Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

The 12th bird: See it live at West Tiger Mountain NRCA

January 17, 2014

Osprey diving with wings folded, head first and at the last second thrusting its talons downward into the water. The osprey is the only raptor that will plunge into the water to catch a fish. Photo: Rodney Cammauf/National Park Service.

If the anticipation of this Sunday’s NFC playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers whets your curiosity about hawks, or you just want a good place to hike this weekend, consider one of the many recreation areas managed by DNR, such as West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area. This 4,430-acre site is 35 miles east of Seattle and protects a vast variety of rare ecosystems and many species of native western Washington wildlife. Children can delight in knowing they are walking through the habitat of deer, cougar, bobcats, black bear, coyote, elk, red-tailed hawks, osprey (AKA SEA HAWK), owl, and woodpecker. This area is an excellent outdoor classroom with an education shelter, interpretive displays, and accessible trails.

Head into nature today! Studies show that nature exposure and education can help students excel in classroom subjects as well. The trip can also teach kids about the importance of state-protected rare species and their habitat. So, grab your children (and their friends) and hit the trail. Rain or shine, grab your Discover Pass and head out for some extra-curricular activities!

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Winter winds can make recreation hazardous

January 10, 2014
storm damage

Use caution as the forest can be a hazardous place on windy days.
Photo by: DNR/Christine Redmond

Washington’s typical winter weather is finally upon us, and with it comes rain, wind, snow, and storms.

Use extra caution
This wild weather may inspire you to strap on your raincoat and hit the forest for a hike or recreation adventure, but DNR staff would like you to use caution and stay safe.

With winter storms rolling through our state, please be careful out in the forest during high winds. Windy weather can be very dangerous to recreationists in the woods when trees, limbs, and other debris fall.

Report hazards
If you come across windfall blocking roads or trails, please contact our region offices listed below to inform them so we can get folks out as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.


Sno-Park Permit or Discover Pass: What you need to know to play in the snow

January 3, 2014
What you need for winter recreation on WA state lands

Click on the graphic for a larger view.

Before you head out to cross-country ski, snowshoe, snowmobile or just play in the snow on state-managed lands this winter, be sure you have the right permit or pass.

Sno-Park Pass or Discover Pass?
In some cases you’ll either need a Sno-Park Permit or a Discover Pass—or even both. (more…)

Thirteen ideas for fun recreation on DNR-managed lands for Friday the 13th (or whenever)

December 13, 2013
Discover Pass

Buy your loved one a gift that will last the whole year, an annual Discover Pass! Now you can choose the start date at the time of purchase.

Start off the holiday recreation season with a few of these 13 tips & ideas. Plan a winter adventure now!

1.       Hike
If we’re blessed with one of those brisk clear blue-skied days we sometimes get here in the Northwest grab your boots and hit the trails. DNR has trails for different skill levels. Head over to our recreation page and find a trail that’s right for you!

2.       Trail Run
Get some peace and quiet during the holiday season by spending a few hours running through some of our hundreds of miles of trails. Check which trails are open and make sure you wear something bright and reflective if you’re in an area with hunters.

3.       Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe
Enjoy the peace and quiet of non-motorized winter recreation. You can cross-country ski and snowshoe on nearly 50 miles of trails—20 miles of which are groomed—in the Tahoma and Elbe State Forests, east of Elbe on the way up to Mount Rainier. The Mount Tahoma Trails Association (MTTA) operates free ski huts there, but you do need reservations. Visit the MTTA website for more information. Don’t forget to purchase a Sno-Park permit for parking at any of these areas.

4.       Geocaching
Enjoy a state-wide scavenger hunt with your holiday visitors and take them geocaching! There are many caches hidden on trails on DNR land. Bring a holiday trinket to leave behind for the next geo-explorer.

5.       Dirt biking & ATV
Winter is the best time to take your bike out and get muddy! Although some trails are closed in the winter, there are plenty of places to head out and blow off some of your holiday stress.

6.       Sledding
It’s not winter without sledding! Take your holiday visitors for an adventure the whole family can enjoy! Head out to the mountains and hills to find a snowy bank and sled all day.

7.       Winter Camping
Just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the perks of getting away for the weekend. Become a true Northwestern, weekend warrior by enjoying some off-season tent, car, or RV camping on DNR state land. Just make sure you check what sites are open during the winter before you head out for a frosty adventure.

