Protecting Seattle’s apples, one apple at a time

February 13, 2016
A bug free apple.

A bug free apple.

Between codling moths and apple maggot flies, fruit tree owners had almost given up on growing quality apples. City Fruit knew these apples could be saved, so they created a campaign called Save Seattle’s Apples.

With strategic planning and outreach, pest control was made a little easier for fruit tree owners, and City Fruit uses only organic means to prevent pest damage.

Among the paper baggies, nylon footies, kaolin clay, and other various organic pest prevention techniques, 90.9 percent of respondents used paper baggies as their method of pest prevention.

Last spring, City Fruit was honored with the Game Changing Action Award by Seattle Met for this successful campaign.

How’d they do it? City Fruit applied for a community forestry assistance grant through DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The funding for this grant came from the U.S. Forest Service.

We can learn a few tips from City Fruit. If you’re interested in covering/protecting your own apples or donating your fruit, contact them through their website at www.cityfruit.org.

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Foothills land exchange continues to pay off

February 12, 2016
View of Port Angeles

View of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the City of Port Angeles –- an important tourism city for those visiting the Olympic Peninsula -– as seen from DNR-managed trust lands that were consolidated in the Foothills Exchange. Photo: Robert Winslow/DNR

A 2011 land exchange between DNR and a private landowner continues to pay dividends for the agency, recreationalists and the environment. In the Foothills Exchange, DNR traded about 6,400 acres of forested state trust lands scattered across the Olympic Peninsula for 9,351 acres of forestland, much of it in large consolidated blocks adjacent to other tracts of state trust land near Hoodsport, Hood Canal and Lake Cushman.

For recreationalists, the DNR acquisitions protect large blocks of working forestland from encroaching residential development while complementing several recent federal land purchases and dam removals along the Elwha River. In addition to improving water quality in the Elwha River and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the land exchange helps assure public access to more of the popular cross-peninsula Discovery Trail.

The properties acquired by DNR in the transaction include 5,171 acres in Clallam County; 2,600 acres in Jefferson County and 1,520 acres in Mason County. DNR will manage properties for natural resources production and wildlife habitat in a manner consistent with its multi-decade Habitat Conservation Plan agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This consolidation of state trust lands also improves DNR’s access to thousands of acres of forestland it manages on the Olympic Peninsula for trust beneficiaries such as local county services, K-12 public schools statewide, and Washington State University construction projects

Firefighting isn’t just for men anymore

February 11, 2016
Women firefighters

Women firefighters

Historically, firefighting has been dominated by men in both professional and volunteer firefighting careers. But this just isn’t the case anymore.

DNR is currently recruiting for wildland firefighting positions and wants to encourage women to apply.

Long time DNR employee, Jennifer Bammert, recalls what moved her into her wildfire fighting career in the first place.

“Starting out as a firefighter on an engine in 1981, I was lucky to be stationed in my home town area of Thurston County for my first three years. Three years later, I was stationed in Eastern Washington where I was on the Ahtanum 20-person crew and eventually, got my own engine and crew that was based out of Ahtanum. It was the beginning of an awesome wildfire career!”

DNR employee Jennifer Bammert is always smiling, even when fighting wildfires.

DNR employee Jennifer Bammert is always smiling, even when fighting wildfires.

Jennifer is now the Emergency Response Coordinator for DNR, 33 years after she stuck her foot in the door as a seasonal firefighter.

DNR is looking for individuals willing and capable of performing strenuous outdoor work safely and productively and of accepting direction and acting responsibly. The duration of these positions is generally three to four months. Work begins approximately mid-June and ends in mid-September. The experience and training gained as a Forest Firefighter or an Engine Leader/Squad Boss can form the foundation for a successful career in forestry and other natural resource professions. DNR will provide safety clothing needed for the job.

Over hill and dale to the Eatonville radio repeater they go…

February 10, 2016
MtRain-from-PuyallupRidge-20160125_by_A-Osborn

In late January, Telecommunications Specialist Jarrod Nordloh pauses to enjoy the view from Puyallup Ridge while retrieving equipment from a DNR-leased radio site there. Mt. Rainier can be seen in the background. Photo: Andy Osborn/DNR.

Even when back-country snows are piled higher than the road signs (see photo), DNR staff still must head into the back country to service communication sites that the agency leases to private companies and public agencies. The lease revenue helps support state trust land beneficiaries, such as public school construction projects. Because most of the sites are perched on mountain tops, a simple service visit during the winter months can turn into a snowmobile expedition.

In all, DNR leases out more than 100 telecommunication sites on state trust lands across Washington state. Located atop mountains and other high-elevation sites, these facilities house radio, telephone, cellular, microwave and other electronic systems that deliver wireless communication services to residents, businesses and governments across the state. In fiscal year 2015 (which ended June 30, 2015), DNR telecommunication site leases produced nearly $4.5 million for distribution to public schools and other beneficiaries of state trust lands.

