Celebrate National Picnic Day with DNR

April 23, 2015

Today is National Picnic Day and we’re celebrating with a roundup of recreation opportunities on DNR-managed land sure to be the perfect setting for a picnic. Read on to find a site near you.

Hikers enjoy the view from Samish Overlook, the gateway to Oyster Dome Trail. Photo: Diana Lofflin, DNR

Hikers enjoy the view from Samish Overlook, the gateway to Oyster Dome Trail. Photo: Diana Lofflin, DNR

Samish Overlook, Blanchard Forest, Skagit County 
At an elevation of 1,300 feet, Samish Overlook has stunning views of the San Juan Islands and Skagit Valley. Enjoy a picnic lunch as you watch hang gliders and paragliders take off and soar over Skagit Valley.

Murdock Beach, Olympic Region, near Port Angeles 
Murdock Beach, located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, gives visitors a view of Vancouver Island. This is the only public beach access for 12 miles between Camp Hayden and the East Twin River.

Beaver Creek, Elbe Hills State Forest, near Elbe
Beaver Creek Trailhead, in the Elbe Hill State Forest, provides visitors with access to non-motorized trails. There are also high lines for horses. The forested setting is perfect for a picnic.

Douglas falls campground

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

Douglas Falls Grange Park and Campground, near Colville 
The 120-acre Douglas Falls Grange Park is surrounded by mountains of rocky bluffs and conifer forests. Mill Creek runs through the campground with a 60-foot waterfall. Enjoy a picnic at its day-use area.

Merrill Lake Campground, Merrill Lake Natural Resources Conservation Area, near Cougar 
Merrill Lake Campground includes a lake formed by a volcano. Merrill Lake also has catch-and-release fly-fishing, non-motorized boating and a 1-mile interpretive trail through mature trees.

Beverly Dunes Recreation Area,  near Beverly 
Beverly Sand Dunes offers ORV riders a dose of excitement.  Enjoy a picnic at one of its 11 campsites.

Have another area in mind? Before you make the drive, check our website to see what’s open and closed. Make sure to bring a Discover Pass to continue celebrating recreation on DNR-managed land all year long.

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

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The Washington Geology Library’s best kept secret

April 16, 2015

3-20-2015 3-32-53 PM

In honor of National Library Workers day, DNR would like to celebrate Stephanie Earls of the Washington Geology Library (WGL). Stephanie has worked with the WGL for the past two years, a position that seamlessly incorporates her own unique background in geology and library sciences.

The WGL was created in 1935 by way of legislation for the Division of Mines and Mining, a predecessor of the Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources. The library provides support to the employees of DNR, but is also open to the public, government agencies (federal, state, and local), geotechnical consultants, and the academic community.

Library Resources

A number of unique services are available at the Washington Geology Library, and Stephanie extends a personal invitation to the public to explore the various resources available. Whether you are looking for specific information on geologic hazards or mining, or you harbor general curiosities about the landscape in your community, the library is a useful resource.

Services include:

  • Reference/research/public information geologist
  • Circulation (DNR employees only)
  • Scanning maps/documents into digital format
  • Aid with online tools: Division of Geology Interactive Geologic Map Portal & USGS National Geologic Map Database
  • Aid in finding obscure items

Catalogue collections

Along with the numerous services it provides, the Washington Geologic Library houses an impressive collection of more than 50,000 titles. These include books, maps, reports, journal articles, theses/dissertations, and more.

Topics include:006

  • general geology
  • geologic hazards
  • mining
  • soils
  • Environmental Impact Statements
  • watershed analyses
  • private consulting reports

Publishers:

  • Government (federal, state, and local)
  • private consulting firms
  • universities

Maps:

  • Geologic hazards – landslide, tsunami inundation zones, earthquake faults
  • topographic
  • coal map mine collection
  • coastal zone atlas

The library also offers access to the online database GeoRef, and The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program Library.

For more information on the Washington Geologic Library, take a look at the website, or for those adventurous types, visit the library in room 174 at the Natural Resources Building at 1111 Washington Street S.E. in Olympia.

