Activities scheduled to get families outside

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



It’s National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday and Free Fishing Weekend on Saturday and Sunday as local, state and federal agencies try to coax the public into turning off the computer and video and do something active.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, state Department of Natural Resources, Vancouver and Clark County will join for an event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way.

Activities will include a family fun walk, information on recreation opportunities from city parks to the national forests, and demonstrations on bicycling, camping, Dutch Oven cooking, kayaking, climbing, archery, orienteering, disc golf and more.

“Our goal is to get everyone, particularly kids, out into the great outdoors this summer, whether on a national forest trail or in the heart of the city,” said Robin Rose, recreation manager for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The family walk is from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be a backpacking clinic at 12:30 p.m., a birds of prey demonstration from 1 to 3 p.m., an archery demonstration at 1:30 p.m. and a bicycle maintenance clinic at 2 p.m.

The event at the Water Resources Education Center is only part of what’s available this weekend.

This is the annual Free Fishing Weekend in Washington and Oregon.

In Washington, no license is required to fish in any open water nor will vehicle-use permits be needed to park at water-access sites maintained by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish on thousands of lakes statewide, nor will they need the new Columbia River endorsement to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and tributaries.

Other rules such as size limits, bag limits and closures still apply. Anglers also will need a to complete a catch-record card for any salmon, steelhead or sturgeon caught.

Rowland Lake east of Bingen in Klickitat County is getting stocked with 2,200 rainbow trout and Klineline Pond 1,700 rainbow to improve the catch this weekend.

A youth fishing derby is planned from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Merwin Park, 12 miles east of Woodland on Merwin Reservoir.

Activities will include environmental education, fish T-shirt printing, a casting contest, and fishing. There will be prizes, plus free snacks and beverages.

For more information, call the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument at 360-449-7800.

Oregon allows free fishing this weekend anywhere in the state without a license or tag.

At Oregon’s Bonneville Hatchery, a youth fishing event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. There is no advance registration.

The free fishing clinic is for children age 12 and younger. There will be multiple stations where youth can learn about fish and fishing, then fish for 20 minutes at one of several areas stocked with rainbow trout.

About 3,600 fish will be available. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will provide the rods, reels, tackle and bait, along with bags and ice to keep the catch cold. Personal fishing equipment will not be allowed.

Oregon is stocking Benson Lake near Multnomah Falls with 4,000 trout for the weekend.

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