Out & About

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter



Meeting set June 14 to discuss state parks

CHINOOK — A public meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. June 14 at Fort Columbia State Park’s theater to discuss the future of Washington’s state parks system.

The meeting at Fort Columbia will the last of nine around Washington in May and June.

Staff of the state Parks and Recreation Commission is talking with the public, state lawmakers and others seeking ideas. Among the questions are should state parks operate like an enterprise-based hospitality industry, a public conservation asset mostly on grant and tax funding or as free-standing community non-profit entities.

Individuals and organizations wishing to join the email list for updates on the process may contact strategic.planning@parks.wa.gov or call 360-902-8504.

Conifers to be thinned in Columbia Gorge

BINGEN — Thinning of conifer trees in the Catherine Creek, Major Creek and Burdoin Mountain areas of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is planned in the next eight months to restore the oak stands.

Work is scheduled in upper Catherine Creek and upper Major Creek adjacent to Courtney Road, along Atwood and Cook roads and on Tracey Hill.

Small-diameter vegetation will be piled for eventual burning. Helicopters will be visible and trucks hauling logs can be expected on Snowden and Courtney roads.

Burning of the piles is not expected until the rains return in the fall. Low-intensity underburns are anticipated in some areas.

For more information, contact Roland Rose, fuels specialist, at 541-308-1723.

Bassmaster touts Columbia River fishing

Bassmaster magazine ranks the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon at No. 20 among the 100 top best bass waters in the United States.

No. 1 is Falcon Lake in Texas. The 83,000-acre reservoir on the Rio Grande is in the news as much for drug cartel-related crime as it is for catches of largemouth bass. The Bassmaster Elite Series circuit has not returned to the lake since 2008 due to the danger.

Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho is ranked No. 9, the Umpqua River in Oregon is No. 45, Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho is No. 85 and Lake Sammamish in Washington is No. 91.

Elk Foundation gives grants for habitat

OLYMPIA — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is giving grants totaling almost $190,000 for habitat restoration or research in 11 Washington counties.

David Allen, foundation president, said habitat work will include burning, weed treatment and forest thinning projects.

Among the grants will be money to remove encroaching conifer trees and improve forage on 290 acres of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Lewis County.

Research in the Snoqualmie Valley will identify elk herd composition, habitat use and movements.

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