on the Washington State Bass Federation web site: ( Go to youth heading then look for the high school page).

Additional information is on the TBF/FLW National High School web site

‘That’s a wrap!’ at most ski areas

WINTERSPORTS — Bob Legasa caught a photo of this happy crowd of skiers getting in their last licks on the sunny slopes of Schweitzer Mountain Resort Sunday.  Most of the region's ski areas shut down their lifts for the season on Sunday afternoon.

The notable exception in this area is Silver Mountain, which still has skiing to offer from top to bottom. Siler has announced plans to open the lifts for “Silver Saturdays” only — April 19 and April 26, the weekend of the legendary Leadman — a triathlon done Kellogg style.

 

Angler avoids stampede on Lake Roosevelt shore

FISHING — I was minding my own business this morning fishing along the shore of Lake Roosevelt today when…

OK, it wasn't actually a stampede, but these mule deer had been trotting along the shore right next to the water (the spring drawdown is underway) for at least 400 yards as I stood still by my rod.  Apparently they didn't see me until I snapped their photo. They they ran the bank and melted into the bitterrbrush.

The deer were wet, indicating that they had been swimming.  Can't say why or how far. 

Oh, yeah… the trout fishing was good, too.

Buttercup Hike Saturday at Dishman Hills

NATURE – The 48th annual Buttercup Hike through the Dishman Hills Natural Area is set for Saturday, April 12, led by geologist and former Dishman Hills Conservancy president Michael Hamilton.

Meet at 1 p.m. at Camp Caro, 625 S. Sargent Rd., in Spokane Valley.

Pre-register at the DHC website.

Here's what the DHC says about the hike:

This long-held Dishman Hills tradition is not only a chance to look for the year's first color, but Michael will also share the history and importance of this land we are all working so hard to protect. So please join us for a fun afternoon of hiking, socializing and Buttercups!

Cyclists can help Spokane plan transportation routes

CYCLING — The City of Spokane is asking citizens, including cyclists, to share what they know about getting around town in a way that may be used for improving the area's transportation.

A new online mapping tool will help with data for an update to the transportation and utility chapter of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.

Using the mapping tool, the you can note locations, intersections, and stretches of street that are problematic and those that are working well. Directions on how to use the mapping tool are provided on the site, but essentially you navigate to a single point or draw a route and then provide comments about what’s working and what’s not.

Two versions of the mapping tool are available, one for gathering information about all modes of transportation and another with a bike and pedestrian focus

The maps work best in the Google Chrome browser since the application is based in Google Maps.

Washington sets 2014 salmon fishing seasons

FISHING — State and tribal co-managers have agreed on a package of salmon fisheries that meets conservation goals for wild salmon populations and provides fishing opportunities on healthy stocks, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department just announced.

Washington’s 2014 salmon fishing seasons were finalized Wednesday during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s  meeting in Vancouver. The regulations cover salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, Washington’s ocean and coastal areas and the Columbia River.

Recreational salmon fisheries will vary by area.

Read on for details from the WDFW:

Wilderness advocates contest fire lookout historic status

WILDERNESS — While historic preservation groups praise Congressional action to keep the Green Mountain lookout standing in the

North Cascades, wilderness groups led by Montana-based Wilderness Watch, say the effort falls short of historic preservation and flies in the face of wilderness values.

Gary Macfarlane of the Friends of the Clearwater forwarded the photo above with this message:

I saw your post about the new replica Green Mountain lookout in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Here is some background. Attached is a photo of the lookout as it was being constructed recently. It is not a historic structure.  While the original lookout was ferried across a river, packed 20 miles to the top of Green Mountain with mules, and constructed by hand, the latest incarnation was hauled in by helicopter—60-plus loads worth—and constructed using generators and power tools. 

Wilderness Watch is a national organization with headquarters in Montana. It has staff in other states and board members from around the country, including a board member in Washington. I am a board member who lives in Idaho.

Video: motorist sees elk herd from wolf’s perspective

UPDATED April 10 with background about video, which went viral after the initial posting. 

WILDLIFE — Watch this video of a massive elk herd crossing a road near Bozeman, Mont., and envision which of these critters you'd zero in on if you were a predator.

Read on for the story behind the video.

 

 

Bird thought it was flying into dust storm: Boink!

WILDLIFE WATCHING — This natural bird art is the best reason I've seen for putting off window washing.

Former S-R editor Phil Gruis posted the extraordinary photo, noting that the bird wasn't around so it apparently survived the impact.

An artist at work.

Red’s Rendezvous V lures big names for clinics

FLY FISHING — The fifth annual Red's Rendezvous is stacking up to be a major fly fishing event that's attracting anglers from far and wide for clinics, competition and participation.

And, if the offering's at the Red's Fly Shop and Canyon Ranch on the shores of the Yakima River don't impress you, the Yakima's skwala hatch is going strong.