8.       Snowmobiling
You’ll find groomed trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing on state trust lands managed by DNR. Many of these trails originate on DNR-managed lands; others hook up with trails from other public and private lands.

9.       Bird Watching & Nature Observing        
Winter is a great time for locating animal tracks and watching waterfowl. Many birds that spend summer months in Alaska and Canada migrate down to Washington during the cold season. Coastal inlets, estuaries, and freshwater wetlands are some of the best places to go birding in winter. Learn about DNR’s Natural Areas Program and find protected natural areas nearest you to spend a day at peace with nature.

10.   Razor Clamming
It’s razor clamming time! Check out this post on the current razor clamming season from our friends at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Right now is one of the best times to get out and dig your own delicious dinner.

11.   Pleasure Drive
Need to get away from the holiday rush? Clear your head on a weekend drive like this one that made National Geographic’s 500 Scenic Drives of a Lifetime. Stop along the way for a picnic at one of DNR’s protected Natural Areas such as Kennedy Creek NAP, Shipwreck Point NRCA, or the Chehalis River Surge Plain NAP. You could also camp for the night at Bear Creek Campground (milepost 206), Hoh Oxbow Campground (milepost 176 -177), or Cottonwood Campground (milepost 177 – 178). For more road trip ideas, visit DNR’s recreation page. If your trip takes you off the highway, remember the safety rules of navigating any of DNR’s working forest roads from our Forest Road Survival Guide.

12.   Meet Washington’s Other First Family
The Squatches are a fun-loving, outdoorsy family that moved to the ‘burbs to escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life. These weekend warriors love the millions of acres of Washington state-managed lands where they can fit all their outdoor activities into one, action-packed trip. Must-view fun videos.

13.   Discover Pass
Nothing says holidays like giving the gift of the great outdoors! Now you can choose your start date, so you can give it as a present to your family outdoor enthusiast or pick one up for yourself and start your own winter adventure.

Happy holidays from DNR!

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Eight reasons DNR is thankful for volunteers

November 28, 2013

Samish Overlook

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:

  1. Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom from overtaking trails and natural areas.
  2. Volunteered for the Forest Watch Program.
  3. Provided information and nature interpretation to school children and other forest visitors.
  4. Trekked out in the field to collect data or monitor plant species — providing valuable information to staff scientists.
  5. Helped us maintain and build recreational trails.
  6. Organized volunteer work parties.
  7. Provided clerical assistance.
  8. 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 WildlifeGet details.

Check out our Volunteer Calendar to learn about opportunities for you to get involved.

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Celebrate Thanksgiving with a trip to Reiter!

November 27, 2013
Reiter 4x4

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.


Rec Alert: Seasonal Tiger Mountain trails close for winter season

November 8, 2013
Mountain Bike Rider on East Tiger Mountain

Mountain Bikers enjoyed the natural and rugged terrain at East Tiger Mountain this summer. Photo: Sam Jarrett, DNR

Did you have a chance to ride Tiger Mountain’s new stretch of trail, which opened to mountain bikers last summer? This weekend will be your last chance to ride them this season.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will close the East Tiger Summit trails for the winter season Tuesday, November 12.

Washington’s rainy fall and winter months leave trails vulnerable to environmental and structural damage. Seasonal closures are a way for DNR to help protect the landscape and make sure the trail will be around to play on for many years.

Help your favorite trails
Several volunteer work parties will be scheduled to work on Tiger Mountain’s Preston Railroad Grade Trail. Stay tuned to DNR’s volunteer calendar to find out when you can come out and lend a hand.

Looking forward…
Seasonal closures are bittersweet for recreation enthusiasts. Why? They mark the end of summer sports, but also the approaching fun of winter recreation! (more…)

Check out two draft maps for the Naneum Ridge to Columbia River Plan

October 17, 2013
Join the discussion on the recreation future of the Naneum Ridge to Columbia River Planning Area. Photo: DNR.

Join the discussion on the recreation future of the Naneum Ridge to Columbia River Planning Area. Photo: DNR.

Join the Washington state departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in a discussion about future recreation opportunities in the Naneum Ridge to Columbia River area.

The two agencies, with the help of the Naneum Ridge to Columbia recreation planning committee, will host two community meetings next week in Ellensburg and Wenatchee.

