Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

Celebrate going back to school in nature’s classroom

September 8, 2014
ChildWoods

Take kids out to play and learn on DNR-protected land. Photo by: DNR/Jennifer Allison

As your children return to school, why not stretch their learning beyond the classroom?

DNR has many recreation opportunities in Washington’s great outdoors to connect your child with nature as their learning environment grows.

Why do kids need nature?
Lack of nature education and outdoor exposure is called Nature Deficit Disorder, coined by the writer Richard Louv in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods.”

Studies have found that connecting children with nature improves their ability to perform in school subjects such as math, reading, and science.

Check out some of the outdoor education opportunities DNR has to offer below, and help give your kid an extra edge. (more…)

Celebrate Seattle Seahawks’ opening game day and National Wildlife Day with DNR

September 4, 2014

Ever wonder about the majestic bird behind your 12th Man pride in the Seattle Seahawks?

In recognition of National Wildlife Day and the Seattle Seahawks’ opening game today, we’re highlighting a DNR recreation opportunity that is home to the osprey, the only raptor willing to dive into the sea for fish.

osprey

An osprey dives into the water. The osprey is the only raptor that plunges into the water to catch fish. Photo: Rodney Cammauf / National Park Service.

Whether you’re an avid Seattle Seahawks fan, curious about hawks, or just looking for a place to explore in Washington’s great outdoors, read on for where to find nature’s sea hawk, the osprey, on DNR-managed recreation lands.

Home to the sea hawk:
West Tiger Mountain NRCA

This Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA) is 35 miles east of Seattle and protects a vast variety of rare ecosystems and many species of native wildlife.

This 4,430-acre expanse is home to deer, cougars, bobcats, black bears, coyote, elk, red-tailed hawks, owls, woodpeckers and… our native sea hawk, the osprey.

The area is an excellent outdoor classroom with an education shelter, interpretive displays, and accessible trails.


Discover Pass logoDiscover Pass

Before you celebrate this special day by visiting DNR-managed lands, don’t forget a Discover Pass, your ticket to state recreation lands in Washington.

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Mountain bikers rejoice: New trail opens tomorrow in east Tiger Mountain State Forest (with more to come!)

August 29, 2014

Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Mountain biker enjoying the new Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest. Photo: Robin Fay.

DNR opens a new trail for mountain biking tomorrow (Saturday, August 30) in Tiger Mountain State Forest near North Bend. The area, located just off of I-90, east of Seattle, is open to visitors from dawn to dusk.

The addition of the new 2.5-mile-long Off-the-Grid Trail brings the forest’s mountain bike trail system to approximately 15 miles, making this area even more attractive to enthusiasts of the sport.

DNR carefully designed the new trail, with input from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, to avoid erosion, habitat damage, and other negative impacts to the environment. Built by DNR with a lot of help from Puget SoundCorps crews and volunteers, the Off-the-Grid Trail features rock gardens, berms, rollers, and 120 feet of elevated boardwalk. If you aren’t familiar with those mountain bike terms, come out and see for yourself (but bring your helmet), and get Off-the-Grid.

Download a map of the new Off-the-Grid Trail.

More trails to come
Even better news for mountain bikers in the Northwest is that DNR will soon add more mountain biking trails in Tiger Mountain State Forest thanks to funding from Washington state’s Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities Program. Construction, with help from Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, has just started on a new descent trail for advanced riders. Work begins this fall on a climbing trail that will allow bikers to reach other trails without the need to use the forest’s road system.

Discover Pass Discover Pass logo
Remember to grab a Discover Pass to keep your recreation opportunities on DNR-managed land available season after season.

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Celebrate National Dog Day with DNR recreation opportunities

August 26, 2014

Celebrate National Dog Day

Celebrate National Dog Day by taking your four-legged best friend for a walk today.

Is your dog having a ruff day? Not anymore! It’s National Dog Day today and what better way to recognize our furry friends than by taking them for a walk on a DNR-managed recreation trail?

Here’s a short list of great places to go with your pup on DNR-managed state trust lands:

Bob Bammert Trail, Capitol State Forest
The Bob Bammert Trail is one of the few hiker-only trails in Capitol State Forest, making it perfect for your dog to explore – on a leash, of course. Enjoy this two-mile trail through hills of older, second growth trees and watch as your dog takes in the smells, sounds, and forest terrain.

