Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

8 reasons DNR is thankful for volunteers

November 27, 2014
volunteers building trails

Volunteers help keep DNR-managed recreation sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo: DNR.

Each year, volunteers of all ages put in 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. Either way, we’re happy to get the help.

At DNR, we’re thankful to all of those who:

  1. Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom to keep these invasive plants 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. Helped DNR keep campgrounds open to the public by becoming a volunteer camp host.
  8. …. and the many, many other activities that rely on the efforts of volunteers.

Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR

To all of you, our sincere thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving.

Got some time this winter? Plan to do some good for the DNR-managed lands you love! Check the DNR Volunteer Calendar to find opportunities to give back.

Ready for some harvest-season service? Join our volunteer work parties in NW WA this month.

October 15, 2014

boy scout volunteers

Here at DNR, we rely on volunteers for a number of things. Our wonderful volunteers help:


Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR

Head (North) West 
This month, some of our northwest lands need your volunteer help in hiking, horseback riding, paragliding, and off-road vehicle (ORV) areas. If you’re looking to build some trail karma, work off some steam outdoors, or just lend a hand–we’ve got the event for you.

October 18 – Anderson Mountain
BURLINGTON: Join DNR, the Skagit Whatcom Island Trail Maintenance Organization (SWITMO) and other volunteers to complete trail maintenance on the Anderson Mountain portion of the Pacific Northwest Trail.

October 18 – Harry Osborne
SEDRO WOOLLEY: Join DNR staff, the Skagit Chapter of Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, and other volunteers to help install new trail gravel on the Les Hilde Trail in Harry Osborne State Forest.

October 18 – Samish Overlook
BELLINGHAM: Join DNR staff and North Cascades Soaring Club at a work party to clean up Samish Overlook. Come help improve drainage on trails and around the day-use area.

October 25 – Reiter Foothills
GOLDBAR: Join DNR staff and other volunteers to enhance the Motorcycle Trials Trail Area and work other ORV trail projects.

October 26 – Walker Valley
MOUNT VERNON: Join DNR staff, members of the Northwest Motorcycle Association, and other volunteers to work on the Webfoot trail. Come do trail maintenance, use hand tools, put down gravel, and help repair this trail which has been closed due to logging activity and trail wear.

Volunteers move big rock

Together, volunteers move big rock at a trail maintenance event.  Photo: DNR

Get details
Find directions, who to contact, and details on the DNR Volunteer Calendar.

Volunteers get rewards!
If you participate in any of the volunteer events listed above you get a voucher towards a free Discover Pass. Collect enough vouchers to show you’ve volunteered 24-hours of approved work time and you can turn them in for an Annual Discover Pass (good for an entire year of playing on DNR-managed lands.)

Learn more about all DNR volunteer opportunities on our webpage:

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Tiger Mountain trail re-route means a more sustainable trail

October 6, 2014

DNR has something to celebrate as agency staff, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and Puget SoundCorps crews successfully re-routed a half-mile segment of the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT) located in the West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA).

Tiger Mountain trail re-route

This half-mile trail re-route is more sustainable and opens more miles of access to trail visitors.
Click map for larger view.

Small change, big effort, huge difference
The re-routed trail segment, located around 4 miles from the High Point Trailhead accessed from Exit #20 of Interstate 90, was moved to a more sustainable alignment after flooding caused irreparable trail erosion damage.

In addition, a 50-foot-long trail bridge was relocated to an upstream location in order to complete the project.

The new trail segment officially opened late in September and is part of the roughly 15-mile length TMT originally built by the Issaquah Alps Trails Club.

West Tiger Mountain NRCA bridge

The new bridge and trail segment brings a better experience for hikers.
Photo by: Sam Jarrett/DNR

“Relocating this remote trail segment to a more sustainable location will help ensure long-term TMT connectivity, while providing a primitive hiking and trail running experience for visitors,” said Sam Jarrett, DNR Snoqualmie Corridor Recreation Manager.

The project was funded through storm disaster relief funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Tiger Mountain needs your help!
Volunteers are needed to continue maintaining and repairing hiking trails within the West Tiger Mountain NRCA.

DNR has coordinated upcoming volunteer trail maintenance work parties with the Washington Trails Association (WTA), beginning this fall.

West Tiger Mountain NRCA

Join the crew and help maintain trails on Tiger Mountain.
Photo by: Sam Jarrett/DNR

To get involved, please check the WTA volunteer calendar for more information and to sign-up for upcoming volunteer trail work opportunities.

DNR volunteers help the agency build and maintain recreation opportunities. They also help out by becoming a camp host or member of our Forest Watch team. For more information on DNR volunteer opportunities across the state visit

Visit West Tiger Mountain NRCA
Learn more about recreation in the West Tiger Mountain NRCA area and learn what’s open and closed by visiting our website.

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Celebrate going back to school in nature’s classroom

September 8, 2014

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.


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 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

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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
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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