News: WDFW restricts target shooting on Wenas Wildlife Area

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

May 21, 2015
Contact: Contact: Cindi Confer Morris, (509) 697-4503

WDFW restricts target shooting
on Wenas Wildlife Area

OLYMPIA – Land managers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are restricting target shooting on the Wenas Wildlife Area and are asking recreationists throughout the state to take care to avoid sparking a wildfire.

With drought conditions across the state, anyone heading outdoors for the long Memorial Day weekend should be aware of fire risks, said Clay Sprague, manager of the WDFW lands division. Information about local fire-danger is available at http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx .

“It’s essential that we protect public lands for both recreation and wildlife habitat,” Sprague said.

Effective May 22 through Sept. 30, target shooting will be restricted on the Wenas Wildlife Area to the hours between sunrise and 10 a.m., when the risk of starting a wildfire is less severe.

The department has restricted target shooting on the wildlife area, located between Yakima and Ellensburg, every year since 2012. This year’s restriction takes effect earlier in the year and reduces by one hour the number of hours per day that target shooting is allowed, said Cindi Confer Morris, manager of the WDFW wildlife area.

Target shooting has caused several wildfires on the wildlife area in recent years including three fires in 2014 alone. Last summer’s Cottonwood No. 2 fire burned almost 9,000 acres and cost $800,000 to suppress. Restoration of the charred landscape has cost another $500,000 so far.

“Last year’s fires followed by this year’s drought compel us to take a more cautious approach,” Confer Morris said.

Public notice of the limited hours announced today will be posted at all entry points and at established target shooting sites in the wildlife area.

WDFW adopted the restriction in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns lands within the 114,150-acre wildlife area.

In addition to this restriction, the department is considering a proposal to permanently restrict target shooting to two designated sites and would continue to restrict target shooting to morning hours during late spring and summer, when fire danger is the greatest. The department held two public meetings this spring to discuss this target-shooting proposal for the Wenas Wildlife Area.

WDFW will continue to involve the public in developing a plan for target shooting on the wildlife area. The department expects to make the decision later this fall.

Like all of WDFW’s wildlife areas and water-access sites across the state, the Wenas Wildlife Area also has prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Lands manager Sprague reminds people who plan to visit WDFW wildlife areas in south central Washington – including the Wenas, Colockum, L.T. Murray, Oak Creek and Sunnyside-Snake River wildlife areas – of a campfire ban that’s in place through Oct. 15. Visitors to the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant and Adams counties also should be aware of a campfire ban until Oct. 31.

For more information on WDFW wildlife areas, see the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/ .


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Posted in Ellensburg, Selah, Target Shooting, WDFW, Wenas Wildlife Area, Yakima County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News: Naches Motorized Trails Open For Memorial Day Weekend

Naches Ranger District Support Services Supervisor, Francisca Voelker, 509-653-1401
Naches Ranger District Front Office, (509) 653-1401

For immediate release: May 21, 2015

Naches Motorized Trails Open For Memorial Day Weekend

NACHES – Trails on the Naches Ranger District are open in time for Memorial Day weekend.  Due to consistent warm and dry conditions, the seasonal spring closure has been lifted prior to the traditional opening date of June 15.  Some trails in the Bethel Ridge and Clover Springs area will remain closed until June 15 due to isolated wet conditions.

Each spring the Naches Ranger District sets seasonal restrictions on motorized trails to prevent resource damage by motorized vehicles when the ground is soft and wet. Kelly Lawrence, Naches District Ranger, had ordered an emergency trail closure in February due to the unprecedented early season snow melt.  “The early snow melt required an emergency closure this year, but ultimately we are then able to open the trail system much earlier in the season,” said Lawrence.  “Closing the trails when they are most vulnerable to resource damage allows us to enjoy them the rest of the year.”

Forest Service Officials and partners have continued to monitor the trail conditions and have determined that the trails are dry and suitable for public use. “Our partners enabled us to have more eyes on the ground while assessing conditions, making it possible for us to open the trails early,” said Lawrence.  Forest Service trails are a national resource and responsible use of the trail system by the public ensures their quality into the future.

For additional details and seasonal updates visit our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen or call the Naches Ranger District office at 509-653-1401.