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Fast walking can help you survive a tsunami; DNR has maps to show you where to walk

April 15, 2015
Tsunami inundation areas of Washington State. Source: DNR

Tsunami inundation areas of Washington State. Source: DNR

As reported by the Seattle Times Tuesday, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the risk people living on the Northwest coast face from tsunamis and found some 80 percent of us could escape the waves; more if we walk faster.

If and when the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile-long fault that runs from northern California to Vancouver Island, lets loose another megathrust earthquake, a tsunami surge is expected to slam the coast with 15 to 30 minutes.

The study, led by geographer Nathan Wood of the U.S. Geological Survey, found Aberdeen and Hoquiam had the highest concentration of people at risk from a Cascadia tsunami, with 20,000 people living in the area.

Good news, though, as the study also found 90 percent of those people would have enough time to find higher ground walking at an average rate. Sped up, even more would find refuge on the area’s high ground.

DNR has mapped the way

DNR’s Geology and Earth Resources Division, the state’s official geologic survey, is helping Washington communities identify how they are vulnerable to tsunamis to create innovative strategies for dealing with that threat.

We’ve mapped model tsunamis to show where waves would likely strike after a Cascadia quake, identified evacuation routes, and helped communities without the high ground that could provide refuge to Aberdeen residents, create higher ground of their own.

Find your best routes

Want to find the best evacuation routes for your community? Our Geologic Information Portal has a tsunami layer that shows tsunami hazard zones, evacuation routes, and assembly areas. Use the address locator tool to find evacuation routes and assembly areas near your home, school or workplace.

Using our interactive maps, you can create, save, and print custom maps, find more information about map features, and download map data for use in a geographic information system (GIS). In addition to a variety of geoscience layers that can be turned on and off, each interactive map has many base layers to choose from, so you can customize your map in any number of ways.

Here’s a 2-page fact sheet to help you get the most out of the Washington State Geologic Information Portal.

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Here comes wildfire season – how will you prepare?

April 14, 2015
Firefighters are constantly on the look out to stay save when they battle a wildfire.  Photo DNR

Firefighters are constantly on the look out to stay safe when they battle a wildfire. Photo DNR

With the potential for another extreme wildfire season, it makes sense to be prepared.

Wildfire season officially begins on April 15 in Washington state, and with it, the risk of wildfires throughout the entire western half of the United States.

Because of the inevitable fire season and weather models showing another hot, dry summer, DNR is offering a series of wildfire preparedness meetings in eastern Washington.

The meetings are aimed at helping residents in fire-prone areas of the state think ahead and prepare for wildfire season.

DNR officials want to share current weather predictions for the upcoming wildfire season and explain how to protect homes, property, and communities. You’ll be able to ask questions and get information about grants to help clear vegetation and trees to reduce fire hazards, how to sign up as a DNR wildfire contractor, and how you can most effectively contribute to your area’s safety. There will be representatives from local fire districts, local law enforcement, federal agencies, conservation districts, and others.

Each event is free. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Outreach meeting schedule – all meetings are 6:30-8:30 p.m.:

  • Twisp, April 22

Methow Valley Community Center, 201 Methow Street, Twisp

  • Omak, April 23

Okanogan Fairgrounds, 175 Rodeo Trail Road, Okanogan

  • Lyle, April 30

Lyle High School Gymnasium, 625 Keasey Avenue, Lyle

  • Wenatchee, May 7

Wenatchee Community Center, 504 S. Chelan Avenue, Wenatchee

  • Colville, May 14

Steven’s County Sheriff Ambulance Building, 425 N. Hwy, Colville

  • Yakima, May 21

Yakima County Fire District 12, 10000 Zier Road, Yakima

If you need additional information, please contact Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan at 360-902-1317 or Megan.Fitzgerald-McGowan@dnr.wa.gov.

Wildfires are costly and can damage natural resources, destroy homes, and threaten the safety of the public and the firefighters who protect forests and communities. In fact, there have already been 60 forest fires reported in 2015 on lands protected by DNR.