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Remove the 3 D’s from your trees; learn what, when and how to prune

February 8, 2016
This is a screen shot from the National Arbor Day Foundation website on how to prune trees properly and when.

This is a screen shot from the National Arbor Day Foundation website on how to prune trees properly and when.

Are your trees looking straggly, growing and spreading out aimlessly? Before you prune a tree, be sure you’re pruning at the right time of year.

A blog from the National Association of State Foresters says that trees are dormant through early March. This is true in some cases, but it’s important to check for the appropriate time of year to prune the specific type of tree you own.

Meanwhile, now is a good time to remove those dead, diseased, and damaged branches (the 3 D’s). These problem branches can cost more money and cause more maintenance headaches if not cared for right away. You also may want to remove branches that cross and rub against each other when the appropriate time comes to prune that tree. Whatever you do, prune no more than 25 percent of your tree’s canopy in any one year.

What are we talking about specifically? DNR recommends two resources to help you decide what to prune, when to prune, and how to prune:

If you have a tree that can be pruned now, the wound from pruning will rapidly close just before new growth emerges. Also, prune trees while they’re young to help avoid expensive tree care later.

See what other resources DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program has to offer.

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Better play: Projects underway

February 7, 2016
A hiking trail in the Raging River State Forest area. Photo/ DNR.

A hiking trail in the Raging River State Forest area. Photo/ DNR.

Want to know how we’re building opportunities to help you enjoy Washington’s outdoors? Visit our recently launched Web page to find out about our most notable recreation projects underway. Below is an example of just one of our current projects.

Raging River State Forest
Enjoy hiking and mountain biking? We’ve got good news for you. In collaboration with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, DNR is working on a new project that will provide design of Snoqualmie Point Trailhead expansion and development of about 14 miles of trail in the Raging River State Forest.

Directly across Highway 18 from Tiger Mountain and in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, this future trail system will provide one of the most popular destinations for hikers and bikers in the entire state. Future connector trails will link to our existing 17-mile mountain bike trail system in East Tiger Mountain, King County’s Taylor Mountain Forest, and the communities of Snoqualmie and North Bend.

For more information on this project, contact our Snoqualmie Corridor Recreation Manager Sam Jarrett by phone at 206-375-0448 or by email at Sam.jarrett@dnr.wa.gov.

To learn about 12 other projects underway across the state of Washington, visit our website: www.dnr.wa.gov/projects. Another way to get information is to sign up for our monthly recreation e-newsletter.

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Hiker safety tips for success

February 5, 2016
Last week, DNR Natural Resources Police officer Jason Bodine was able to assist five hikers to safety as night fell around them. It's a good reminder of how quickly a situation can become serious. Photo/ DNR.

Last week, DNR Natural Resources Police officer Jason Bodine was able to assist five hikers to safety as night fell around them. It’s a good reminder of how quickly a situation can become serious. Photo/ DNR.

Darkness is setting in as you start to try and orient yourself on the trail, miles away from your car. Unsure of where you are, and not prepared to spend the night outdoors, what do you do next?

As you enjoy 1,100 miles of trails on DNR-managed lands, stay safe by planning ahead. Here are some tips:

For more information about the best ways to keep your trips safe and fun, visit our recreation guide. For emergencies, dial 911.

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Love to camp? Live the dream and become a DNR camp host

February 3, 2016

Are you a professional, friendly, and polite person who wishes you could go camping for weeks on end? Do you have a properly-insured motor home, camper or travel trailer that supports comfortable camping in rustic, natural areas? DNR might have just the thing for you.

We’re currently taking applications for campground hosts to help provide a positive, safe, and informative experience for visitors at DNR campgrounds statewide.

You can help us serve the public by:

  • Providing information and rules to campers and visitors.
  • Registering overnight campers.
  • Patrolling campground and recreational areas.
  • Regularly inspecting campground restrooms, picnic shelters, campsites, campfire pits, and boat launch areas.
  • Reporting vandalism, illegal, or abusive behavior.

Pick your site today!

Ahtanum State Forest view

View of Mount St. Helens from Ahtanum State Forest. Photo: DNR

Ahtanum Campground, Ahtanum State Forest, near Yakima
Ahtanum Campground is a highly used recreation area for off-road vehicle riding, hiking, and horseback riding. Winter recreation is also popular for snowshoeing, sledding, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Cold Creek Campground, Yacolt Burn State Forest, near Camas
Cold Creek Campground is open year-round and is a favorite for family tent camping, equestrian use, mountain biking, and hiking. For more information, check out our flier.

Dragoon2

The picturesque Dragoon Creek runs through Dragoon Creek Campground. Photo/ DNR.

