Hiker Headlines: Artist Point Closing, Fee Free Day, Lahar Monitoring, Tonasket District, Aggressive Owls
It’s October 8th. State Parks are free this Saturday. Mount Rainier National Park wants your thoughts on changes to volcanic monitoring. The Tonasket Ranger District is now administered by the Colville National Forest. The good kind of forest fires, prescribed burns, are scheduled for the fall. And unseasonably frequent owl attacks have been reported. Here’s some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.”
It’s October 8. Entry to State Parks is free this Saturday. Mount Rainier National Park wants your thoughts on changes to volcanic monitoring. The Tonasket Ranger District is now administered by the Colville National Forest. The good kind of forest fires, prescribed burns, are scheduled for this fall. And, unseasonably frequent owl attacks have been reported. Here’s some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.
Artist Point closing soon: The road to Artist Point, the last 2.7 miles of Highway 542, will close for the season on Monday, October 12, due to a crumbling retaining wall. This stretch of road is normally gated at the onset of snow and winter conditions, but the structural damage has necessitated an early closure.
Free State Park access: This Saturday, October 10, is a fee free day for all Washington State Parks. October 10 is also World Mental Health Day, and was chosen as a day for free access to State Parks because of the mental health benefits of getting outside. Also, check out the full list of free days for 2021. Fees are waived for State Parks only, and not for WDFW and DNR land.
Thoughts on volcano monitoring at Rainier: Mount Rainier National Park has opened a period of public input regarding proposed changes to the volcano monitoring system inside the park. The United States Geologic Survey and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network currently oversee several monitoring stations to detect lahars, or volcanic mudflows. They are proposing improvements to this detection system.
Tonasket District transfer: On October 1, the Colville National Forest will assume administrative duties for the Tonasket Ranger District, which previously fell under the jurisdiction of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The Tonasket District is composed of 415,000 acres including the northeast corner of the Pasayten Wilderness and has a similar ecology and management needs as that of the Colville National Forest.
Prescribed burns announced for fall: The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest announced the locations of prescribed burns planned for this fall. Unlike the destructive wildfires we’ve seen in the west the last several years, prescribed burns are controlled, low-intensity blazes that are an important tool for reducing fuel loads and preventing the high-intensity burns that are so damaging. These burns typically take place in the fall when conditions are optimal for controlling the flames.
Aggressive owls: And finally, a bizarre pattern has emerged on the Bell Point Trail in San Juan Island National Historic Park, where four owl attacks have been reported. Such behavior from owls is a rare occurrence on trail, but when it does happen, it usually happens in the Springtime when babies in nests make parents more protective.
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