Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mount Rainier: Landmark is nation’s most potentially-dangerous volcano

May 30, 2015
Mount Rainier looms over much of Washington's major population centers.

Mount Rainier looms over much of Washington’s major population centers.

When we think of volcanos, most of us picture spewing lava or, as in the case of the great Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980, a raining cloud of rock and ash after the volcano blows its top off. But the most devastating result of a volcanic eruption can actually be the lahar: a flood of mud, debris, and water that flows from a volcano when the water stored in snowpack or glaciers (Mount Rainier has plenty of both) is suddenly released.

Mount Rainier feeds 11 different river valleys, including the Puyallup River valley where many cities and towns are built on top of lahar deposits that are only about 500 years old.

To cap Washington’s Volcano Preparedness Month, DNR’s Ear to the Ground takes a look at the nation’s most potentially-dangerous volcano.

Because of its 14,410-feet elevation, massive icecap, glacier-fed valleys, and proximity to Seattle and Tacoma suburbs, Mount Rainier is the most potentially dangerous volcano in the nation — it’s also ranked among the top ten most-most dangerous in the world.


Mount Baker: Hazardous even during snowy slumber

May 27, 2015
Mount Baker's Carmelo Crater at the summit is breached by Roosevelt Glacier, view to the southeast, Washington.

Mount Baker’s Carmelo Crater at the summit is breached by Roosevelt Glacier, view to the southeast, Washington. Photo by John Scurlock for USGS.

Even sleeping beneath tons of snow and ice for the past century-plus, Mount Baker in center Whatcom County poses a number of hazards for the considerable population living in its shadow. The number of glaciers that cover the 10,781-feet tall stratovolcano trails only Mount Rainier in the lower 48.

And though it has been more than 150 years since Mount Baker last erupted, it will again someday, which is why DNR and its Division of Geology and Earth Resources help map, monitor and educate the public, governments and others about its hazards. May is Washington’s Volcano Preparedness Month, and DNR has all you need to know about how the stunning mammoths dominating much of our skyline handle the geothermal pressure bubbling below.


Ehhh, what’s up doc? Diagnosing plant health problems

May 27, 2015
Tree Doctors can come in all ages. Photo DNR

Tree Doctors can come in all ages. Photo DNR

The term “Tree Doctor” implies that such a professional can effectively diagnose a plant health problem and offer advice or prescriptions for resolving it.

Although not known as tree doctors these days, arborists are often called upon by their clients for exactly this service, since diagnosing plant health problems takes specialized knowledge and experience. Some diagnoses are straight-forward when dealing with common problems; however, other plant health issues can be frustrating to diagnose in cases when symptoms are elusive or when circumstances conspire to obscure the signs that something might be wrong.

The best plant health diagnosticians out there will tell you that it takes decades of study and diligent practice to get really good at it – and even then, the most experienced will still consult textbooks and research articles to help verify their conclusions.

So whether you’re a professional looking to beef up your skills on how to triage a tree issue or a homeowner with general concerns about the plants in your yard, consider consulting the following sources that outline the process of plant problem diagnosis:

  1. Article: “Plant Disease Diagnosis” from the American Phytopathological Society (APS).
  2. A companion PowerPoint presentation to the above APS article.
  3. “Diagnosing Plant Problems” as excerpted from the University of Kentucky’s Master Gardener Manual.
  4. “Diagnosing Tree Disorders” from the Colorado State Extension Master Gardner program

“As any doctor can tell you, the most crucial step toward healing is having the right diagnosis. If the disease is precisely identified, a good resolution is far more likely. Conversely, a bad diagnosis usually means a bad outcome, no matter how skilled the physician.”

~Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

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Many ways to give back in the Teanaway

May 24, 2015

Two or three years isn’t long in the life of a tree, but the next several years are likely to be important to a full forest of trees. And not only trees, but the wildlife, people, and entire ecosystems found in the Teanaway Community Forest, too.

If you’re willing to dedicate your time to this landscape by attending monthly or quarterly meetings for the next two or three years, we encourage you to apply to be an advisory committee member. You’d be giving us input on the implementation of a pending forest management plan and working with a diverse array of stakeholders on how to best provide recreation opportunities. Your challenge would be to advise us on how to reflect the varied priorities of the broad cross-section of Washingtonians who cherish and value the Teanaway.Featured image

If this seems like the kind of worthwhile challenge you’d be up for, we invite you to apply by the June 10 deadline.