Here's  a summary of what's going on outdoors at the Rendezvous:

  • Pacific Northwest Fly Casting Championship, with proceeds going to the Yakima Kid's Fish-in Event.
  • Dry Line and Dry Fly Steelhead Fishing with Spey Rods by Brian Silvey.
  • Switch Rod Casting Seminar by George Cook.
  • Guide Style Nymph Fishing Strategies by the Reds Fly Shop Staff.
  • Steelhead Fishing for NEWBIES by Steve Joyce.
  • European Style Nymph Fishing — on the river — by Russell Miller of Team USA Fly Fishing.  
  • Learn to Double Haul Fly Cast by the Reds Fly Shop Staff.

Plus raffles for top-flight Sage rods, Putt-Putt fly casting challenges for prizes, a Youth BB Gun Shooting Range and horseback trips.

INDOORS SESSIONS include:

  •  IF4 Fly Fishing Film Festival showing at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Fly Tying - All Day!
  • Upper Missouri:The Land of Giants!  by Mike Agee.
  • The Fly Fishing Mecca…  Sounds Like Christmas Island  by Jon Covich.
  • Ascension Bay Flats Fishing by Joe Rotter.
  • Strategies for DIY anglers Fishing for Big Trout on Eastern Washington Lakes by George Cook.
  • Support The Yakima Canyon Scenic Byway.

 

Washington to offer free entry at state parks

PUBLIC LANDS — Washington State Parks have a couple of fee-free access days coming up. 

Here's the list of 11 days in which the Discover Pass is not needed for vehicle entry in 2014:

  • Jan. 19 and 20 – Martin Luther King holiday.
  • March 19 – Washington State Parks birthday.
  • April 19 – Spring Saturday Free Day.
  • April 22 – Earth Day.
  • May 11 – Spring Sunday Free Day.
  • June 7 and 8 – National Trails Day and WDFW Free Fishing Weekend.
  • June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day.
  • Aug. 25 – In honor of National Park Service’s birthday.
  • Sept. 27 –National Public Lands Day.
  • Nov. 11 – Veterans Day holiday.

Federal land fee-free entry days also are scheduled in 2014 to parks, forests, U.S. Bureau of Land management lands, refuges and other national interest lands where fees are charged. 

Plan ahead for free entry at federal, state lands

PUBLIC LANDS — Federal land managers offer free entry to parks, forests, U.S. Bureau of Land management lands, refuges and other national interest lands where fees are charged on certain holidays scattered through the year.  

  • Washington State Parks also sets dates for fee-free entry. 

The first freebie date of the year links to National Parks Week.

Following is a list of other free-entry dates and participating federal agencies, which vary by holiday: 

  • Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 15-17 — National Park Service, National wildlife refuges, national forests. 
  • National Park Week opening weekend, April 19-20 — National Park Service.
  • National Get Outdoors Day, June 14 — national forests.
  • National Park Service Birthday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service.
  • National Public Lands Day, Sept. 27 — National Park Service, National wildlife refuges, national forests. 
  • National Wildlife Refuge Week, first day, Oct 12 — National wildlife refuges. 
  • Veterans Day, Nov. 11 — National Park Service, National wildlife refuges, national forests.

Washington State Parks also offer 11 days in which the Discover Pass is not needed for entry in 2014:

  • Jan. 19 and 20 – Martin Luther King holiday.
  • March 19 – Washington State Parks birthday.
  • April 19 – Spring Saturday Free Day.
  • April 22 – Earth Day.
  • May 11 – Spring Sunday Free Day.
  • June 7 and 8 – National Trails Day and WDFW Free Fishing Weekend.
  • June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day.
  • Aug. 25 – In honor of National Park Service’s birthday.
  • Sept. 27 –National Public Lands Day.
  • Nov. 11 – Veterans Day holiday.

Read on for details about year-round free or discounted passes for military, disabled and seniors.

Top illegal wildlife dealer in state gets slap on wrist

POACHING — Mercy. The value of wildlife seems to have gone down the tubes with a relatively light sentence in Western Washington last week.

“A Tacoma man described as 'one of the largest illegal wildlife traffickers in Washington state history' was sentenced Friday to 30 days of community service and 60 days’ home detention for selling deer, elk and sturgeon in violation of state law,” the Tacoma News-Tribune reports.

See the story, and shake your head.

Mercury warning issued for Flathead lake trout

FISHING — After years of trying to convince anglers to catch and kill more mackinaw, this…

Montana, CSKT issue warnings on mercury levels in Flathead Lake trout
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks issued consumption advisories for lake trout pulled from Flathead Lake due to mercury levels in the fish, with the advisories urging consumers not eat lake trout larger than 30 inches, and that children and women who are of child-bearing age not eat lake trout longer than 26 inches.
 —Missoulian