-End-

Francisca Voelker
Support Services Supervisor

Forest Service

Naches Ranger District
p: 509-653-1413
f: 509-653-2638
flvoelker@fs.fed.us
10237 HWY 12
Naches, WA 98937
www.fs.fed.us


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Posted in 4 Wheeling, ATV, Dirt Bike, Manastash, Naches Ranger District, News, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, ORV, Rimrock | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News: WDFW seeks advisory committee candidates for the Colockum Wildlife Area

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

May 5, 2015
Contact: Pete Lopushinsky, (509) 663-6260

WDFW seeks advisory committee candidates
for the Colockum Wildlife Area

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking candidates to serve on a committee that advises the department on the management of the Colockum Wildlife Area.

WDFW manages the 105,662-acre wildlife area located between Wenatchee and Ellensburg to provide winter range for deer and elk and habitat for upland birds.

The department is looking for two candidates, one to represent non-motorized recreation users and one to represent persons with disabilities. Current members of the advisory committee represent a variety of interests, including snowmobiling, fishing, horseback riding and conservation, said Pete Lopushinsky, Colockum Wildlife Area manager for WDFW.

“We would like to expand participation in our advisory group to reflect the different uses the Colockum area supports,” Lopushinsky said.

The two new members would be expected to attend the next advisory committee meeting, which is planned for this fall. The advisory group typically meets up to four times per year. Information about the committee can be found online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/cwa-waac/ .

The advisory committee will be involved in updating the management plan for the wildlife area, one of 33 wildlife areas across the state. The planning sequence for the Colockum will be determined later this year.

Applicants should submit a cover letter that addresses the following items:

  • The applicant’s name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Organization the individual is representing, its mission and location.
  • The applicant’s familiarity with the wildlife area and interest in participating in the advisory group.
  • His or her experience in the advisory group processes and in collaborating with people who have different values.
  • Letter of support from the organization the applicant is representing.

Applications should be postmarked by 5 p.m. May 18 and sent to WDFW Region 3 Headquarters, Attn: Colockum WAAC Recruitment, 1701 S. 24th Ave., Yakima, WA 98902-5720; or by email to TeamYakima@dfw.wa.gov with the subject line “Colockum WAAC Recruitment.”

For more information, contact Pete Lopushinsky at (509) 663-6260.


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Posted in Colockum Wildlife Area, Kittitas County, News, Volunteering, WDFW | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming: Naches Ranger District TWIG Meeting Tuesday May 5 2015

From Sue Ranger:

Dear Trails and Wilderness Interest Group Member:

Our next District TWIG meeting will be held Tuesday, May 5th, at the Naches Ranger Station at 7PM.

Wendy Christensen, Technical Projects Program Manager from the Bureau of Reclamation, will present an update on the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, with emphasis on projects in the Naches Ranger District area – such as proposals for the Bumping Reservoir.

We will also provide you with updates to what else is happening on the Naches District – with a focus on recreation updates.

Bill Zimmer, our Resource Assistant, will be hosting this meeting.

Please enter through the back door.

See you there!
Sue Ranger
For the Naches Recreation Department
Naches Ranger District
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
10237 U.S. Highway 12
Naches, WA 98937


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Posted in Kittitas County, Naches, Naches Ranger District, News, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Public Lands Volunteer Opportunities, U. S. Forest Service, Upcoming, Yakima County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News: Juniper Dunes Access Update

Juniper Dunes Access Update

From: seth.english-young@dot.gov
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 1:04 PM
Subject: Juniper Dunes Update
Juniper Dunes Access Road Project

FHWA published a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Juniper Dunes Access Road Project. These documents indicate that while there are impacts and benefits from the project, the project does not have a significant environmental impact, and the National Environmental Policy Act compliance phase of the project is complete. The project will now move forward with design and engineering.

FHWA selected Alternative 2 in the EA as the best alternative to meet the purpose and need for the project. Alternative 2 will build a new road from Pasco-Kahlotus Road to the Juniper Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area. It will start at Pasco-Kahlotus Road about 1 mile east of the intersection with Peterson Road and travels generally north 4.2 miles to the designated endpoint.

The selected alternative best addresses the project’s purpose and need, is less expensive than the other build alternatives analyzed in the EA, and has the fewest risks to increased cost and schedule. FHWA, in collaboration with the BLM and Franklin County, developed this alternative with consideration of issues raised through the scoping process and comment period from area residents, federal, state, local agencies and Indian Tribes. This decision includes consideration of the EA analysis and evaluation, including best scientific information, and the extent that each of the alternatives met the purpose and need for action .

To view the Final EA and FONSI documents, please see the FHWA website:
http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/wa/juniper-dunes/

Seth English-Young
Environmental Specialist
Federal Highway Administration
Western Federal Lands
610 East Fifth Street
Vancouver, WA 98661
360-619-7803


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Posted in BLM, Franklin County, Juniper Dunes, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment