Rec alert: Temporary Monday – Thursday closure at McLane Creek for trail improvements

February 18, 2015
McLane Creek Washington Conservation Corps

Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crews work on the boardwalk at McLane Creek. Photo: DNR

McLane Creek, a popular Capitol State Forest day-use site, will be closed Monday through Thursday for about three weeks as DNR staff and Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crews are hard at work strengthening structures and improving trails there.

Aquatic Land Enhancement Account (ALEA) grants from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) are funding these improvements, which will maintain access to this well-loved site for years to come.

McLane Creek

McLane Creek is a popular day-use site in the Capitol State Forest. Photo: DNR

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope you will take time to visit other Capitol State Forest sites. During this time, McLane Creek is still open Fridays and weekends.

Before heading out, please check what sites are open and closed on DNR’s Web page.

We invite you to stay connected through DNR’s Recreation News e-newsletter.

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What role can garden centers play in fire prevention?

February 17, 2015


You can reduce the risk of wildfire by choosing fire resistant plants and knowing where to place them in your garden. The good news is that you’re not limited to just a few plants. There is a plethora of fire resistant plants available.

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Is it cherry season yet?

February 16, 2015

No, these little green things aren’t grapes. They are actually maturing Chelan cherries, a dark-sweet cherry variety that will eventually turn dark red once they are fully ripe.

February brings with it a certain aroma. A sweet, pink-tinged scent that glides through the streets, floating    around heads and pulling back, a tickle at the edge of our nostrils. This strange and exhilarating phenomenon is the phantom manifestation of the promise for cherries. That’s right, February is National Cherry Month! Despite Valentine’s Day stealing the weekend spotlight, pink and red foiled chocolate hearts have some competition for favored treat this season against the sweet, succulent, slowly ripening Washington cherries.

Many farmers grow and harvest cherry orchards on DNR–managed lands throughout the state. Currently, DNR has 17 leases with cherry orchards in various counties throughout Washington spanning across 1,014 acres of state trust lands. These orchards produce about 7,228 tons of harvested cherries each year.

Even though National Cherry Month is celebrated in February, cherries aren’t actually harvested on state trust land orchards until June or July. Farmers harvest two types of cherries in summer: tart or sour cherries, and sweet cherries. Washington state is one of the largest producers of sweet cherries in the nation.

Washington sweet cherry varieties
Dark-sweet cherries – These cherries are usually dark red, mahogany, or near black in color outside, and purple or deep red inside. These round or heart shaped berries are firm and slightly crunchy, releasing plenty of juice when bitten into or crushed. Dark-sweet cherries can be eaten fresh, frozen, baked in desserts, or mixed in salads. Popular varieties are: Brooks, Chelan, Garnet, Sequoia, Bing, Lapins, Skeena, Sweetheart, and Staccato cherries

Rainier cherries – The colorful kid sister of dark-sweet cherries, Rainier cherries are a vibrant yellow-orange color with hints of red blush and occasional light brown “sugar spots” on the skin. These cherries are larger than dark-sweet cherries and have a near translucent interior. Rainier cherries are best when eaten fresh or used as garnish for salads and drinks.

Royal Anne cherries – Similar to Rainier cherries, Royal Anne, or Queen Anne cherries are bright yellow and red in appearance. With a light and honeyed flavor, they can be eaten fresh much like Rainier cherries. Royal Anne cherries, however, are widely known for their use in making maraschino cherries. They are also great for canning and baking desserts.

There is no question that cherry orchards on state trust lands produce some of the most delectable cherries in the country, and these cherries generate approximately $435,845 in revenue and $96,583 in cash rents. Learn more about farming state trust lands. Sign up for DNR’s The Dirt e-newsletter here.

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DNR honors volunteer stewardship

February 15, 2015

This week our friends the in the northeast region and partners at the Okanogan Valley Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Washington lost a dear volunteer, David Swanberg.

Cold Springs, Loomis State Forest, Okanogan County

Loomis State Forest, near Loomis, offers many recreation opportunities in DNR’s Northeast Region. Photo: DNR

David dedicated much of his time caring for DNR trails, including those in the Loomis State Forest.

We honor David’s stewardship and the contributions so many volunteers make to maintain our state’s public lands and trails.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with DNR

February 13, 2015

This year, make lasting memories with quality time together at one of our most-loved recreation sites.

A gorgeous view from Tiger Mountain NRCA. Photo DNR

A gorgeous view from Tiger Mountain NRCA. Photo DNR

Tiger Summit, Tiger Mountain State Forest, near Issaquah
Tiger Mountain is a unique, multi-use destination located close to Seattle. It offers exciting mountain bike trails, diverse hiking experiences, paragliding launches and horseback riding opportunities.

DNR staff, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, and volunteers created new mountain bike trails in 2012 and have continued to add more since.

Samish Bay Overlook

View of Samish Bay from the Samish Overlook and Day-Use Area, managed by DNR. Photo DNR.

Samish Overlook, Blanchard Forest, near Edison
At an elevation of 1,300 feet, Samish Overlook, offers stunning views of the San Juan Islands and Skagit Valley, and provides access for hikers, equestrian riders and mountain bikers to explore the Blanchard Forest Block.

The overlook is also a popular jumping-off spot for hang gliders and paragliders. Each year, an estimated 40,000 visitors come to Samish Overlook to picnic and enjoy the view. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the same view as they move north up the trail to Oyster Dome or east through the Chuckanut Mountains.

Washington State trust lands on the Olympic Peninsula. Photo: DNR

Washington State trust lands on the Olympic Peninsula. Photo: DNR

Coppermine Bottom, Olympic Peninsula
Along the Clearwater River, Coppermine Bottom Campground offers its visitors a secluded and primitive campground to enjoy the Olympic Peninsula.

Many of the sites have access or trails to the river, which is banked with cottonwood trees. The campground also offers visitors a hand-carried boat launching area for fishing.

Tunerville Campground, Pacific Cascade Region, near Naselle
Tunerville campground, located northeast of Naselle in Pacific County, is highly valued among equestrians.

This wooded campground has four camp sites, two spurs for parking, two corrals and one vault toilet.

Before you go, visit DNR’s guide to recreation to keep trips safe and fun. To stay in the know about all things DNR recreation, sign up for DNR Recreation News e-newsletters.

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Planting for success

February 9, 2015

Here are six tips from a DNR urban forester on how to properly care for your trees. Well-cared-for trees provide a lifetime of benefits.

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DNR is taking applications for 2015 camp hosts

February 8, 2015

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

Merrill Lake

Become a camp host for DNR and enjoy a summer basking in nature. Photo by: DNR

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

Host responsibilities include:

  • Be professional, friendly, and polite when interacting with the public.
  • Provide rules and information and rules to campers and visitors.
  • Register overnight campers.
  • Patrol campground and recreational areas.
  • Regularly inspect campground restrooms, picnic shelters, campsites, campfire pits and boat launch areas.
  • Report vandalism, illegal or abusive behavior.

Pick your site today!

Douglas falls campground

Douglas Falls Campground offers a volunteer camp host site, campsites and a day-use area. Photo: DNR

Douglas Falls Campground, Northeast Region
This 120-acre park site was deeded to DNR by the Stevens County Pomona Grange in 1975. The park offers day use areas, a group shelter with ball fields, a viewing area of Douglas Falls, and walking trails with a foot bridge across Mill Creek.

Starvation Lake Campground

Starvation Lake Campground is located just 15 miles from Colville in Stevens County and is managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Photo: DNR

Starvation Lake, Northeast Region
A quiet, 15-acre campground adjacent to Starvation Lake. Enjoy this select fishing lake nestled between private and state trust lands within close proximity of the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Area. Activities in the area include hiking, bicycling, boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, and other wildlife viewing.

Ahtanum State Forest view

View of Mount Rainier from Ahtanum State Forest. Photo: DNR

Ahtanum Campground, Ahtanum State Forest, Southeast Region
Located in the Ahtanum State Forest and nestled next to the pristine North Fork River, the Ahtanum campground is a highly used recreation area hosting off-road recreation, hiking, and horseback trails during the recreation season. Winter recreation opportunities include snowshoeing, sledding, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Want to apply? Visit DNR’s campground host Web page for more information and a list of available camp host sites.

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Stay up to date with DNR: Try E-News

February 7, 2015


Want to learn more about Washington State DNR news and events? DNR has an online database of e-newsletter collections that are available to the general public at no cost.


