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Sunday, July 30, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Outdoors Notebook: Vandals suspected in salmon kill

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Gorst Creek salmon rearing facility suffered another major blow with hundreds of thousands of juvenile chinook killed possibly due to vandalism on Wednesday night.

"We suspect it was vandalism, and someone had diverted water away from the raceway where these fish were being reared in ponds," said Tony, Meyer, information officer with the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

About 120,000 juvenile chinook were killed in the incident, and these fish are released as yearlings as part of the blackmouth fishery in Puget Sound.

The Gorst facility is a partnership between the Suquamish Tribe, state Fish and Wildlife, the City of Bremerton and volunteer efforts by the Kitsap Poggie Salmon Club.

Prior to the vandalism incident the facility was able to release about 120,000 young chinook into Puget Sound.

Back in late May, gusty winds and associated rains were believed to be the cause of another major fish kill at the Gorst Creek facility.

Back then an estimated 1.6-million fall chinook fry were found dead in the rearing ponds. The eight-month-old fish, approximately 4 inches long, were scheduled to be released last May.

The heavy rain and winds possibly washed debris over the water intake screens at the hatchery, blocking the flow of water.

"The lack of fresh oxygenated water in a pond with this many fish, even for just a few hours, can be devastating," said Jay Zischke, a Suquamish Tribe fisheries manager.

All of these incidents is expected to result in a much reduced chinook return to Sinclair Inlet in 2010, when this group of fish would be expected to return.

"It is a small producer as related to the greater Puget Sound, but this group of fish contributes heavily to the tribal fisheries, and a sport terminal fishery in Sinclair Inlet and Bremerton area," said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for Northwest Marine Trade Association. "This is the third major fish kill in the last ten years at the facility."

Word on duck hunting

Waterfowl hunters can look forward to another decent season this fall and winter.

Under waterfowl hunting seasons proposed by state Fish and Wildlife, the general duck season would be open 107 days, as it was last year.

"Overall, waterfowl populations and their habitats are doing well," said Don Kraege, a state Fish and Wildlife waterfowl section manager.

"A majority of migratory waterfowl populations are stable, and we have seen an increase in number of ponds, which has improved habitat for birds," Kraege said. "It looks like it will be another good year for waterfowl hunters."

State Fish and Wildlife's proposal would also shift Grays Harbor County from Goose Management Area [GMA] 2B in southwest Washington to GMA 3.

Transferring the county from GMA 2B would eliminate a requirement that hunters check all geese harvested in county.

The current requirement is intended to document the harvest of dusky Canada geese, which are rarely found in Grays Harbor County, said Kraege.

Another proposal addresses hunter trespass and safety issues on Fir Island in Skagit County. The proposal would prohibit waterfowl hunting within 100 feet of public roads and increase penalties for violators, while improving hunter access to private lands by creating special opportunities.

Waterfowl hunting seasons will be considered for adoption by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting Aug. 4-5 in Mount Vernon.

A public meeting is 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 4 at Best Western CottonTree Inn, 2300 Market St. Another public meeting is 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 5.

Notes

• Kitsap Memorial State Park in Poulsbo has four new cabins. Each are 13-by-13-foot cabins featuring a bunk bed that sleeps three, a futon that sleeps two, mini refrigerator, microwave, electric heat and lights, and a locking door. A picnic table, fire pit and water standpipe are outside of each unit.

Kitsap Memorial State Park is a 58-acre camping park with 1,797 feet of saltwater shoreline, and facilities for group and individual recreation, weddings and overnight stays. Details: 360-779-3205.

• Fly-fishing expert Les Johnson will present an all-day seminar titled "Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon," on Aug. 6 at a beach site in Puget Sound to be determined. Learn about equipment and flies to use, correct lines, as well as proper presentation techniques. Cost is $185 with lunch provided. Details: 425-452-9138.

