Spring is officially here today and the warmer weather is starting to draw many Washington recreationists out of hibernation. Start making your spring recreation plans with these fun ideas from the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR):
Prepare – What you need to do before heading out to recreate:
- The first stop on your trip should be to visit our recreation page to see what locations are open for the season.
- Get your map before hitting the trails. You’ll stay safer and you might find a new route to check out.
- Sign up for DNR’s e-newsletter and get the insider’s guide to what recreation opportunities your state lands offer (click on the join email list at the top of the page).
- Dust off the hiking boots and review your trail etiquette for happy travels in the forest.
- Don’t forget to purchase your Discover Pass before you head out! It’s your year-long membership to nature’s gym.
Adventure – Make it a memorable spring by trying a new recreation activity this year:
- Paragliding: Soar through the air and enjoy views typically only available to eagles. DNR’s Blanchard Forest has one of the best launch sites in Washington State: Samish Overlook. The overlook offers stunning views of the San Juan Islands, but it also is a place where hikers, paragliders, and equestrian riders work together to preserve this beautiful recreation area. Not into leaving the ground? You can still enjoy the view (and watching the gliders) from the picnic area and get a peek at the experience in this video shared with DNR by a first-time paraglider.
- Mountain biking: DNR-managed Tiger Mountain State Forest has some of the best mountain biking around. The trails open for your biking pleasure this May. Be one of the first of the season to check out the new East Tiger Summit Trail that made its debut last summer. Remember, as far as trail etiquette goes, mountain bikers should always yield to hikers and equestrian riders.
Want another excuse to enjoy the beautiful Snoqualmie Corridor? DNR has a job opening for an Education & Enforcement Specialist for the entire Snoqualmie area. If you love outdoor recreation and enjoy talking to people, this position could allow you to be a professional trail enthusiast.
- ATV or dirt bike riding: Ready to start your engine and rip through the trails? With about 170 miles of multi-use deep woods trails, DNR-managed Tahuya State Forest offers space to practice maneuvering as you learn to handle your bike. Remember, stay on the trails, wear a helmet, and follow all of the laws for operating an off-road vehicle in the woods. Also, make sure you understand your Discover Pass requirements.
- Horseback riding: Looking for a scenic and quiet place to take your novice rider or skittish horse? The 2.5-mile Equine Loop Trail in DNR’s Capitol State Forest was voted our best horse trail and is featured in the new Capitol State Forest map.
Fly fishing: Want to learn to fly fish? Chopaka Lake in Loomis State Forest is a high altitude fly fisherman’s oasis. Anglers frequently reel in high quality rainbow trout on this non-motorized secluded lake. At 3,000 feet elevation you can escape the heat in the summer and camp at one of DNR’s 16 campsites there. Check out photos of Chopaka Lake and start planning your spring fly fishing trip.
Bonus learning activities – take advantage of spring to get involved in Washington State’s outdoor recreation community:
- Forest watch training: Join DNR’s forest watch program and become a resource of friendly information for forest visitors while learning new skills. Get details on our upcoming trainings on March 21 in Tumwater and March 28 in Yakima.
- Volunteer: Teach your kids the value of caring for the state lands they will inherit. View volunteer opportunities on our events calendar and share events with your friends on Facebook. Hours worked can apply toward earning a complimentary Discover Pass.
- Visit Woodard Bay NRCA: Bring friends and family out to experience DNR’s Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA); it recently re-opened to the public on March 15. Woodard Bay NRCA is nestled in South Puget Sound near Olympia and protects native shoreline habitat, much to the delight of bird watchers, nature conservationists, and others who enjoy the beauty and peace of minimally disturbed habitat. See photos of Woodard Bay NRCA on our Flickr page.
Whatever you like to do outdoors, DNR-managed state trust lands offer the playground, classroom, or gym you need to take advantage of nature this spring. Happy trails!
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