Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The western red-cedar: A 1500 year old giant

July 20, 2015
Western Redceder

Away from the coast, pure groves of redcedar are limited to forested wetlands or sections of alluvial forest in the north Cascades, such as this stand from a swamp in the south Cascades. Photo: DNR

The western red-cedar is a tree that continues to surpass the others. Not only is it the largest tree in the Pacific Northwest, it is also one of the longest lived tree species in western Washington. Some western red-cedars have been recorded to reach 1,500 years of age. (The tree’s name is spelled either red-cedar or redcedar to indicate that it is not a “true” cedar, which grows only in Mediterranean regions.)

The age of a western red-cedar can be roughly estimated by looking at the tree’s crown. For the first several centuries, the top of the red-cedar has a relatively simple crown. However, with age, the crown form changes and candelabra tops – which are often seen in ancient trees – begin to emerge. (See drawing).

Western Redceder Drawing

Changes in crown form of western redcedar over time. Note that trees remain relatively simple for the first several centuries — it is only in great age that the individual character and candelabra tops often seen in ancient stands emerge. Drawing: DNR

Interesting facts like this and more can be found in DNR’s guides for identifying old trees and forests in Washington: Identifying Mature and Old Forests in Western Washington and Identifying Old Trees and Forests in Eastern Washington, both written by Robert Van Pelt, PhD. Both guidebooks are free to download.

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Recreate safely and check your ORV for a spark arrestor

July 19, 2015

This summer, the Pacific Northwest has witnessed a rapid spread of wildfires. Because of this, it is vital that we do all we can to prevent additional fires from damaging our planet, hurting our communities, and putting our loved ones at risk. One simple action that can help prevent wildfires is making sure your off-road vehicle (ORV) has a spark arrestor. A spark arrestor is a small screen or object placed just a few inches inside your muffler and/or silencer. The spark arrestor traps the sparks from your vehicle and keeps them from reaching the ground.  Without a spark arrestor, there is a greater possibility of your ORV starting a wildfire.

DNR Natural Resources Police Officers conduct random checks on off-road vehicles for spark arrestors. Without a spark arrestor, you will be cited and fined. If you cause a wildfire, you are responsible for the suppression costs.

Learn how to check for a spark arrestor by watching the step-by-step video guide above.
Visit our website for more information about safe and fun recreation.

Stay up to date and subscribe to the DNR’s recreation e-newsletter.

Read the state’s rules for spark arrestors.

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As media duel on Cascadia threat, DNR works to keep communities ready

July 14, 2015
Tsunami inundation areas of Washington State. Source: DNR

Tsunami inundation areas of Washington State. Source: DNR

While the New Yorker and the Seattle Times duke it out to see who’s version of a Cascadia subduction zone quake and tsunami is scariest, DNR continues to offer information to help those of us who would be impacted be prepared.

Our Division of Geology and Earth Resources has maps based on modeled scenarios on the Cascadia subduction zone (as well as others like the Seattle and Tacoma faults) that can be used to assess potential danger for communities and to plot evacuation routes.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a 750-mile-long fault that runs from northern California to Vancouver Island where the Juan de Fuca and North American tectonic plates meet.

If and when a quake lets loose another megathrust earthquake, a tsunami surge is expected to slam the coast with 15 to 30 minutes.


DNR finds Atlantis! (no, not that one)

June 22, 2015
DNR contractors remove the Atlantis from Dockton Harbor off Vashon Island. DNR Photo

DNR contractors remove the Atlantis from Dockton Harbor off Vashon Island. DNR Photo

DNR’s business is taking care of state-owned land at the bottom of the sea, so it was inevitable we’d eventually come across Atlantis.

But this version of Atlantis was not Plato’s submerged city in the Atlantic Ocean. Rather, DNR’s Aquatics Restoration Program last week removed a sunken 43-foot sailboat known as the Atlantis from Vashon Island’s Dockton Harbor.

As caretaker of some 2.6 million acres of bedlands, tidelands and shorelands around Washington’s waters, DNR works to restore, enhance and protect the conditions of aquatic environments.

Nearshore environments, which are the land between beach bluffs and deep water, are crucial for many species and vegetation. DNR has volumes of research on the complex ecosystem of nearshore environments.

Removal of the Atlantis is part of the restoration of 450-square-feet of spawning grounds in Dockton Harbor, part of the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve. Global Diving & Salvage of Seattle removed the vessel under a $64,000 contract paid out of DNR’s Large Debris Removal Fund created by the 2012 Jobs Now Act.