• The Washington Butterfly Association is hosting a free seminar titled "Share the Wealth," 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Center for Urban Horticulture at 3501 N.E. 41st St. in Seattle. Bring your butterfly, moth, and dragonfly photos for show and/or identification. Details: 206-364-4935 or www.naba.org/Chapters/nabaws.

• Sport halibut fishing will reopen Aug. 4 in the ocean off Ilwaco, and close once the quota is attained. Fishing will be Fridays to Sundays only. Once the first opener occurs fisheries managers will look at catches to determine if enough remains to open it Aug. 11-13. Details: 360-902-2500, and press 2 or http://wdfw.wa.gov/.

• The Northshore Chapter of Ducks Unlimited Banquet is 5:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Sons of Norway Lodge, 23905 Bothell-Everett Highway. Cost is $55 individual, and $75 per couple. Details: 425-483-2682.

• The Swim for Life Fundraiser is 7 a.m. Aug. 9 at Medina Beach on Lake Washington.

Participants, accompanied by a support flotilla, will swim 2.25-miles across Lake Washington, finishing at Madison Beach in Seattle.

Swimmer are asked to raise or donate a minimum of $100 to Puget Sound Blood Center. Swimmers must be over 18-years old, very strong swimmers and in excellent physical health. Details: 206-354-2003 or 206-292-6511 or www.psbc.org.

• The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group is looking for volunteers to help with a summer chum project on the Union River in Belfair, which is listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The group has been performing a supplementation program since 2000, and thousands of chum are now returning. Prior to the project the average return on the river was 200 to 700 summer chum.

Volunteers need to commit to four hour day, and evening shifts and overnight 12 hour shifts at the trap site. Accomadations are available for those who pick the overnight shift. The site is monitored Aug. 15 to Oct. 15 with available 24-hours a day. Details: 360-275-3575.

• The Penn Cove Orca Capture Commemoration, in memory of southern resident orcas captured in Washington, and in honor of Lolita, the sole survivor is 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Island County Historical Society Museum, 908 NW Alexander St. in Coupeville on Whidbey Island. Cost is $20. Details: 866-ORCANET or www.orcanetwork.org or email info@orcanetwork.org.

• The Seattle REI store at 222 Yale Ave. North is offering two free biking seminars at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 is Bike Maintenance 101 where bikers can learn simple at-home bike maintenance and basic roadside fixes from changing a flat to cleaning your chain; and Aug. 16 is Basic Bike Maintenance for Women where an REI bike expert demonstrates her simple, at-home and roadside bike maintenance. Details: 206-223-1944 or 888-873-1938. or www.rei.com.

• Maple Leaf Adventures is offering a nature tours aboard the 92-foot sailing schooner of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, the newest in Western Canada, on Oct. 11-6, Oct. 19-24, Oct. 26-31 and Nov. 2-7. Cost is $1,700 (U.S.), and includes accommodation, meals and shore excursions. Details: 888-599-5323 or www.MapleLeafAdventures.com.

• Mount St. Helens has reopened to climbing despite minor eruptions on the active volcano.

Climbing the crater rim is a popular for beginners and experienced mountaineers, and is open year-round, but entry into the crater itself is prohibited.

The majority of climbers take the Monitor Ridge Route from Climbers Bivouac, which gains 4,500 feet in five miles to the crater rim at 8,365 feet elevation.

This section of the climb is strenuous, and the non-technical climb is suitable for people in good physical condition who are comfortable on scrambling on steep, rugged terrain. It usually takes about seven to 12 hours to make the round-trip.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest Service and Mount St. Helens Institute also offers a new climbing reservation system.

Climbing permits are necessary for those who trek about 4,800 feet elevation. The permit costs $15, plus a service charge of $7. Permits are available at the institute.

Only 100 climbers are allowed on the mountain per day from May 15 through Oct. 31, and the maximum party size is 12 people. Details: 360-891-500 or www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/recreation/mount-st-helens.

