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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Field reports: DNR commissioner to unveil forest health bill

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) will join experts and advocacy leaders from across the state Tuesday for a virtual event to unveil a bill that would create a dedicated funding source for wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience strategies.

The funding would rapidly expand Washington’s wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience.

The bill comes on the heels of a historically destructive 2020 fire season in Washington, during which over 800,000 acres burned in more than 1,600 fires and 298 homes were destroyed, including the near total destruction of the town of Malden.

DNR fire resources and local fire departments were spread thin, with limited availability for out-of-state assistance due to out-of-control fires in neighboring states.

‘Wild and Scenic’ film festival available virtually on Jan. 30

To celebrate its 16th anniversary , Friends of Scotchman Peaks will be hosting the virtual Wild and Scenic Film Festival – one of the largest outdoor recreation film fests in the country – on Jan. 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

It will be showing nine films about connecting with wild public lands in the West.

Participants have the chance to win outdoor gear, speak with local filmmakers – including Erik Daarstad during the Q&A session – and celebrate the wild backyard with friends – all from the comfort of home.

A ticket also gets participants access to a recording of the live show. Purchase tickets online at bit.ly/3bpnCue.

Scotchman Peak’s winter wonderland still possible

Hiking in winter is a fun, rewarding experience in its own right. And it’s even better getting back home to warm food and a hot drink.

For those who live near the Scotchman Peaks region, there’s no shortage of amazing places to explore.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness has launched its winter hiking season. There are already plenty of great outings to add to the schedule.

The scheduled hikes provide a chance to explore wild backyards on snowshoe with fellow nature lovers. FSPW volunteers will lead snowshoe hikes around Spar Lake, up Star Peak and in the Ross Creek Cedars.

Check out scotchmanpeaks.org/hikes-events-schedule/ to keep an eye on upcoming hikes as they add dates. Count on hikes being fun, socially distanced and safe for everyone.

As always, remember to dress warmly with good snow boots when hitting trails in wintertime. Visit scotchmanpeaks.org for more information on all its upcoming winter events and exploring the Scotchmans.

Virtual public meeting set for Idaho Scattered Lands Project

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests is inviting comments on a proposed fuels reduction project in Bonner County on the Sandpoint Ranger District.

The project area is south of the Pend Oreille River, and west of Lake Pend Oreille, immediately adjacent to the Washington state line.

With a mix of national forest system, state and private lands, the project focuses on reducing hazardous fuel loading that increases the risk for high-severity wildfires, especially adjacent to state and private lands.

The Scattered Lands Project is approximately 6,700 acres of proposed treatments.

The project would be completed using the Healthy Forest Restoration Act; one of the purposes of the act is to “reduce wildfire risk to communities, municipal water supplies and other at-risk federal land through a collaborative process of planning, prioritizing and implementing hazardous fuel reduction projects.”

The entire Scattered Lands Project area is within designated Bonner County wildland urban interface.

In addition to being fully within county designated wildland urban interface, there are several communities at risk. Idaho communities within the project area include: Oldtown, Blanchard, Edgemere, Westmond and Granite. There are four Idaho communities at risk immediately adjacent to the project area. Those are Spirit Lake, Careywood, Cocollala and Sagle.

More information on the Scattered Lands Project is posted on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website: fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58631.

Lawsuit launched to protect 11 species on federal waiting list

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice last week of its intent to sue outgoing Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for delaying protection for 11 species that have been identified as warranting endangered status but placed on a candidate list instead.

The species that have been kept waiting for protection are the monarch butterfly, eastern gopher tortoise, Peñasco least chipmunk, longfin smelt, Colorado Delta clam, three Texas mussels, magnificent ramshorn snail, bracted twistflower and northern spotted owl.

Just 25 species have been listed as threatened or endangered in the past four years, leaving hundreds of at-risk species without needed protection.

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