Dougan Falls, Yacolt Burns State Forest

The large boulders, forested edges, and cascading water of Dougan Falls are a treat for visitors – and their dogs – who come to Yacolt Burn State Forest. These picturesque 100-foot wide falls empty into a deep pool. After enjoying a quick bite to eat, you and your dog can explore the falls and take a walk on nearby trails.

Manastash Ridge, southwest of Ellensburg
Located in the Wenas recreation area, Manastash Ridge is the perfect spot for you and your dog to explore. This area also is a popular destination for hunters, hikers, bird watchers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, equestrians, and snowmobile riders, so be sure to keep your dog leased at all times.

Lily Lake has lovely paths to walk with your dog.

Lily Lake has lovely paths to walk with your dog. Photo: DNR

Lily Lake, Blanchard Forest
Nestled in the Blanchard Forest and Chuckanut Mountains near Bellingham, Lily Lake is a peaceful setting with six backcountry camp sites for overnight stays. You and your dog can enjoy climbing up through the Chuckanut Mountains to Lily Lake, accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian use. You and your pup can expect a trail through ferns and forestland with occasional mountain views.

Safe celebration for you and your dog
Remember, dogs are allowed in all DNR-managed recreation, except Natural Area Preserves. Dogs should be on a leash at all times and please pick up after your dog — that’s right, the ‘pack-it-in/pack-it-out’ concept applies to dogs, too.

Discover Pass
Grab a Discover Pass so you and your dog can celebrate recreation on DNR-managed state trust land all year long.

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Rec alerts: Some DNR-managed recreation sites to close for fall, winter seasons

August 22, 2014

Don’t let the end of summer recreation pass you by!

With Labor Day weekend coming up, some DNR-managed recreation campgrounds and recreation sites will close for the fall and winter seasons.

Cypress Island Campgrounds to close after Labor Day Weekend
Pelican Beach Campground and Cypress Head Campground will close after September 1 for the 2014 season. These campgrounds are the only places to camp in the Cypress Island Natural Resources Conservation Area, the largest relatively undeveloped island in the San Juan Islands.

kayakers

Kayakers enjoy an evening paddle at Cypress Island, one of the many areas where campgrounds and other DNR recreation facilities close for the winter. Photo: Jason Goldstein.

Pelican Beach Campground is perfect if you like camping near the beach and campers can hike along Pelican Beach Trail to explore more of northern Cypress Island. A stay at Cypress Head Campground is perfect for exploring Cypress Island via the Cypress Head Trail.

Both areas will be open again Memorial Day Weekend.

Planning Ahead

If you’re planning to take advantage of the last few weeks of the summer season’s recreation, check the recreation open and closure webpage before you go.

Discover Pass Discover Pass logo
Remember to grab a Discover Pass to keep your recreation opportunities on DNR-managed land available season after season.

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Take a trip to visit a mystic mounded prairie

August 14, 2014

Looking for something kid-friendly to do on DNR-managed conservation lands? Let their imaginations run wild on 637 acres of grassland mounds at the DNR Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP).

Mima Mounds

Camas blooms at the unique Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve managed by DNR. Photo: DNR/Birdie Davenport

Located next to Capitol State Forest near Olympia, Washington, Mima Mounds NAP protects the mounded Puget prairie landscape. Scientists differ on how the mounds formed; ice age flood deposits, earthquakes — even gophers — are among the formation theories offered.

Mima Mounds

Unique topography is one of the features of DNR’s Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve south of Olympia. Photo: DNR.

Rising to landmark status
In 1966, the National Park Service designated Mima Mounds a National Natural Landmark for its outstanding condition, illustrative value of a landform, rarity, and value to science and education. The site is one of 17 National Natural Landmarks in Washington state.

The NAP, established in 1976, includes native grasslands, a small Garry oak woodland, savannah (widely spaced oak trees with grass understory), Douglas-fir forest, and habitat for prairie-dependent butterflies and birds.

Unearthing site information and education

Mima Mounds Interpretive Center

Mima Mounds NAP has a lot of informational material for visitors to read while they’re there. DNR photo

Visitors to the site can stop at its interpretive center before stepping onto the trail that skirts around the mounds. The center provides historical and educational information about the site.

