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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Field reports: Lawsuit filed to challenge spring bear hunt

In this Oct. 3, 2019 photo, a female black bear sleeps with its tongue out high up in a ponderosa pine tree near Clark Fork School in the Rattlesnake neighborhood of Missoula.  (Tommy Martino)

Two Washington residents filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Court last week to challenge the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Dec. 18 decision to authorize a largely recreational bear hunt this spring.

Anacortes resident Martha Hall and Seattle resident Sharon Stroble filed the legal action alleging that the department failed to properly notify the public that it was considering approval of the spring bear hunt.

The department had released a public notice that characterized the rule amendment authorizing the hunt as merely an “editorial” change to an existing rule, WAC 220-415-080, which only provided for a spring bear hunt during 2020.

“Washington’s spring bear hunt is cruel and completely unnecessary, and I’m confident most Washingtonians would oppose it if they knew about it,” said Stroble, a retired professor of outdoor education at Seattle Pacific University.

“We understand that the department has the authority to authorize a spring bear hunt, but it also has a legal obligation to give Washington citizens the opportunity to speak up and have their voices heard about this abhorrent practice.”

Washington is one of eight states that still allows bear hunting during the spring, as most states have banned the practice.

Spokane Audubon sets on-line meeting

“Much Ado About Mothing” is the title of the Spokane Audubon Society’s Jan. 13 online meeting program, presented by retired college professor Carl Barrentine and gardening author and Spokesman-Review columnist Susan Mulvihill.

Barrentine and Mulvihill will share their enthusiasm for moths, or what they call the “dark side” of lepidoptery.

Barrentine, who taught biology at California State University-Bakersfield and humanities at University of North Dakota-Grand Forks, will talk about how his lifelong passion for birds was eclipsed 10 years ago by an obsession with moths, finding and photographing moths, and his recent “Moths vs. Birds Big Year” competition with another local birder.

Mulvihill will share how and why she got into garden “mothing.”

She will also show her efforts to find and photograph moths in her Spokane backyard.

Details on joining the Jan. 13 Zoom meeting starting at 7 p.m. are in the chapter’s January “Pygmy Owl” newsletter at

Glacier announces free entrance fee days

Glacier National Park will waive its entrance fee on six days during the year.

The fee-free days are intended to increase access, promote recreational opportunities, improve visitor facilities and conserve natural and historical treasures in national parks for the benefit and enjoyment of Americans.

The entrance fee-free days will be:

  • Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 17: First Day of National Park Week
  • Aug. 4: Great American Outdoors Act anniversary
  • Aug. 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • Sept. 25: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day

The park normally charges $35 per vehicle.

The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.

Scientists use drone to collect habitat data

Scientists with WDFW will fly a drone over sections of the Hoffstadt Unit of the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area in Cowlitz County to gather data on habitat conditions.

Drone flights will take place exclusively on public land for up to three days between now and February, depending on weather and visibility.

“By using a drone, we can gather important data from areas that are difficult to access by foot,” said George Fornes, WDFW biologist. “For this aerial survey, we are focusing on the area around the mouths and lower sections of Alder and Deer creeks.”

A team of scientists and engineers from WDFW and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to design a new fish release site in this vicinity as part of USACE’s Long-Term Sediment Management Plan.

The team will benefit from up-to-date aerial imagery to inform the planning process.

Located along the North Fork Toutle River, the Hoffstadt Unit is managed by WDFW as part of the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area.