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Down log denizens

April 12, 2015
down log near Forks

This large down log near Forks continues to provide valuable habitat. Note the animal pathway under log’s edge and the vegetation growing out of the log. Photo: Ken Bevis/DNR.

Once a tree dies there is still a lot of life left in it. In fact, dead wood can provide some species with more habitat value than living wood.

While standing trees are excellent habitats for many species, standing trees that are dead can provide even more habitat opportunities. And when a tree falls over, becoming a down log. it will likely play an even bigger role in the local ecosystem. Because of our excellent climate for growing trees in the Pacific Northwest and the slow nature of decay, down logs are particularly important to our forests. They help recycle nutrients into the soil, retain moisture in dry seasons, provide structure for plants to live on, and create essential habitat structure in streams.

Down logs also provide important habitats for many wildlife species, from the smallest shrew or wren to the black bear. In Washington state, forest practices rules recognize the ecological importance of down wood and require retention of some down wood after a timber harvest.

Read more about down logs, how they are formed and the species they help support in the latest issue of Forest Stewardship News, a free, quarterly e-newsletter published by DNR and Washington State University Forestry Extension.

Subscribe to Forest Stewardship Notes — it’s free!

Own more than 10 acres forestland or just an acre or two trees? Check out the advice and assistance available from the DNR Forest Stewardship Program and the Small Forest Landowner Office.

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Get outside and give back this weekend

April 10, 2015
Samish Overlook

Year-round, volunteers help keep DNR-managed rec sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo by: DNR/Rick Foster

Coming up short on weekend plans? Consider giving back to recreation areas on DNR-managed lands.

Each year volunteers give their time to care for our 140-plus recreation sites. At 75,780 hours, last year our best year for volunteerism ever.

We’d like to give a big thank you to our volunteers. To get involved, find a volunteer event near you this weekend:

Yacolt Burn Motorized Trail Building, near Vancouver
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 10 – April 19

Little Pend Oreille ORV Annual Trail Clean-up, near Colville
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10 and April 11

Rock Creek Spring Clean-up, near Vancouver
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11

Oyster Dome Work Party, in Skagit County
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 11

Walker Valley Public Outreach Party and Annual Garbage Clean-up, near Mount Vernon
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11

Tiger Mountain Trail Maintenance, near Issaquah
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11

Wildfire Awareness and Campground Clean-up, near Yakima
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11

Oyster Dome Work Party, in Skagit County
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 12

Head to our volunteer calendar for more information. Want to stay in-the-loop with DNR’s recreation program? Subscribe to our e-newsletter today.

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Check out DNR’s newest trail map: Walker Valley ORV Area

April 9, 2015

Headed to Walker Valley ORV Area near Mount Vernon? Check out our brand new trail map of the 36-mile system. Walker Valley is a hub for ORV recreation. It has opportunities for 4×4, ATV, motorcycles, and even mountain bikers and hikers.

Walker Valley ORV Area, near Mount Vernon, is a 36-mile trail system with 4x4, motorcycle, and even mountain biking and hiking opportunities. Photo/ DNR.

Walker Valley ORV Area, near Mount Vernon, is a 36-mile trail system with 4×4, motorcycle, and even mountain biking and hiking opportunities. Photo/ DNR.

Walker Valley also has regional views of north Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.

Walker Valley ORV Area, near Mount Vernon, is a 36-mile trail system with 4x4, motorcycle, and even mountain biking and hiking opportunities. Photo/ DNR.

Walker Valley ORV Area, in Skagit County, is a multi-use recreation destination. Photo/ DNR.

Check out our trail maps Web page for other DNR recreation areas near you. Have another site in mind? Before making the drive, check our website to see what’s open and closed.

To stay in the loop with DNR’s recreation program, sign up for our e-newsletter.

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Hurray for Arbor Day; do you live in a ‘Tree City USA’?