For those looking to get a better view of the area, a short set of stairs to the rooftop of the interpretive center provides a look from above.

Discover Pass logoDiscover Pass required
Don’t forget to grab your Discover Pass before heading out on this prairie
adventure. The Discover Pass is required to park a car at Mima Mounds NAP or anywhere in Capitol State Forest. This $30 annual access pass (or $10 day pass) is your ticket to Washington state great outdoors. All proceeds directly support state-managed outdoor recreation.

Adventure on!
Learn more about Mima Mounds NAP and other DNR adventures on our website at www.dnr.wa.gov/recreation.

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DNR has many volunteer opportunities planned in August

July 31, 2014
DNR volunteer event

Popular trails get worn and become more susceptible to erosion. Volunteers help DNR stretch its scarce maintenance dollars to keep trails safe. Photo: DNR

Interested in recreation on DNR managed land, but not sure how to get involved? Luckily, DNR has all sorts of volunteer opportunities on deck for August and we would love to see you there.

DNR volunteers are vital to maintaining a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for visitors to DNR’s recreation facilities and trails. This isn’t an easy feat, and DNR is blessed with many dedicated volunteers. In 2013, volunteers totaled 61,300 volunteer hours on recreation projects.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, check out some of DNR’s volunteer opportunities below. For more details and updates on all DNR recreation volunteer opportunities, visit our volunteer calendar.

August 2
Friends of Capitol Forest Monthly Work Party
Where:
Capitol State Forest
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff and volunteers from Friends of Capitol Forest for a work party to improve road crossing areas, remove wood supports on berms, and drainage. Kids are welcome! There is often a mountain bike ride after the work party.
Directions: (Map) Meet at the “Y” intersection of Waddell Creek Road and Sherman Valley Road.
Contact: Nick Cronquist, 360-480-2700

August 9
Walker Valley ORV Area Work
Where: Walker Valley
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff and other volunteers to help work on trails, clean ditches, haul gravel, brush trails, paint, pick up garbage, and more! No need to call first.
Directions: (Map) Meet at the Walker Valley Trailhead Information Kiosk: 18652 Peter Burns Rd., Mount Vernon, WA
Contact: Jim Cahill, 360-854-2874

August 16
Nicholson Horse Trails Work Party
Where: Sahara Creek Campground
Time: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What: Please join DNR staff and Pierce County Chapter Back Country Horsemen to work on the Nicholson Horse Trails.
Directions: Start at Elbe. Go 5.3 miles on Hwy 706. Turn left into the site.
Contact: Nancy Barker, 253-312-4301

August 23
Reiter Foothills ORV Work Party
Where: Reiter Foothills Forest
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff to enhance the Motorcycle Trials trail area and work other ORV trail projects.
Directions: Drive East on Hwy 2 through the town of Gold Bar. Turn left onto Reiter Road. Continue for 3.8 miles. Deer Flats Mainline Road will be on your left. Meet at the Deer Flats Mainline Gate.
Contact: Daniel Christian, 360-333-7846

Need a Discover Pass?
If you don’t have a Discover Pass, DNR staff can provide you with one for the day you volunteer. These volunteer events are eligible toward a complimentary Discover Pass.

Before you go, make sure to check our open and closure notices page.

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Best bird’s eye views from DNR hikes

July 15, 2014

With summer comes sunny days, and what better way to enjoy them than while recreating on DNR-managed land. DNR recreation opportunities offer visitors many places to take in Washington’s vistas.

Whether viewed from a trailhead picnic bench or after a long hike, the vistas you’ll find on DNR-managed lands are sure to awe.

Read on for a list of recreation opportunities sure to leave a lasting impression.

Samish Bay Overlook

View of Samish Bay from the Samish Overlook and Day-Use Area, managed by DNR. Photo DNR.

Samish Overlook
At Blanchard Mountain you can catch a great view of the San Juan Islands and have a picnic while watching the paragliders!

Eagle Nest Vista
Located in the Ahtanum State Forest, Eagle Nest Vista is just what its name implies – a bird’s eye view over the breathtaking sub-alpine forest. Enjoy a picnic while taking in the sights.

Mount Si

Enjoy a day hike up to Mount Si NRCA for great views. Photo by Diana Lofflin/ DNR

Mount Si Trailhead
Pack a picnic lunch and expect to see views of the Snoqualmie valley and Cascades. Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) draws about 100,000 visitors each year.