Dragoon Creek Campground, Little Pend Oreille Forest, near Spokane, 
This 23-site campground is surrounded by more than 100 acres of forested state trust lands. Visitors can enjoy the sound of Dragoon Creek, which runs through the middle of the campground. Dragoon Creek Campground is popular for fishing and wildlife viewing.

For more information about campground hosting with DNR, including who to contact and how to apply, visit our volunteer Web page. To see a full list of vacant camp host positions, visit our Flickr album.

To stay in the loop with DNR’s Recreation program, subscribe to our monthly recreation e-newsletter.

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Landowners can help fisher recovery

February 1, 2016
Pacific fisher

Listed in 1998 by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission as an endangered species, the Pacific fisher was reintroduced into the Olympic Peninsula in 2008. Photo: Pacific Southwest Region-USFS.

The fisher, a member of the weasel family that all but disappeared from Pacific Northwest forests during the last century, is returning to Washington state. In 2008, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and partners worked together to reestablish the species in Olympic National Park. Currently, reintroduction of the species is underway on federal lands within the Cascade Mountain Range.

In a separate action, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to decide whether to list the fisher as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act in April 2016. Regardless of the federal agency’s listing decision, wildlife managers are seeking help from forest landowners to work as partners in the recovery of fishers in Washington State. To promote this partnership, WDFW has drafted a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurance (CCAA) with the help of private, state, and tribal landowners.

How a CCAA works

A CCAA is a voluntary agreement in which landowners agree to help promote the conservation of a species that may later become listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. In return, landowners receive assurances against additional land-use restrictions should that species ever become listed for protection under federal law. Fishers also benefit from these agreements, because conservation measures outlined in a CCAA are designed to encourage landowners to support fisher reintroduction and recovery efforts.

Requirements under a CCAA

While wildlife managers expect that most fishers will remain on the national parks and national forests where they are released, they want to provide protection for any that may move onto non-federal lands. As part of a CCAA, landowners agree to:

  • Work with WDFW wildlife managers to monitor fishers and their dens in the event that a den site is found on their property.
  • Avoid harming or disturbing fishers and their young associated with active denning sites (March to September).
  • Report den sites and sick, injured, or dead fishers on their property. Landowners can enter into a CCAA only until such time as fishers are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

For more information about enrolling in the program, please contact:

Fisher recovery areas

Fisher recovery areas in Washington state. Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Bringing back the fisher

The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is one of the larger members of the weasel family and is found only in North America’s forests. Through excessive trapping and habitat loss, fishers were eliminated from Washington state by the middle of the 20th Century.

In 1998, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission listed the fisher as endangered in the state.

Recovery of the species is now well under way. From 2008 to 2010, WDFW worked with the National Park Service and other partners to reestablish the species in the state, relocating a total of 90 fishers from central British Columbia to Olympic National Park. Additional releases have been ongoing on federal land in the South Cascades and others are planned for the North Cascades in the next few years.

Since the 1940s, wildlife managers in 27 states and provinces have translocated (relocated) fishers 30 times to reestablish local populations within the fisher’s historical range. Twenty-two (73 percent) of these translocations are known to have been successful and two others are still being evaluated.

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Honoring a longtime volunteer

January 29, 2016

From campground hosts, to those on forest watch, DNR volunteers are amazing assets to our recreation program, and here’s the story of one of them.

Mary Van Amburg poses with a certificate of appreciate from DNR for her years of volunteering. Photo courtesy the Amburg family.

DNR staff recently provided Mary with a certificate of appreciation for her years of service. Photo courtesy the Amburg family.

Mary Van Amburg, 77, has volunteered with DNR since 1973. Mary has spent countless hours caring for recreation opportunities in the Ahtanum State Forest and the Wenas Wildlife Area. If you’ve ever been to these beautiful areas, chances are your visit was more memorable because of her work.

During her 43 years volunteering with DNR, Mary has served as a DNR Ahtanum State Forest Recreation Planning Committee member, Forest Watch volunteer, Wenas User Group member, and Yakima Ski Benders member, helping to maintain our forestland and educate young snowmobile riders on snow safety and rider etiquette. Up until Mary became ill, she organized a Forest Watch patrol event in Ahtanum State Forest for several years on Memorial Day weekend.

“Mary has done so much to create incredible experiences for all people who are able to enjoy this amazing part of the state,” said Stephanie Margheim, DNR volunteer specialist in southeastern Washington. “Her dedication and enthusiasm is so appreciated. Mary always shows up with a smile and hugs for everyone.”

To continue Mary’s example of DNR volunteerism, consider giving back to the DNR recreation trails or sites that you enjoy most. Visit our website to find a volunteer event near you. For more information about DNR’s volunteer program, visit our website.


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