If you know of a site with restoration potential, please contact us. DNR Aquatics has three districts across the state. Each has an Aquatics Restoration Manager designated to the Program who can assist you.

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Celebrate Father’s Day at DNR-managed lands

June 21, 2015

Today is a day to thank all our Washington dads. DNR invites you to get outdoors on DNR-managed lands and celebrate with a hike, horseback ride, off-road vehicle ride, mountain bike ride, kayak trip or other outdoor adventure. DNR has more than 140 recreation sites and 1,100 miles of trail for you to enjoy on this special day.

Here are some of our top picks for Father’s Day.

Green Mountain Vista, Green Mountain State Forest, near Bremerton
Enjoy a hike at Green Mountain, the second highest peak on the Kitsap peninsula. It has views of the Olympic Mountains, Seattle skyline, Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier.

Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Mountain biker enjoying the Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest. Photo/ DNR.

Beverly Dunes ORV Area, east of Ellensburg
Looking for off-road-vehicle fun? Head to the Beverly Dunes ORV Area, which has opportunities for all ages to enjoy.

Tiger Summit, Tiger Mountain State Forest, near Issaquah
Love to mountain bike? Visit DNR’s Tiger Summit Trailhead, which provides access to the primarily mountain biking 15-mile trail system.

Dougan Creek, Yacolt Burn State Forest, near Camas
Wow dad with the 100-foot cascading waterfalls of Dougan Creek. The campground and day-use area are near picturesque falls perfect for a sunny day.

Les Hilde, Harry Osborne State Forest, near Sedro-Woolley
Share a trail ride with dad at the Les Hilde Trail system, which provides 40 miles of horseback riding trails.

Cold Springs, Loomis State Forest, Okanogan County

Loomis State Forest was created in 1925 as part of a federal land grant to the Common School Trust—that helps fund construction of our state’s kindergarten through 12th grade public schools. DNR

Cold Springs, Loomis State Forest, near Loomis
At an elevation of 6,100-feet, Cold Springs Campground has views of the Pasayten Wilderness, Snowshoe Mountain, and Chopaka Mountain. The site is  surrounded by forestland with more than 50 miles of trail.

Little River Trail, Olympic Peninsula, near Port Angeles
This non-motorized trail begins just a few miles west of Port Angeles and provides access to Hurricane Ridge and the northern end of Olympic National Park. It winds through old-growth hemlock trees and alpine meadows.

For more ideas about where to go on DNR-managed lands, visit our recreation guide. Check our website for notices before you make the drive.

Don’t forget a Discover Pass, your ticket to Washington’s Great Outdoors. Subscribe to our monthly recreation e-newsletter for more ways to get outdoors.


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FORE! World’s greatest golfers hit Steilacoom links that really “rock”

June 19, 2015
Chambers Bay Golf Course, home to the 2015 U.S. Open, is a reclaimed gravel mine in University Place. The "Ruins" shown above were once used for keeping different sizes of aggregate separate. Photo by Michael D. Martin (Flickr Creative Commons). - See more at:

Chambers Bay Golf Course, home to the 2015 U.S. Open, is a reclaimed gravel mine in University Place. The “Ruins” shown above were once used for keeping different sizes of aggregate separate. Photo by Michael D. Martin (Flickr Creative Commons).

The world’s greatest golfers are swinging for the U.S. Open title at the new Chambers Bay golf course. But the green links-style golf course was once the largest sand and gravel quarry in the world.

As the regulator of Washington’s mining industry, DNR and its Division of Geology and Earth Resources oversaw the reclamation of the mine, which produced some 250 million tons of gravel that was used to build roads, sidewalks and bridges throughout Puget Sound. In fact, the Steilaccom quarry was the first reclamation permit ever issued by Washington.


With wildfire season heating up, DNR wants you to be prepared.

June 10, 2015

Gov. Jay Inslee and Commissioner Goldmark trained for the coming fire season by practicing their fire shelter deployment skills at Capitol Lake June 10. DNR Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee and Commissioner Goldmark trained for the coming fire season by practicing their fire shelter deployment skills at Capitol Lake June 10. DNR Photo

Wildfire season is heating up around Washington State. Firefighters are being dispatched to be ready when fires threaten homes and livelihood. When responding to wildfires at any hour, ensuring the safety of the firefighters and the public is the top priority. Residents who live in areas prone to wildfire should prepare now in case they have to evacuate quickly.