• As part of its Centennial 2013 Plan, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission have created some new amenities and services for visitors to choose from this summer and beyond.

They include:

New cabins at Kitsap Memorial State Park with kitchenettes, and mini refrigerators and microwaves. Cost is $50 per night, and they sleep five people. Details: 360-779-3205.

New cabins at Pearrygin Lake State Park with kitchenettes, and bathrooms with toilets. Cost is $65 per night, and they sleep four people.

A new vacation house also is available, with a small living and dining area, kitchen, and bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. Cost is $125 per night, and it sleeps four people. Details: 888-CAMPOUT.

New cabins at Camano Island State Park include furniture made by local volunteers with wood milled from trees cleared at the park. Cost is $41 per night, and it sleeps five people. Details: 360-387-3031.

New yurts at Grayland Beach State Park are $45 per night and they sleep six people. Details: 888-CAMPOUT.

Upgrades to the Fort Okanogan Interpretive Center include new summer interpretive programs, expanded center hours, upgrades to center exhibits, improved signage and air-conditioning system.

There are many family events and other outdoor activities that occur in parks across Washington. They include Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks events, living-history presentations, nature hikes, cultural fairs, musical events and more. An on-line calendar is available by going to www.parks.wa.gov/events. For more information on renting cabins and yurts, go to www.parks.wa.gov/rentalplaces.

• The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association's Buoy 10 Salmon Derby Challenge is Aug. 24-25. The event begins with a banquet and auction. Cost for a team of three anglers is $270 or $450 for a team of five anglers. There is also a separate big fish $500 cash prize for those who pay an extra $10. Derby is limited to 245 anglers. Details: 866-315-NSIA.

• The Washington Trails Association Hike-A-Thon occurs in August. Raise money to maintain and protect trails for every mile you hike. Log the miles, and collect pledges from friends and family. Details: 625-1367 or www.wta.org.

• Anglers fishing the Upper Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, and the Okanogan River must release any tagged salmon now through Oct. 15.

A small number of chinook will be tagged for management and research purposes to better estimate the stock structure, and the number of wild fish returning to the Upper Columbia Basin. The tags are a colored "anchor tag" approximately two inches in length located near the dorsal fin.

• A public access site on Waitts Lake in Stevens County west of the town of Valley will be closed now through Aug. 13 for reconstruction work. During the closure, the 455-acre lake can be accessed through three private shoreline resorts. The lake is popular with trout, bass and perch fishers.

The lake is set to receive a new boat ramp, paved parking area, toilet, fencing and gate with $289,000 from the Boating Facilities Program of Washington's Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation.

• Hunters have until Aug. 6 to enter state Fish and Wildlife's special big-game raffles for deer, elk, moose, mountain goats and California bighorn sheep hunts this fall.

One winner will be selected for each hunt. Winning raffle tickets will be chosen at random by computer, and winners will be notified by Aug. 16. Raffle tickets for deer, elk, moose and mountain goats are $4.93 each, while a California bighorn sheep ticket costs $10.40. Tickets can be purchased at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov or call 866-246-9453 or at dealer license vendors statewide.

In addition, a permit for a chance to hunt in the Blue Mountains for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep will again be raffled by the Washington chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. The winner will be allowed to hunt between Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 in GMUs 169, 172, 181 and 186. The deadline for purchasing a raffle ticket is July 31. Details: www.wafnaws.com.

• The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is looking statewide for volunteer interpretive assistance at Goldendale Observatory State Park in Klickitat County.

Individuals, families, schools, clubs and community organizations with an interest in astronomy can get involved. The park also is seeking guest interpretive speakers from colleges and universities to provide occasional evening programs, and volunteers to provide maintenance and improvements to park grounds.

The observatory has one of the nation's largest public telescopes. Details: 509-773-3141 or email Goldendale.Observatory@parks.wa.gov.