April 8, 2015
It takes all kinds of help to plant trees in celebration of Arbor Day. Photo: Linden Lampman/DNR

It takes all kinds of help to plant trees in celebration of Arbor Day. Photo: Linden Lampman/DNR

Today is Arbor Day, a celebration of trees and all the great things they do for us in “The Evergreen State.” Washington State Arbor Day is always celebrated on the second Wednesday, April 8 this year as proclaimed by Governor Jay Inslee.

However, Arbor Day is more than just a celebration of trees. It’s a celebration of responsible natural resource management.

Salmon streams that DNR protects in native forestlands flow out of the foothills, across the landscape, and ultimately through one or more of Washington’s cities. Urban areas are where streams, shellfish beds, and fragile nearshore habitats are most threatened by stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation, toxic pollutants, low oxygen levels, and climate fluctuations.

As foresters we recognize that trees are erosion reducers, pollution mitigators, water purifiers, climate stabilizers, and carbon sinks. The practice of forestry in cities offers practical, low-cost, natural resource-based solutions to many environmental problems that affect our daily lives in Washington. Planting a tree in a city is an act restoration. Caring for urban trees is an act of stewardship. Cultivating an urban forest is natural resource management.

Sixty percent of Washingtonians live in an incorporated municipality, and approximately 90 percent of the State’s population lives in an area identified as “urban” by the 2010 census. There are 86 Tree City USA Communities in Washington and nearly 50 percent of Washington’s population lives in a Tree City USA.

Tree City USA is a national award from the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes cities and towns for making a commitment to plant, protect, and maintain their trees. At DNR we celebrate Arbor Day in partnership with local communities across the state that have earned the Tree City USA® award. Find out if your city is a Tree City USA, as there may be special programs to celebrate trees in your community this month.

If your city isn’t part of the Tree City USA Program, contact your city officials to help them plan Arbor Day celebrations next year. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, Tree City USA® provides technical assistance and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities.

DNR provides assistance and support to many forest landowners, including Washington’s cities and towns. The agency’s work in urban forestry helps protect natural resources, engage urban residents in forest stewardship, and preserve the environmental character of our state.

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Small forest landowners: Learn how the FFFPP can help you

April 3, 2015

Are you a small forest landowner? Do the roads on your land block or damage fish habitat?

The Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) is a DNR program targeted specifically to small forest landowners. The program helps landowners eliminate structures (improperly installed road culverts, for example) that prevent fish from moving freely through the stream or reaching spawning grounds. FFFPP was introduced in 2003, and has since helped more than 200 small forest landowners correct 343 barriers, reconnecting over 760 miles of stream fish habitat.

Any small forest landowner is eligible to enroll in the program and apply to have their land evaluated. Once landowners are accepted into the program, they are relieved of the responsibility to fix the barrier and will remain on the list until the state is able to fund and complete the repairs.

This video shows landowners who have used the program, explains the benefits of participating in FFFPP and how to apply.

For more information, contact Laurie Cox via email (laurie.cox@dnr.wa.gov) or phone (360-902-1404).

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The Great Gravel Pack-In by horse or horsepower

April 1, 2015

Ever wondered what it’s like to participate in the Capitol State Forest’s Great Gravel Pack-In? Check out the following clips and become part of a pack train with Ruby, a 7-year-old quarter horse ridden by Cherri Wright. Or, take a spin atop a Yamaha Grizzly 700 with Troy Braley.

Both Ruby and the Grizzly were Great Gravel Pack-In first-timers, though this year marks the event’s 10-year anniversary. Through their efforts, and with the help of sponsors Back Country Horsemen of Washington, the Washington ATV Association and Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club, volunteers and their chosen beasts of burden moved nearly 15,000 pounds of gravel to repair a mile-and-a-half section of trail on Saturday.

The event showcases the combined efforts of all-terrain vehicle riders, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers, who come together to care for the trails they love most. Over the last 10 years Great Gravel Pack-In volunteers have reinforced more than 13 miles of trail in Capitol State Forest.

If it looks like fun, we hope you’ll be like Ruby and the Grizzly and join us next year for your first Great Gravel Pack-In, too.

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