Twin Falls Lake
The high cascading inlet falls of Twin Falls Lake, located in the Morning Star NRCA, provide incentives to visitors willing to hike for their view. Start at the Ashland Lakes Trailhead for a 4.5-mile hike to the site.

Discover Pass
As you plan your next vista-viewing adventure, make sure to remember to grab a Discover Pass to make the most of Washington’s sunny days.

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5 Boating Safety Tips: Know before you go

July 11, 2014
Kayakers take advantage of nice weather to paddle in Puget Sound. Photo: DNR.

Kayakers take advantage of nice weather to paddle in Puget Sound. Photo: DNR.

With the arrival of hot summer days, you may be anxious to get out on the water and play! However, there have been many close calls due to cold water and the unpredictable weather in Puget Sound.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is an advocate of safe and sustainable recreation. Before you head out to play, make sure you follow these five safety tips:

  1. Dress for the occasion. On a sunny day, a dip in the cool water might not sound like such a bad thing, but hypothermia can set in after only minutes of exposure. A wetsuit is a great way to stay safe and comfortable. If a wetsuit isn’t an option, wool clothing insulates better than cotton when wet.
  2. Practice self-rescue. In the event that you end up in the water unintentionally, being able to get back into your boat in deep water is imperative. Practice self-rescue in safe water before heading out.
  3. Be aware of offshore winds. When kayaking in open water, make sure to pay attention to off-shore winds that can make the paddle back to shore difficult.
  4. Paddle with a partner. If you kayak with a buddy, you’ll always have someone there in case of an emergency… plus, it’s much more fun.
  5. Always wear your PFD (personal floatation device). The most important thing to remember is that PFDs save lives. Don’t paddle without one.

    A group of kayakers paddle in Bellingham Channel. Cypress Island and one of the Cone Islands are in the background. Photo: DNR/Jason Goldstein

    A group of kayakers paddle in Bellingham Channel. Cypress Island and one of the Cone Islands are in the background. Photo: DNR/Jason Goldstein

If you want to take your paddling safety skills to the next level, check out these resources:

FREE online paddle safety course
Washington Water Trails Association

If you operate a motor boat, you’ll need to get your Boater Education Card from State Parks.

Remember, be safe and have a great time on the water!

Do you have any water safety tips? Please send your comments to recreation@dnr.wa.gov.

Find waterside recreation sites for DNR-managed lands, recreation rules, opening and closure information, and more on our Recreation web page.

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Rec Alert: Lake Spokane Recreation Area CLOSED

July 10, 2014

Lake Spokane Campground is closed to the public while fire crews use the site to host base camp operations to fight the Lake Spokane fire.

Spokane Lake Campground is closed to help firefighting efforts. Photo by: KXLY 4 News

Spokane Lake Campground is closed to help firefighting efforts. Photo by: KXLY 4 News

The Lake Spokane campground, day-use, water access areas, and boat launch are all completely closed to the public.

Although this is a DNR campground, the site has been managed by Washington State Parks since 2012. If you have questions about reservations at Lake Spokane, please call 509-465-5064.

Where can I go instead?
We’re asking the public to stay clear of Lake Spokane recreation area so fire crews can focus on their work. By visiting other sites, you will be helping the firefighters fight the fire. We understand the inconvenience of this situation and greatly appreciate your support.

During this closure, please visit one of the following nearby recreation instead:

  • Riverside State Park.
  • Nine Mile Recreation Area Campground. This location has a campground, day-use, and swimming area for public use.
  • Two public boat launches located at south end of Lake Spokane.
  • The DNR-managed Dragoon Creek Campground.

Nine Mile Recreation Area Campground
11226 W Charles Rd
Nine Mile Falls, Washington 99026

Riverside State Park
9711 W. Charles Road
Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026

Dragoon Creek Campground
Start in Spokane at the junction of US Hwy 2 and US Hwy 395.
Go north on US Hwy 395 for 10.2 mi.
Turn left on Dragoon Creek Rd. Go 0.4 mi. to camp entrance.

Please remember a Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to these campgrounds.

Stay connected
Make sure you’re in the loop this fire season. Get updates on Washington wildfires by following the DNR Fire Twitter.

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