• The Washington Trails Association has named the state's top-10 threatened hiking trails and offers ways to help them. The group says trails are vulnerable to a number of threats, from intense weather, neglect, and management decisions that compromise the experience of hikers.

Here is the list: Goat Mountain Trail Gifford Pinchot National Forest; Barclay Lake Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest; Upper Mad River Trail Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; Dosewallips River-Road Trail Olympic National Forest; Rachel Lake Trail Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest; Thorp Mountain Trail Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; Big Greider Lake Washington state DNR land, near Sultan; Juniper Dunes Wilderness Bureau of Land Management land, near Pasco; Crater Lakes Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; and Gothic Basin Washington state DNR land, near Sultan.

Hikers wishing to volunteer to help restore a threatened trail can learn more at www.wta.org or 206-625-1367.

• The Lynnwood Parks Dept. is offering a kayaking trip 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Aug. 20 from LaConner to Goat Island. Open for adults and youth ages 10 and older. Cost is $85 non-Lynnwood residents, and $80 for residents. Details: 425-771-4030.

• Crystal Mountain Resort is offering summer travel packages including sunset dinners and scenic chairlift rides.

The Chinook Express and Rainier Express lifts will run on weekends and Labor Day through Sept. 4. The lifts will operate 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with the last ride up at 3 p.m.

Mountain bikes are not allowed on chairlifts, but biking is allowed on the trails. Trail and wildflower guides are available at the Right Angle Sports Shop. A barbecue lunch will be available from 10:30 a.m.-3:30.p.m. at the Summit House. There will be two nightly seatings for Sunset Dinners. Cost is $59 per person which includes a chairlift ride to and from dinner. Details: 360-663-2265 or www.skicrystal.com.

• The Ilwaco Charter Boat Association is hosting a Father/Daughter/Son Fishing Derby this summer. There is no entry fee, and it is open to all sport fishers. Anglers must register by 11 a.m. on the day they are fishing. Anyone on a charter boat from the port will be considered as registered for the event. Details: 360-642-3495.

• The Salish Lodge & Spa is offering a variety of activities this summer for the outdoor enthusiast including hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding and fly-fishing.

Another unique outdoor activity available is Geocoaching, a digital scavenger hunt using GPS units and coordinates. Teams embark searching for hidden "caches" or treasures in the mountain trails within a 1-mile radius of the lodge. Details: 800-272-5474 or www.salishlodge.com.

• "In and Around the Delta" is the theme of a summer lecture series at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. All lectures begin at 7 p.m.

Dates: Aug. 2, Seeing the Forest and the Trees with Anne Fiala, Research Associate The Evergreen State College; Aug. 9, Lava, Ice, Mud and Buried Forests: Mt. Rainier, the Volcano in our Backyard with Patrick Pringle, Earth Sciences Faculty Centralia College; Aug. 16, Recovering Salmon, Restoring the Nisqually Watershed with Jeanette Dorner, Salmon Recovery Program Manager Nisqually Indian Tribe; and Aug. 23, Fish Ecology of the Nisqually NWR Estuary with Christopher Ellings, Fish Biologist Ducks Unlimited, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Details: 360-753-9467 or www.fws.gov/nisqually.

• The Washington Outdoor Women's [WOW] workshop is Sept. 15-17 at the Camp Waskowitz Environmental Learning Center near North Bend.

WOW is a non-profit program dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills and natural resource stewardship. Classes include archery, fly fishing and tying, canoeing, preparing fish and shellfish, big game hunting, backpacking basics, survival skills, and more.

A new course offered teaches dog owners how to handle canine emergencies in the field. Several state Fish and Wildlife staff members serve as volunteer instructors.

Workshop participants must be at least 18 years old, and need a current Washington recreational fishing license to take part in the fishing and fly-fishing sessions. Cost is $215, includes lodging, meals and use of all equipment. Details: 425-455-1986 or www.washingtonoutdoorwomen.org.

• Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission along with the U.S. Coast Guard and Dairy Queen are hosting a reward program for kids who wear life jackets while boating. Officers patrolling Washington's waterways will hand out coupons for a free, small Dairy Queen ice-cream cone to kids younger than 16 if they are spotted wearing a life jacket when out on a boat.

On weekends and holidays during the summer, state park rangers, county and city marine patrols, state Fish and Wildlife officers and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members will be on the lookout for safe kid boaters. All states now require children to wear life jackets while boating. Details: www.parks.wa.gov/boating.

• Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville is offering family overnight summer camps titled: "S'mores and Snores," Aug. 5-6 and Aug. 12-13. Cost is $40 adults, and $22 children ages 3-12. Details: 360-832-6117 or www.nwtrek.org.

• Join in this summer on the Washington Trails Association Wildland Discovery Hike Series. Next: Aug. 19, Tongue Mountain in Gifford Pinchot National Forest; Aug. 26, North Fork Skykomish to Dishpan Gap; Sept. 8, Dark Divide Hikes on banks of Lewis River; Sept. 16, William O' Douglas to Snow Mountain ranch; and Sept. 24, Park Butte near Mt. Baker. Details: 206-625-1367 or www.wta.org.

• The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group is offering an Adventure Overnight Camp Aug. 15-18 for sixth to ninth graders.

Learn about wild salmon issues from historical perspectives, current trends and salmon physiology through exploration activities, games, art and journaling. Details: 360-275-3575.

• Outdoor Odysseys in Friday Harbor is offering a limited number of women-only sea kayaking tours in the San Juan Islands now through September. Choose from two types of sea kayaking tours, both led by women guides — a three-day camping tour or a three-day bed & breakfast tour. Cost is $475 for camping tour and $749 for B&B tour. Details: 206-361-0717 or www.outdoorodysseys.com.

• The Washington Trails Association offers statewide trip reports and trail conditions. Details: www.wta.org.

• The Sammamish Rowing Association hosts learn-to-row sessions through October. Meet twice a week for the four-week session. Cost is $75. Details: 425-653-2583.

• The Washington Trails Association is offering high school students volunteer vacations in the Puget Sound region.

Participants learn all about the world of building and maintaining hiking trails, experienced in a safe, teamwork-oriented environment in the Cascade Mountains. The association provides experienced crew leaders, a great project, some camping gear (tents and sleeping pads) and meals.

Cost is $125 for non-members, and $100 for WTA members. The week-long trips are offered through Aug. 20. Details: 206-625-1367 or www.wta.org.

• The Seattle Parks and Recreation is offering a kayaking program for people with disabilities 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Green Lake Small Craft Center, 5900 West Green Lake Way North. The kayaking event is co-sponsored with Wilderness Inquiry. For details e-mail Mara Lynaugh at maralynaugh@comcast.net.

• The North Cascades Institute 2006 catalog offers a wide range of spring and summer adult field seminars, family getaways and a speaker series. Details: 360-856-5700 or www.ncascades.org.

• The Northwest Fly Anglers offers various public classes through the year. The public also is invited to club meetings on the third Thursday of each month, at the Haller Lake Community Center, 12579 Densmore Ave N., in North Seattle. Details: 206-684-7524.

• The Emerald Sea Dive Club offers year-round activities including the big buddy program and weekly and monthly dives. The club meets on the first Wednesday of every month, 7-9 p.m. at Alfy's Pizza, 4820 196th S.W. in Lynnwood. Details: 425-775-2410 or www.emeraldseadiveclub.org.

• The Seattle Audubon Society offers field trips and classes every month. Details: 206-523-4483 or www.seattleaudubon.org.

• Northend Bassmasters is accepting new members who want to learn more about bass fishing. The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Crystal Creek Cafe, 22620 Bothell-Everett Highway (Canyon Park) in Bothell. Details: 206-789-4259 or e-mail Gary Millard at glmillard@comcast.net.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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