Out & About

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



Hunter education class slated

WOODLAND — Free youth hunter education will be offered Feb. 6-9 at Woodland High School, 757 Park St.

The class begins at 5:30 p.m. and finishes at 9 p.m. each day.

Students must register online through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/index.html.

For more information, email instructor Mike Ward at safehunter@live.com.

State seeks boating advisers

OLYMPIA — State parks officials are seeking nominations to the Boating Safety Advisory Council.

Three positions are open, representing whitewater kayakers, personal watercraft owners and unaffiliated boaters. The deadline to submit an application is Jan. 20. Appointments will be made by Feb. 8.

In 2012, the council will meet on Feb. 16, May 17, Sept. 20 and Nov. 29.

To request an application, call 360-902-8836 or email wade.alonzo@parks.wa.gov.

State parks offer free days

OLYMPIA — Visitors to Washington state parks will not be required to have a Discover Pass Saturday through Monday.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend will be the first of 10 free days at state parks. The free days only apply to parks. A Discover Pass still is needed to access state Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife lands.

Other free days at state parks will be March 18-19, June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), Sept. 29 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 1-12, Veterans Day weekend.

Most of the state parks free days are in alignment with free days offered by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

Sno-park requirements are not waived for this weekend, despite many sno-parks being on national forest land.

Volcano field seminars slated

Registration is open online for a variety of field seminars planned in 2012 by the Mount St. Helens Institute.

The seminars are open to all ages except for hiking trips into the volcano’s crater. To register, go online to www.mshinstitute.org. Youth age 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The institute will offer guided snowshoe hikes beginning Jan. 28 and climbs to the summit of Mount St. Helens on Fridays and Saturdays in July, August and September.

Among the field seminar topics will be the geology of Ape Cave, biology in the blast zone, edible mushrooms, Ape Canyon, wildlife tracking and the first people of Mount St. Helens.