  • Forest Stewardship Notes – Published 3-4 times a year, this newsletter provides information on products, services, and resources regarding private forestland in Washington.
  • Recreation E-News (DNR) – Learn about volunteer opportunities, developing issues, and events taking place on DNR-managed state trust lands.
  • Recreation News from DNR’s NW Region – Along with providing updates on Reiter Foothills Forest, this newsletter contains information and announcements about recreation and events on state trust lands in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties.
  • Small Forest Landowner News – Perfect for woodland owners interested in managing their lands for economic and ecological sustainability.
  • Teanaway Community Forest News – This e-newsletter provides information on Washington’s first state-managed community forest, including the latest community forest news updates and developments.
  • The Dirt: Farming for the School Trust – An e-newsletter that is released 4 times a year, The Dirt provides information about Washington state trust lands in agriculture. Topics include: agriculture land management, public lease auctions, grazing, irrigation, and many others.
  • Tree Link – This newsletter contains all things relating to urban and community forestry, with information for community members, local governments, and anyone interested in learning about arboriculture.
  • Washington State Geology News – Here, readers can find information on news and events from the Washington State Geological Survey at DNR. Topics include earthquakes, landslides, geologic maps, mining, volcanoes, and more.

Signing up for the e-newsletters is quick and easy. Go to our subscription page, enter your email address, and check off the e-newsletters you would like to receive. Be sure to activate your subscription by clicking on the verification code that will be sent to the email address you provided.

Once signed up, you are able to self-manage your newsletters, choose how many e-newsletters you would like to receive, update your preferences as needed, provide your own address changes, and unsubscribe anytime you choose by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email.

In an effort to respect readers and their privacy, our lists are never sold. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the DNR e-newsletter community, you can get more information and sign up here.

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Take a look at DNR’s weekend work party line-up

February 6, 2015

Want to head outdoors this weekend? Lend a hand at the DNR recreation areas you love most! Find an event in your area:

Capitol State Forest

Volunteers clear brush on a trail in Capitol State Forest. Photo: DNR/Christine Redmond

Friends of Capitol Forest Work Party, Capitol State Forest near Olympia
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7
Join DNR staff and Friends of Capitol Forest to perform drainage work and trail shaping on the Porter Trail from Wedekind to the Porter Creek Trail entrance.

Bradley ORV Work Party, near Longview
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7
Join DNR staff and Dirt Church ATV for rock hauling, rock placement and trail hardening.

Volunteers work on trails in the Jones Creek Off-road Trail System in the Yacolt Burn State Forest.

Volunteers work on trails in the Jones Creek Off-road Trail System in the Yacolt Burn State Forest. Photo:Jessica Kimmick

Tarbell Thrillium Work Party, Yacolt Burn State Forest, near Vancouver, WA
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7
Join DNR staff and partners from Cold Creek Mountain Bikers for trail maintenance and water management. Chainsaw training for volunteers will also be conducted.

Larch Mountain Trail Work Party, Capitol State Forest, near Olympia
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7
Join DNR staff and partners from Washington ATV for trail maintenance and evaluating.

Tiger Mountain and Poo Poo Point Work Party, Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issaquah
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8
Join DNR staff and Washington Trails Association for trail repair and drainage maintenance on Poo Poo Point and Section Line trails.

For more information, visit DNR’s Volunteer Calendar. Be the first to know about upcoming recreation events and developments by subscribing to DNR Recreation’s e-newsletter!


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Hard rain can trigger landslides. What’s your community’s risk?

February 6, 2015

CaptureHeavy rains often cause localized flooding and higher river levels, but prolonged, intense rain like that which swept western Washington last night and this morning increases the chances of landslides.

In any given year, Washington can see hundreds, if not thousands of landslides.

Rainwater can infiltrate the ground, causing western Washington’s porous, sandier topsoil to weaken and slide off a base of firmer, impermeable clay. The steepness of eastern Washington slopes are also vulnerable to landslides. (Timothy Walsh, DNR Chief Hazards Geologist, explains in this video.)

In an effort to give communities a rating of how rainfall may increase the threat of landslides, Washington State Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with the National Weather Service to provide a map showing the risk of shallow landslides.

Updated every morning, the Shallow Landslide Hazard Map uses rainfall data from the previous 48 hours along with the Weather Service’s forecast rainfall for the next 24 hours to determine how high the hazard might be.

The map does not predict landslides at any particular time or location, but is intended to raise awareness of shallow landslide hazards caused by periods of prolonged rainfall. Landslides may occur in counties that have a low hazard rating and may not occur in all or any areas at high hazard

It is still in beta mode, so timely delivery of data is not guaranteed.

Warning signs of an impending landslide

If you live on or near a steep slope, here are some warning signs of potential slope instability:

  • Cracks forming in your yard, driveway, sidewalk, foundation or in other structures.
  • Trees on slopes, especially evergreens, start tilting.
  • Doors and windows suddenly become more difficult to open or close.
  • Water begins seeping from hillsides, even during dry weather.

If you see any of these early signs of a potential landslide, immediately contact your city or county.

Useful links

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