December 9, 2013
DNR’s Webster Forest seedlings are sprayed with water round-the-clock during deep freezes to create a light coatings of protective ice. Photo: DNR.
We wouldn’t advise homeowners to water their gardens during deep freezes, like the recent one hitting much of the Northwest (and the nation), but when you have millions of tree seedlings under your care, creating a few light layers of protective ice is just the practical — and effective — way to save this investment. Since early October, employees at DNR’s 44-acre Webster Forest Nursery have working around the clock during cold periods pumping thousands of gallons of water to protect the young trees (see photo). Many times during the past two months, DNR crews have worked in shifts around the clock tending to sprinkler systems and water lines to keep them from freezing, too. While this produces some eye-catching scenes, it also is a tremendous human effort.
Here’s how it works: By gently showering the tender seedlings with a mist of water and continuously reapplying, several layers of light ice are built up to protect seedlings from the hard freeze, which is unusual in the moderate western Washington climate of Tumwater.
Why so many seedlings? During winter and spring, DNR sends crews out to replant state trust lands where timber has been harvested to earn revenue for public schools and other trust beneficiaries. There are 2.1 million acres of state trust forests statewide, managed sustainably. It takes millions of seedlings to do this big job each year, with several species custom grown for the numerous growing zones across the state. The seedlings are also made available to small forest landowners to help them meet replanting requirements in the state’s Forest Practices Act.
Just part of the job at DNR.
December 6, 2013
With record low temperatures in many parts of Washington State, local fire departments are warning of the dangers of thin ice on ponds, lakes, streams and other waterways. The same goes for the millions of acres of state trust lands that DNR manages on both sides of the Cascades.
Just because an ice-covered pond or small lake is frozen doesn’t mean it’s safe for walking, skiing, skating, snowmobiling, etc. Same goes for pets. Ice should be at least 2 inches or more thick before it can be considered safe to walk on but ice seldom freezes evenly — it could be several inches thick in one spot and less than an inch thick nearby. Falling through ice into frigid water can easily be fatal within a few minutes.
Here are some tips from people who know their ice: our friends at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Planning on some ice fishing? Here are some ice fishing safety tips from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Or you can check out this video about ice rescues from an unidentified fire department.
December 3, 2013
The DNR-managed Snoqualmie Bog Natural Area Preserve protects a sphagnum moss bog and freshwater wetland system that is now extremely rare in the Puget Sound basin. This site is not ADA accessible and has no public facilities. Photo: Joe Rocchio/DNR.
DNR maps of trust lands, and information about firewood-cutting and finding Christmas trees seemed foremost on the minds of visitors to Ear to the Ground last month. Here are the most popular postings on our blog during November:
No need to burn outdoors; there are better options: Outdoor burning is a leading cause of wildfires. Fortunately there are easy and practical alternatives to burning woody debris, such as chipping and composting.
Top 5 reasons to download the new Capitol State Forest map onto your smartphone: The 2013 Capitol State Forest map has been developed to easily download for free to your smartphone or tablet.
No, we don’t have any Christmas trees for you to cut (but we know where to find them): The many lovely trees in the state trust forests that DNR manages are intended to provide revenue to public schools and other state trust land beneficiaries. Fortunately, there are private growers and federal lands where you can legally cut your own Christmas tree for a small fee.
Cutting firewood on DNR-managed state trust lands: We allow firewood cutting when a trust land timber harvest area has enough leftover down wood or slash to make it worthwhile for you. See our woodcutting permit web page or check with the U.S. Forest Service district office nearest you.
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December 2, 2013
Updated maps popular with hunters, backcountry hikers and others who use public lands for recreation are available now to order online (just in time for Cyber Monday when retailers are expecting some 131 million people in the U.S. to shop online for holiday gifts).
Each of our Public Lands Quadrangle maps covers about 1,600 square miles and details boundaries, trails, water features, access points and other information you’ll want to know when seeking out public lands in Washington State. Our maps are full-color and available only on paper (sorry, no downloadable versions at this time).
The three maps most recently updated cover quadrants near Snoqualmie Pass (including portions of King, Pierce, Kittitas and Yakima counties) and in Chelan, Klickitat, and Skamania counties. An additional map update published earlier this year covers the popular Banks Lake area in central Washington.
More information about the maps
How to order a map online or purchase in person
December 1, 2013
Thanks to the many volunteers who donated their time, sweat, and muscle to trail maintenance and other projects, many hiking trails and other recreation opportunities remain open on DNR-managed state trust lands like Capitol State Forest near Olympia. Photo: DNR.
Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:
: A Vault for Carbon Dioxide
What if there was an easy way to take the carbon dioxide from coal power smokestacks and turn it back into a rock that would sit quietly, deep below the earth’s surface?
University of British Columbia: Google Earth reveals untold fish catches
Large fish traps in the Persian Gulf could be catching up to six times more fish than what’s being officially reported, according to the first investigation of fish catches from space.as satellite imagery, to validate catch statistics and fisheries operations in general.
US Forest Service: Lowering Stand Density Reduces Mortality of Ponderosa Pine Stands
As trees grow larger in even-aged stands, competition develops among them. Competition weakens trees, as they contend for soil moisture, nutrients, and sunlight. Competition also increases trees’ risk to bark beetles and diseases, and subsequently leads to a buildup of dead fuels. A recent study considered if the onset of this risk could be determined.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: The lingering clouds
Scientist know that pollution causes thunderstorms to leave behind larger, deeper, longer lasting clouds and now researcher have found why: pollution makes clouds linger by decreasing the size but increasing the lifespan of cloud and ice particles. The difference affects how scientists represent clouds in climate models.
November 29, 2013
Thanksgiving or not, this wild turkey is taking it’s time going down the road under the close supervision of a DNR Law Enforcement Officer. Photo: DNR.
DNR offices and work centers are closed over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, but many of our recreation sites and natural areas are open as usual.
We’re between recreation seasons here in Washington. Make sure to check if your recreation destination is open before you go. See a list of the open and closed sites the DNR recreation website.
Please report any illegal activity you see on DNR-managed state trust lands to DNR’s Forest Watch program at 1-855-883-8368 or email@example.com. Or call 911.
November 28, 2013
Year-round, volunteers help keep DNR-managed rec sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo by: DNR/Rick Foster
Each year, volunteers of all ages put in hundreds of thousands of hours helping DNR.
Their dedicated efforts and skills help us maintain and improve recreational sites, trails, natural areas, and other outdoor volunteer opportunities on the state trust lands we manage.
Some volunteers devote time every month; others pitch in a few hours here and there.
At DNR, we’re thankful to all of those who:
- Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom from overtaking trails and natural areas.
- Volunteered for the Forest Watch Program.
- Provided information and nature interpretation to school children and other forest visitors.
- Trekked out in the field to collect data or monitor plant species — providing valuable information to staff scientists.
- Helped us maintain and build recreational trails.
- Organized volunteer work parties.
- Provided clerical assistance.
- Helped DNR keep campgrounds open to the public by becoming a volunteer camp host.
Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR
…and the many other activities that relied on volunteer efforts in the past year.
To all of you, our sincere thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving.
The gift that gives back
Did you know that volunteers can earn vouchers toward a complimentary Discover Pass for their service?
By putting in 24 hours of time working on eligible projects on recreation lands managed by DNR, Washington State Parks, or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Get details.
Check out our Volunteer Calendar to learn about opportunities for you to get involved.
November 27, 2013
Don’t burn outdoors if it’s windy and always check with your local fire district or the Dept. of Ecology to see if there is a burn ban in your area.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency announced today that it is maintaining a STAGE 2 Burn Ban for Pierce County, downgrading the Burn Ban status of Snohomish County to STAGE 1, and ending the Burn Ban for King County. Find more information on the Agency’s website, pscleanair.org.
See a list of all clean air agencies in Washington and find the latest burn ban information for your area.
November 27, 2013
Challenge your skills this Thanksgiving holiday on new trails at Reiter Foothills Forest.
Photo by: DNR/David Way
A special “Thank you!” to volunteers from the off-road vehicle (ORV) community who have been staffing the gate to motorized trails at Reiter Foothills Forest this season.
Thanks to them, DNR has been able to keep the trails open much later in the season than we expected.
These same volunteers have gone above and beyond to make motorized recreation opportunities possible this holiday.
Thanksgiving Holiday Rides
Volunteers will keep gates open at Reiter Foothills Forest from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Head up to Reiter and celebrate with friends or family this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (November 28 through December 1).
Remember – your Discover Pass is required to access the trails by vehicle. Find out if you need one for your ORV here.
Reiter Foothills Forest
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited Reiter, there are a lot of new trails to ride. Whether you’re a dirt biker, an ATV rider, or a 4×4 rock crawler, you can find something to enjoy.
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