Another volunteer opportunity is the upcoming Teanaway Campground work party, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on June 3 and 4. Come out and help clean up, build and install picnic tables, and install fire rings so that our three area campgrounds are ready for summer visitors. These volunteer hours also count towards earning a free Discover Pass. RSVP to Stephanie Margheim at 509-925-0984 or

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Washington’s most overlooked mountaintop

May 23, 2015
Glacier Peak

Glacier Peak as seen from the Pacific Crest Trail, September 2013. This image shows the west side of Glacier Peak (elev. 10541 ft.), a young stratovolcano located in the Cascade Range, eastern Snohomish County, Washington. Prominent glaciers are the slightly curved Scimitar Glacier, in the center of the photo, and the Kennedy Glacier, to the left. Image courtesy of Tim Olson and J. Eric Schuster.

May is Volcano Awareness Month in Washington State, and DNR’s Ear to the Ground is featuring one of our state’s five active volcanoes throughout the month.

Today, let’s take a look at Washington’s least-recognized volcano, Glacier Peak.

Located in a wilderness area in eastern Snohomish County, Glacier Peak is not easily visible from any major metropolitan centers, and so the hazards (and attractions) of this 10,451-foot peak may get overlooked. The peak wasn’t known by settlers to be a volcano until the 1850’s, when Native Americans mentioned to naturalist George Gibbs that “another smaller peak to the north of Mount Rainier once smoked.”

Yet, as KING5 recently reported, Glacier Peak has produced larger and more explosive eruptions than any other Washington volcano except Mount St. Helens. Glacier Peak is only 70 miles from Seattle, which puts it closer to the state’s largest metropolitan area than any volcano except Mount Rainier.

Eruptions of Glacier Peak have characteristically produced large volumes of volcanic ash and airborne pumice that could endanger the closest centers of population. The last major eruption of Glacier Peak was around the year 1700.

Glacier Peak hazardsWe want our awareness-raising about Washington State volcano threats to encourage preparation and not raise unnecessary alarm, so here is the very latest on alert levels for Cascade Range volcanoes from the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.

DNR and its Division of Geology and Earth Resources help map, monitor and educate the public, governments and others about geologic hazards, including volcanoes.

Join our discussion on Facebook about your favorite volcano in Washington State.

Sun, fun, and ORVs: Your motorized recreation guide

May 19, 2015

Did you know DNR has more than 400 miles of ORV trails ready for you to explore this summer? Follow this guide to fun and safe motorized recreation and enjoy spending your summer off-road vehicle riding on DNR-managed land.

Use the arrows to navigate or select the "autoplay" button on the bottom right. Full screen recommended.

Use the arrows to navigate or select the “autoplay” button on the bottom right. Full screen recommended.

Have a site in mind? Head to our website to see what’s open and closed.

Want to stay in the loop with DNR’s recreation program? Subscribe to our monthly recreation e-newsletter.

Remember to bring your Discover Pass, your ticket to Washington’s Great Outdoors.

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Mount St. Helens: Today marks 35 years since last big blast

May 18, 2015
Mount St. Helens eruption viewed from an airplane.

On the morning of May 18, 1980, Keith Stoffel, then a DNR employee, took this photo while on a sightseeing flight over Mount St. Helens. It is the only known image of the initial eruption. Stoffel, his wife and the plane’s pilot narrowly escaped the rapidly spreading ash cloud. Photo: Keith Stoffel (c) 2010.

At 8:33 a.m. May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens was a 9,677-foot-tall volcano with a conical shape that lent it the nickname the Mount Fuji of America. One minute later a 5.1 earthquake one mile under the volcano prompted a massive landslide on the volcano’s north flank. Shortly after, an eruption removed the top 1,300 feet as rock and gases were sent out at speeds ranging from 220 to 670 miles per hour, leaving a more-than-2.5-square-mile crater at the mountain’s top.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Mount St. Helens’ eruption.

