Posts Tagged ‘Recreation’

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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Recreation Alert: Woodard Bay NRCA to close temporarily for construction

June 10, 2014

Starting in July, DNR will close a large portion of Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) through December 2014.

Woodard Bay NRCA will be closed July through December 2014 for construction efforts. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Woodard Bay NRCA will be closed July through December 2014 for construction. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

The access point from Whitham Road, and the trails leading from this area, will be closed to protect public safety during construction of public access facilities and interpretive sites in the NRCA.

Once completed, the updated interpretative design will highlight both the ecological values and rich cultural history of Woodard Bay.

Will I be able to visit Woodard Bay NRCA this summer?
Partially. The entire NRCA will be closed for the month of July. However, the Woodard Bay Upper Overlook Trail—currently closed to protect nesting herons—will re-open in August, providing public access to views of the bay. The Overlook Trail will be accessible from the parking lot at the north end of the Chehalis Western Trail.

What’s happening at Woodard Bay NRCA?

Woodard Bay NRCA concept drawings

This concept drawing shows one possible final look for Woodard Bay NRCA once construction is complete later this year. Click this image to see a larger version. Drawing by: DNR

This temporary closure marks the next phase of a larger project to restore and improve Woodard Bay NRCA.

The restoration phase was completed in March 2013, allowing DNR to develop improved educational and low-impact recreation opportunities.

In addition to the natural beauty of Woodard Bay NRCA, the area holds valuable cultural, historical, recreational, and conservation qualities.

Project details
The development project includes four major features:

  • A new environmental and cultural learning shelter.
  • An expanded parking lot with a new bike shelter to accommodate bike parking, since bicycle use is not allowed in the NRCA.
  • Relocation of the current “boom foreman’s” office and bathroom away from the shoreline.
  • Installation of several educational areas and signs.

Where can I go instead?
We encourage you to visit nearby parks and the Chehalis Western Trail during this closure. Nearby parks include:

This site shows the future home of new public access facilities and interpretive sites in the NRCA. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

This site is the future home of new public access facilities and interpretive sites in the Woodard Bay NRCA. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Learn more about Woodard Bay NRCA on the DNR website: http://bit.ly/WoodardBayNRCA.

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Water safety first as warm temperatures return

May 1, 2014
Blow-hole along the Strait of Juan De Fuca west of Neah Bay

Kayaker is sprayed by a blow-hole along the Strait of Juan De Fuca west of Neah Bay. Photo: DNR

This week’s warm temperatures are drawing large crowds to Washington State’s lakes, rivers, ocean beaches, and Puget Sound.

Safety first
Rafting, boating, and swimming can be great fun, but we want to make sure you make safety your first priority.

Washington’s cold waters can turn a sunny adventure into a scary situation in a matter of seconds.

Water excursions on DNR-managed land
Look on our Recreation web page to find out which waterside recreation sites on DNR-managed lands are open. Locate resources for safe and sustainable paddling here.

Boater Education Card required
Remember, if you operate a boat, you’ll need to get your Boater Education Card from State Parks and have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket available for each person aboard.

Additional water safety reminders come from the Washington State Department of Health.

National Boating Safety Week is May 17 through May 23. Teach your loved ones the essentials of water safety with tips from the Safe Boating Campaign.

Cypress Head camping

Sunrise at Cypress Head on Cypress Island — a DNR-managed Natural Resources Conservation Area. Photo: Jason Goldstein/DNR

Something to look forward to…
Cypress Island: rich in DNR’s most popular boat-in campgrounds and day-use recreation sites will open Memorial Day weekend.

Make sure you get your Discover Pass before you go! One $35* Annual Discover Pass grants you vehicle access to DNR recreation sites, campgrounds, trails, and 2.2 million acres of state trust lands.

Most importantly, be safe and have fun!

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*Annual Discover Pass is $35 including transaction and dealer fees if purchased at a license dealer, by phone or online. 

Rec Alerts: Harvest activities & road work might affect your visits to NW Washington

April 29, 2014

Timber harvests and road work are familiar hazards to DNR recreationists.

This blog will help keep you aware of forest activity on DNR land in Northwest Washington over the next month.

A truck loaded down with timber is driving down a forest road

Be aware of logging trucks and pull off to the side in a designated pull out if you see one coming your way. Photo by: DNR

Read more to find out about recreation alerts in the following areas:

  • Blanchard State Forest Road building and timber harvest activities will restrict access to the north end of Blanchard Mountain through August 31
  • Harry Osborne State Forest Read more to learn updates on the Wrangler Connection Trail and Mac Johnson Trail closures.
  • Stewart Mountain Heavy truck traffic continues on the Olsen Creek Road System.
  • North Fork Road System This road system will close July through mid-August.