October 23. Ellensburg, 5 – 8 p.m.
Hal Holmes Community Center
209 N. Ruby St. Ellensburg, WA 98926 (Directions)
Invite your friends

October 24. Wenatchee, 5 – 8 p.m.
Wenatchee Convention Center
121 N. Wenatchee Ave.
Wenatchee, WA 98801 (Directions)
Invite your friends

A recreation planning committee representing various recreational users and landowners has been working for more than a year with a DNR and WDFW project team to identify recreational options in the planning area. Attendees at the October meetings will learn about the progress that has been made on these efforts and will have the opportunity to review and comment on two options for recreational development.

The 230,000-acre recreation area covers portions of Kittitas and Chelan counties and includes the Naneum Ridge State Forest managed by DNR. It also includes the Colockum Wildlife Area and the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick units of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, managed by WDFW. The area is within 30 minutes of both Wenatchee and Ellensburg and extends from the eastern boundary of the Wenatchee National Forest to the Columbia River.

>> Learn more about Naneum Ridge to Columbia River recreation planning

>> Join the Naneum Ridge to Columbia River e-newsletter

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Teanaway Community Forest introduces new way of managing public forestlands

October 3, 2013
Fall view of the Teanaway Community Forest, the first Washington State-managed community forest. Photo: The Wilderness Society.

Fall view of the Teanaway Community Forest, the first Washington State-managed community forest. Photo: The Wilderness Society.

This week, Washington State celebrated the formation of the first state-managed community forest, the Teanaway Community Forest.

The Teanaway Community Forest is a 50,272-acre property situated at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed (map).

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is collaboratively managing the Teanaway Community Forest with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and with significant public input from a community-based advisory committee.

The Teanaway acquisition is the largest single land transaction by Washington State in 45 years and reflects more than a decade of collaboration involving many organizations and individuals. The property will become Washington’s first Community Forest under the terms of legislation enacted in 2011, a model designed to empower communities to partner with DNR to purchase forests that support local economies and public recreation.

“The Teanaway Community Forest is one of the most beloved landscapes in Washington, and it will be cared for and managed for years to come to reflect the values and priorities of the community that has worked so hard to protect it,” said Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands. “That’s the beauty of the Community Forest Trust model: it allows local communities to help protect the forests they love.”

Still have questions? Check out the Teanaway Community Forest Q & A or email them to

>>Sign up to receive the Teanaway Community Forest e-newsletter
>>View a media release about the purchase
>>Check out photos

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Our top posts during September: Lighting, wildfire, and ‘angular unconformity’ were popular topics

October 2, 2013
Lightning strike

Lighting has been striking more often this summer in Washington and Oregon — about 238,109 times, which four times higher than normal. Photo: DNR.

Here’s a roundup of the most popular blog posts on Ear to the Ground during September:

Snap, crackle, pop! More lightning than past years. Does it seem like Washington and Oregon have had more lightning this year than past years? That’s because it’s true — four times the normal rate, according to reports.

DNR’s Fire Dispatch Center takes the heat. Ever wonder how DNR mobilizes personnel, trucks, aircraft, and supplies to respond to wildland fires?

Former firefighter seeks — and finds — names of rescuers 32 years later. A former firefighter gets DNR’s help in tracking down crew members who rendered first aid and carried him to safety after he collapsed while working on a wildfire in 1981.

End summer the ‘Reiter-way. DNR announces that two new sections for off-road fun at Reiter Foothills Forest are now open to the public: The ATV Purple Line and the intimidating 4×4 Connector Challenge trails.   

Our Geology Image of the Month: ‘Angular unconformity’. The Washington State Geology News (a free e-newsletter from DNR) shows off a well-exposed angular unconformity in the rocks at Beach 4, located along coastal Highway 101 between Ruby Beach and Kalaloch.

Working forests, working double-time. Most people know about the monetary benefits of harvesting trees from forest lands, but what people may not know are the other services forests provide, such as clean water, flood control and carbon sequestration.

Small earthquake shakes Lake Wenatchee area. A small, 3.0 magnitude, earthquake shook the east end of Lake Wenatchee at 8:15 a.m. on September 24.

Can animals survive wildfires? You’ll be glad to know that most wild animals do survive wildfires. They are much smarter than we give them credit for.

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