The initial eruption on that Sunday morning destroyed 230 square miles of national, state and private forests and took 57 lives. Some of those who died from shock waves and clouds of hot ash and superheated gases were more than 10 miles away. Others drowned in rivers swollen by mud flows that spilled down local valleys and river beds. Experts say the loss of life would have been much greater had the eruption occurred on a weekday when many more workers would be in the surrounding forests.


Technology reveals hidden Teanaway

May 15, 2015

Aerial LiDAR surveys help map the Teanaway landscape

Planes zigzagged over the Teanaway Community Forest in April with highly sophisticated instruments on board to see what lies beneath the mountain forests. Using technology called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), the aerial surveys collected detailed information about the condition of the forest and the contours beneath its landscape.

High-quality LiDAR images can provide information on the shape of the ground and the kind of vegetation that covers it. DNR and WDFW staff will use data from the surveys to identify floodplains, steep slopes, and historic landslides, which can help indicate areas of concern. LiDAR imagery can also reveal stream channels and old road or railroad beds. Among other uses, the agencies could, for example, use this information to uncover where a road restricts a stream’s natural movement, and then help determine alternate road routes.

LiDAR data can also reveal the kinds and height of existing tree canopies, which may help reveal priority areas for habitat preservation.

Agency staff are looking forward to using the data to help prioritize future efforts.

Three LiDAR images.

Shown in LiDAR imagery is the main branch of the Teanaway River.

Road graders add to this summer’s scene at Cattle Point

May 13, 2015
Cattle Point NRCA offers beautiful views of the San Juan islands. Photo: Paul McFarland, DNR.

Cattle Point NRCA offers beautiful views of the San Juan islands. Photo: Paul McFarland, DNR.

Spring and summer bring scenic and historic Cattle Point Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) a wide range of unique sights. Joining the more than 40 species of butterflies, 160 species of birds and 150 species of native plants this year, will be giant excavators and road graders.

Erosion continues to take away the coastal bluffs along San Juan Island’s southern point, which has threatened the primary access road to Cattle Point, potentially cutting off access to public and private lands.

San Juan County and the National Park Service, along with the Federal Highway Administration, are realigning the road nearest the bluff. This project is underway now and scheduled for completion by this October. Visitors to the NRCA may experience minor traffic delays to accommodate construction activity. The Mt. Finlayson Trail and nearby roadside viewpoint in the NRCA will be closed during construction, but all other trails in the NRCA remain open.

You can track the progress on the U.S. Department of Transportation website at

At Cattle Point NRCA, visitors will find grasslands, gravelly beaches, dunes, a mature conifer forest and steep bluffs. Cattle Point NRCA consists of two waterfront parcels at the south end of San Juan Island.

On just 112 acres, the NRCA provides a diverse range of geologic features, plant communities and wildlife habitat. The largest portion of the NRCA extends across the tip of the island from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, over the Mount Finlayson ridge and into Griffin Bay. A second parcel is near the U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse and includes an historic building, beach access and a day-use interpretive area. Adjacent to the western edge of the conservation area is the San Juan Island National Historical Park “American Camp” unit.

When visiting San Juan Island, make time to drop by our interpretive site near the Cattle Point Lighthouse. The day-use interpretive area includes parking [remember to bring your Discover Pass], beach access, hiking trails with viewpoints, and a picnic area with restroom. Wildlife is abundant and includes eagles and other birds of prey. Cattle Point offers outstanding views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and surrounding islands.

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Mount Adams: Our most considerate volcano

May 9, 2015
Mount Adams towers over the Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve, which is managed by DNR. Photo: DNR

Mount Adams towers over the Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve, which is managed by DNR. Photo: DNR

With May being Washington’s Volcano Preparedness Month, DNR’s Ear to the Ground thought it a good time for you to get to know our active volcanic neighbors. We start this week with the sleepiest and alphabetically-antecedent of the Cascade volcano peaks, Mount Adams.

At 12,280 feet above sea level, Mount Adams is the second-tallest of Washington’s mountains, trailing only Mount Rainier. Perhaps that has something to do with its less active history. As Mounts St. Helens, Rainier and Hood have spewed over the past few thousand years, causing noise and ruckus for us in the lowlands, Mount Adams has been polite enough to remain relatively quiet.



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