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Sunday, August 9, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Field reports: Glacier decides to not implement ticketed entry

The Loop, a hairpin turn on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, is a popular place for a lunch break for cyclists.  (John Nelson/courtesy)
The Loop, a hairpin turn on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, is a popular place for a lunch break for cyclists. (John Nelson/courtesy)

After careful consideration and discussion, and with input from park staff, local businesses and parks already implementing similar systems, Glacier National Park officials have decided not to implement the proposed temporary ticketed vehicle entry.

On June 27, park officials learned that access across the Blackfeet Reservation would remain closed for the summer due to COVID-19. Staff immediately began to explore implementing a ticketed entry system similar to what Yosemite National Park implemented this year. Since the park opened on June 8, Glacier has seen high levels of congestion on the west side of the park due to other areas being closed, fewer recreational opportunities and limited services.

Over the past three weeks Superintendent Jeff Mow has engaged with over 100 businesses around the park to hear their questions and comments about implementing a ticketed entry system. Mow also met with park officials at other parks that have implemented reservation-type services and discussed at length their experiences. After considering input from many sources and the uncertainty of upcoming conditions, park officials decided that the timing isn’t right to implement a ticketed entry system this summer.

“We heard support for a reservation system from community constituents because they know the park is at maximum capacity,” Mow said. “But there were serious concerns about implementing such a system with such short notice and midway through the visitor season.”

Visitors are reminded that the park is busy and can be congested throughout the summer months. The park may still have to implement visitor use restrictions to protect public health and safety and to provide for social distancing opportunities. Visitors are encouraged to check the online Recreation Access Display (RAD), the park’s webcams (both available at nps.gov/glac), and the park’s Twitter account for current conditions.

Man climbing dies after fall at Glacier Park

A climbing accident resulted in a fatality when a 20-year-old male fell from a ridge known as the Dragon’s Tail in Glacier National Park Tuesday night.

The Dragon’s Tail is a steep, off-trail climbing route southwest of Mount Reynolds near Logan Pass. The climber fell several hundred feet toward Hidden Lake around 7:30 p.m.

Search and rescue efforts began immediately after Glacier National Park dispatchers received the report of his fall. Two Bear Air located the man, determined he was dead and recovered the body.

State parks open accommodations across state

Cabins, yurts and other roofed accommodations in more than 30 state parks are open and available to reserve.

These facilities are located in diverse state park landscapes across Washington – from the coast to Hood Canal, Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Cascades forests, Columbia Gorge, Okanogan Valley, shrub-steppe Ice Age flood lands and the Spokane area.

Accommodations will be cleaned and sanitized to COVID-19 standards between uses. To give staff adequate time for these safety procedures, check-in time is 4 p.m. instead of 2:30 p.m. Check-out time is still 11 a.m.

Reservations are available at washington.goingtocamp.com.

Agencies begin final round of translocating mountain goats

Starting Monday, a coalition of state and federal agencies, with support from local tribes, will begin the fourth and final two-week round of translocating mountain goats from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the northern Cascade Mountains to meet wildlife management goals in all three areas. Since September 2018, 275 mountain goats have been translocated.

This effort is a partnership between the National Park Service, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA Forest Service to re-establish and assist in connecting depleted populations of mountain goats in the Washington Cascades while also removing non-native goats from the Olympic Mountains. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.

WDFW plans to release the mountain goats at 12 sites in the North Cascades national forests this round. Nine sites are in the Darrington, Preacher Mountain, Mt. Loop Highway and Snoqualmie Pass areas of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Three release sites are in the Chikamin Ridge, Box Canyon and Tower Mountain areas of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Critical habitat designated for threatened Idaho plant

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday designated critical habitat for slickspot peppergrass, a rare and threatened plant found only in southwestern Idaho.

The decision proposes approximately 42,129 acres of protected habitat in Ada, Elmore, Gem, Payette and Owyhee counties in Idaho.

The designation is roughly 20,000 acres less than the acreage proposed in 2014.

Slickspot peppergrass is a flowering sagebrush-steppe plant threatened by agriculture, mining, urban sprawl, livestock grazing and invasive species. It lives largely on the Snake River Plain, Owyhee Plateau and adjacent foothills in southwestern Idaho.

Only roughly 90 occurrences remain. Most are in degraded and low-quality habitat with few plants. The slickspot peppergrass suffers the highest known elimination rate of any Idaho plant species.

New process for surplus licenses in Montana

Hunters interested in purchasing licenses or permits left over from the special license and permit drawing will find a different process this year.

The old process was vulnerable to long lag times, confusion and a perception of inequity for those unable to use the first-come, first-served online option starting at 5 a.m.

New this year, hunters need to sign up for licenses and permits through MyFWP on the FWP website.

The resulting Surplus License List will be randomized with hunters at the top of the list contacted via email with instructions to finalize their purchase within a specified time.

This new process requires hunters to keep their email address current in their ALS record. Payment of the license fee is not required to sign up on the Surplus License List. Obtaining a license from this list has no effect on your existing preference points.

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