We want to share a message from a longtime nationally recognized Firewise Community/USA to keep you safe this fire season. When your community is threatened by wildfire, sometimes waiting is the hardest part- here’s something you can do to get ready while you wait. The city of Perry Park, Colorado has devised the “P’s of Preparedness” to remember in case an immediate evacuation is required in your area.

  • People and Pets
  • Papers, phone numbers and important documents
  • Prescriptions vitamins and eyeglasses
  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  • Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
  • Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, and cash)
  • Patience

More about preparedness…    

People and pets
When it comes to evacuating your family safely, you need to plan ahead. Do you know at least two routes out of your community? Where is your meeting place and how will you contact each other? Where will your pets stay if you can’t return to your home? Do you have food and water in an emergency kit to keep you, your family, and your pets healthy if you can’t get to supplies? has many publications available to help you get ready for the threat of a fire. Make sure you talk about your disaster plan with your family and practice evacuation drills. Giving tasks to older children can help keep them calm if an emergency strikes and the routine will help everyone evacuate quickly. Post emergency telephone numbers in a visible place and go over what your children should do if they are home alone when an evacuation is ordered. FEMA has great guidelines to help you start your disaster plan and build an emergency preparedness kit today.

Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
If a wildfire strikes your community and you are forced to evacuate, you don’t want to be running around the house looking for all your important documents. Evacuation is emotional enough without you desperately digging through your papers for your husband’s birth certificate. Keep deeds, birth certificates, vehicle titles, and other irreplaceable documents in one location, and look through your papers frequently to make sure everything is up to date.

Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
It can be easy for prescriptions and vitamins to spread across the house with daily use, but during an evacuation pharmacies and drug stores may be closed or out of the items you may need. Keep extra allergy medicine, supplements, vitamins, and prescriptions in a plastic bin or bag that will be easy for you to grab as you hurry out the door. Make sure you include emergency supplies such as diabetes medication, emergency asthma inhalers, and EpiPens in your evacuation kit.

Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
Even during an evacuation, no one wants to fathom the possibility of losing their home to wildfire. Should tragedy occur, the loss will be softened if you can save irreplaceable memorabilia. Your decorative marriage certificate may not have legal importance, but can hold priceless meaning for you and your family. Giving each person in the home a bin to fill with the things they want to take with them will ease the stress and anguish of leaving home behind.

Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
Make a digital copy of family photos, important documents, and business papers that can be downloaded onto an easy-to-carry flash drive or external hard drive. Make sure to back-up household computers in case you have to leave in a hurry. Also, keep any laptops with their chargers so they can be easily loaded for evacuation.

Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, and cash)
It is a very good idea to keep an extra credit card, cash, and a book of checks in the same place you store your important documents. You don’t know how many times you will have to fill your gas tank, or how many nights you may have to stay in a hotel.

Evacuation and the uncertainty that comes with it will be stressful. The process will be easier for everyone involved if they have a familiar system to follow. If you stay calm, it will help keep your children and animals calm as well.

Visit the Firewise FAQs page and the Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program for more information about wildfire safety and what you can do before a fire strikes to be prepared.

Check out the DNR Burn Map to view the fire danger in your area and stay connected with this year’s wildfire season on the DNR_Fire Twitter feed.

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Thank you National Trails Day volunteers

June 9, 2015

Last Saturday we celebrated American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day with work parties at Tiger Mountain State Forest, Blanchard Forest, Capitol State Forest, Elbe Hills State Forest, and BBQ Flats.

We’d like to give a big thank you to our volunteers, and volunteer partners, from around the state who braved the heat to giveback to the recreation sites they enjoy most.


DNR staff, partners, and volunteers joined together for National Trails Day in the Blanchard Forest. Photo/ DNR.

Blanchard Forest
In partnership with the Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, Pacific Northwest Trail Association, and North Cascade Soaring Club, DNR and its volunteers helped to care for the Samish Overlook.

More than 70 volunteers turned out to donate a total of 453 hours to mowing, cutting weeds, repairing trail tread, and picking up litter.


Volunteers work on the Tiger Mountain Trail on National Trails Day, June 6, 2015. Photo/DNR.

Tiger Mountain State Forest
DNR staff, partners from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and about 15 volunteers joined together to clear out a drainage ditch and reinforce part of the Tiger Mountain Trail.

BBQ Flats
DNR staff and volunteers completed Elk Fence at BBQ Flats, a popular horseback riding area near Yakima, in preparation for its opening this summer.

Want to get involved? Visit our volunteer calendar or sign up for our monthly rec e-newsletter for upcoming events.

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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.



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