Here’s a sampling of the many public wildlife attractions in the Inland Northwest.
1. BIGHORN SHEEP
Where: Winter feeding station, Noisy Creek Campground, south end of Sullivan Lake.
Season: Mid-December through mid-February
Contact: Sullivan Lake Ranger District, 446-7500.
Other options: Snake River between Asotin, Wash., and Grande Ronde River; Yakima River Canyon’s Manastash Ridge; National Bison Range at Moiese, Mont.
2. HATCHERY TROUT SPAWNING
Where: Outdoor pool at Spokane Fish Hatchery, 2927 W. Waikiki Rd.
Contact: Book guided tours, Mondays and Tuesday through Bob and Dora Bates, Washington Senior Environmental Corps, 328-7327.
Other options: Chinook salmon at Tucannon Hatchery near Pomeroy.
3. TUNDRA SWANS
Where: Calispell Lake, west of Usk, Wash., from Westside Calispell Road.
Season: November and March
Contact: None (Private land, viewing from road only)
Other options: Reardan Slough, just north of Reardan off State Highway 231.
4. MOUNTAIN GOATS
Where: Flume Creek viewing site, two miles west of Metaline, Wash., on road to Crawford State Park.
Season: March through June
Contact: Sullivan Lake Ranger Station, (509) 446-7500.
Other options: Snow Peak in Panhandle National Forest’s Avery Ranger District.
5. GREAT BLUE HERONS
Where: Little Spokane River Natural Area, from trail between Indian Painted Rocks and Highway 291.
Season: March through October
Contact: Riverside State Park, 456-3964.
Other options: Lower Coeur d’Alene River chain lakes between Rose Lake and Harrison.
6. BALD EAGLES
Where: Long Lake Dam picnic area at bridge across Spokane River on State Highway 231.
Season: December through February
Contact: Washington Water Power, 482-8636
Other options: Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Wolf Lodge Bay; Pend Oreille River north of Newport; Granite Creek on Lake Pen Oreille.
7. BIG GAME
Where: National Bison Range at Moeise, Mont., holds pronghorns, deer, elk, bighorn sheep and bison.
Season: Year-round, although road access limited in winter.
Contact: National Bison Range, (406) 644-2211.
Other options: Oak Creek Wildlife Area winter feeding stations off Highway 12 about 20 miles west of Yakima.
VIEWING TIPS AND ETHICS
* Bring binoculars for close observations from a distance that won’t disturb the wildlife.
* Except in winter, game animals tend to be most active early and late in the day.
* Be mindful of seasons. For example, ospreys are plentiful in North Idaho during summer, but most leave during winter.
* Move slowly and quietly.
* Use field guides.
* Be patient. Natural areas aren’t zoos. Look for tracks and other signs of wildlife when the creatures aren’t there.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 5 Color photos Map showing wildlife viewing areas, keyed to text
MEMO: See related story under headline: Keeping an eye out for Wildlife
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