Check back frequently, as we will post updates here as they become available. (more…)

Join the 9th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In

March 18, 2014
Great Gravel Pack-In

Great Gravel Pack-In volunteers are happy to help, rain or shine!
Photo by: Diana Lofflin/DNR

Join DNR staff and volunteers from a variety of recreation interests for the 9th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

The Great Gravel Pack-In has become an annual tradition that showcases and celebrates the value of volunteers and importance of cooperative efforts. See photos from past events on the DNR Flickr page.

This Year’s Activities
Volunteers will help spread gravel and repair damaged sections of trails in Capitol State Forest. Some may also help clear storm debris and make basic improvements to Middle Waddell and Margaret McKenney campgrounds.

Join the Event

What 9th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In
When March 29, 2014
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where Capitol State Forest
Tacoma Trail Cruisers’ Property

 

 

Ron Downing at the 8th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In. Photo: Diana Lofflin, DNR.

Ron Downing at the 8th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In. Photo: Diana Lofflin, DNR.

Learn more about the Great Gravel Pack-In and other volunteer events on the DNR Volunteer Calendar.

Invite your friends on Facebook. Come volunteer and be a hero for a day!

What to Expect
Volunteers should bring work gloves, water, and rain gear to this event. A barbeque lunch will be provided by the Tacoma Trail Cruisers.

We ask that children under the age of 18 are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Also, for the safety of horses and pack stock, please do not bring dogs.

Event Partners
A special thanks to the following groups for partnering with DNR on this event:

Discover Pass logoVolunteers can get rewards
Did you know that volunteers can earn vouchers toward a complimentary Discover Pass for their service?

Get details.

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Plan your weekend adventure with DNR

March 7, 2014

Looking for something to do this weekend? Plan an outdoor adventure on DNR-managed lands.

Try Something New
Don’t let cool weather hold you back. This time of year you can go hiking, mountain biking, trail running, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding, camping, bird watching, free flying (hang gliding and paragliding), and many other activities.

Ahtanum

The 67 miles of groomed snow trails at Ahtanum Winter Recreation Area are waiting to be explored. Click to learn more. Photo: Ken Dean/DNR

If you can dream up a fun outdoor activity, you can probably find a group doing it on state-trust lands.

Plan Ahead
The key to a good trip out into nature is to make sure you’re prepared. Here are some things to consider before striking out into the great outdoors:

Explore some DNR recreation photos on our Flickr site to get inspired for your next outdoor adventure.

Most importantly, have fun on your trip.

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Rec Alert: Murdock Beach access road open after brief closure for soil testing

March 6, 2014

Ruby Beach, located on the Washington Coast. Photo: Jane Chavey/ DNR

All work has been completed and the Murdock Beach access forest road is once again open to the public.

Thank you for your patience!

Original article posted February 27, 2014:

Rec Alert: Murdock Beach access road to close for soil testing
The forest road that accesses Murdock Beach will be closed Tuesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 5 for soil testing.

Murdock Beach, located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, will not be accessible during this time.

The temporary closure will be at the junction of US Highway 112 and forest road PA-S-2500. This will block access to the PA-S-2510 beach access road and the PA-S-2600 forest access road.

Why will the road be closed?
The DNR Timber Sales program will be taking core samples of the forest road to determine soil suitability. This is a step in preparing for a fish barrier culvert removal.

Murdock Beach access road closure

The forest road that accesses Murdock Beach will be closed March 4 – 5. Click image to enlarge.

For updates on the closure, please visit DNR’s recreation updates page. Closure updates will also be posted on DNR’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

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DNR Volunteer Heroes are at it again! Annual Great Gravel Pack-In

March 4, 2014

Great Gravel Pack-In

Great Gravel Pack-In volunteers are happy to help rain or shine! Photo by: Diana Lofflin/DNR

At DNR, we could not do the work we do without the help of our volunteers statewide. 

The Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark presents an annual Volunteer Hero Award to honor extraordinary volunteers who demonstrate leadership and commitment in their service to the DNR Volunteer Program.

The time of year has come where our Volunteer Heroes are at it again. They just can’t help leading volunteer efforts and they are looking for people who are willing to strap on their work gloves and join in the work. (more…)

Plan your V-Day getaway on DNR recreation lands

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Wait, did you forget…?

Plan a fun trip to DNR-managed recreation lands this Valentine's Day!

Plan a fun trip to DNR-managed recreation lands this Valentine’s Day!

Still scrambling to plan a romantic getaway? Or perhaps searching for a single’s adventure to escape all the hearts and flowers?

Plan your trip today at www.dnr.wa.gov/recreation.

Just because you forgot to plan Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you should go unprepared. 

Remember:

Have fun!

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