Outdoors Notebook | Razor clam fall season set to open Thursday
Razor clam diggers are waiting for the results of the final marine toxin tests, as the first digs of fall are set to begin this Thursday...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Razor clam diggers are waiting for the results of the final marine toxin tests, as the first digs of fall are set to begin this Thursday.
"We had a snafu at the (Department of Health) lab so we won't know the results of the latest tests until (tomorrow), but earlier testing has shown toxin levels to be about as low as they can get," said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish biologist.
Four evening digs are planned at Twin Harbors Oct. 25-28, while Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks will be open Oct. 26-27. Digging will be allowed between noon and midnight only.
Ayres said razor clam populations declined at Long Beach and Mocrocks, but increased on the middle coast, which means more digging time at Twin Harbors and Copalis during the 2007-08 season.
"I believe people are going to notice less digging opportunities on beaches, but not a decline of clams," Ayres said. "There will be enough clams around to keep diggers busy. On the Ocean Shores beaches (also known as Copalis) there is a wide range of sizes of clams, so you might dig a big clam in one place and then get a small clam on your next try. So diggers will have to be careful and look for the bigger shows in the sand."
Kalaloch Beach has suffered from a big decline in razor clams, which means no digging during fall and winter.
Low tides: Oct. 25, minus-1.1 feet at 6:38 p.m.; Oct. 26, -1.7 at 7:26 p.m.; Oct. 27, -1.9 at 8:14 p.m.; Oct. 28, -1.8 at 9:03 p.m.
More digs are planned Nov. 23-24 and Dec. 21-22 on all beaches except Kalaloch, and Nov. 25-26 and Dec. 23 at Twin Harbors only.
Word on deer hunting
The deer hunting season opened last weekend with limited success, but the recent soggy weather should quiet down the crisp and crackling woods, and give way to more ideal hunting conditions.
"The bluebird, short-sleeve weather on the opener was not very good for hunting as the deer were not very active," said Jack Smith, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "We had the normal amount of hunters out at the Vail Tree Farm check station (950 hunters on Oct. 13 and about 800 on Oct. 14), but only 59 bucks came through the weekend. That was about half of the number of deer checked in compared to last year."
Smith said most of the bucks that came into the check station south of Rainier were older and not your typical yearling deer.
"There are a lot of legal-deer still out there and the prospects are good if people are willing to get out, plus we're now seeing the type of weather that makes for better hunting," Smith said.
The early Western Washington black-tailed deer season for modern firearms runs through Oct. 31.
At the Klickitat Wildlife Area, biologists checked 150 hunters with just four deer (two 4-point bucks, a 3-point buck and an adult doe). At the Yacolt Burn on Weyerhaeuser land in Clark County, five deer (four spikes and a 2-point buck) were checked for 596 hunters.
In Eastern Washington, the deer hunting season got off to a good start in the eastern region, which traditionally averages the highest success rates in the state.
At the Deer Park check station 217 hunters checked on Oct. 14 (down from the 272 hunters last year and 321 in 2005) had 39 deer for an 18 percent success rate. That compares to a 15 percent success rate last year and 14 percent in 2005.
Biologists at the Colfax check station on Oct. 14 checked only six deer from Game Management Units (GMU) 139 (Steptoe) and 142 (Almota), down from about 30 deer last year, from a similar number of hunters. At the Asotin check station 72 hunters had 32 bucks.
At the Chewuch check station in the Methow Valley hunter participation and harvest rates were up with about 40 percent more hunters stopping by this year compared to last year, and the numbers of deer harvested up 26 percent.
Modern firearm deer hunting ends today in most units in the eastern region; through Oct. 26 in GMUs 105-124 for white-tailed bucks; and through Oct. 28 in GMU 101 (Sherman) for white-tailed bucks.
• The Ski Fever & Snowboard Show is Oct. 26-28 at the Qwest Field and Event Center. Cost is $11 adults, and $3 for kids ages 6-12. Hours: Friday, 1 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Details: www.SeattleSkiFever.com.
• Snowboy Productions and Boarderline Snowboard Shop are hosting the free Downtown Throwdown Rail Jam 8 p.m. Oct. 27 at Qwest Field.
This invitational rail jam has invited 20 expert riders including Scott Stevens, Zac Marben, Ben Bogart, Johnny Miller, Travis Kennedy, Andrew Geeves, Chris Beresford, Austin Hironaka and Pat Milbery.
• The East Lake Washington Audubon Society is offering a free lecture titled Washington's Not So Common Loon 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church, 308 4th Avenue South in Kirkland. Guest speakers Ginger Gumm and Daniel Poleschook Jr. will discuss loon description, behavior, recorded calls, ecology and conservation to maintain populations. Details: 425-576-8805 or www.elwas.org.
• The Edmonds Laebugten Salmon Chapter of Trout Unlimited meeting is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the South County Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave. in Edmonds. Guest speaker Jeff June with NRC, Inc. will show the new underwater footage on the derelict fishing gear and recovery project in Puget Sound. Details: www.geocities.com/edmonds_laebugten.
• With the Summit at Snoqualmie and Crystal Mountain under the same management company, both resorts have unveiled some nifty season pass benefits.
The Summit at Snoqualmie's Big S Unlimited Plus season pass will give skiers and snowboarders up to five free days of access to Crystal Mountain, as well as up to ten free days to other Boyne USA ski properties.
Additionally, Crystal Mountain Unlimited passholders will have up to ten days of access to the Summit and Alpental, while midweek passholders will get five midweek days. There are certain restrictions during holiday periods.
Other Boyne USA resorts include Big Sky Resort in Montana; Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan; and Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine. For more information, go to www.summitatsnoqualmie.com or www.skicrystal.com.
• The North Cascades Institute's Eagle Watchers program is looking for volunteers who will be stationed on weekends at three sites along the Skagit River from Dec. 15 to Feb. 3.
Volunteers will offer information about eagles, salmon and the Skagit River at outdoor information tables set up along Highway 20. There will be a two-day training session on Dec. 8-9.
Applications are available at.www.ncascades.org/programs/stewardship/apply, and will be accepted through Nov. 23. For more details, call 360-856-5700 ext. 209.
• Make your reservations for the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic Invitational on Feb. 7-9 as spaces fill up quickly for this popular fishing derby in the San Juan Islands.
The three-day sport fishing extravaganza offers more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Largest salmon is worth $10,000.
Derby entries are limited to 100 boats with four anglers per vessel. Cost is $600 per boat, which includes moorage and meals. Registration deadline is Oct. 31. Details: 360-378-5562 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The East Lake Washington Audubon Society is offering a field trip to hot spots of King County from 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 22. Meet at the Newport Hills Park-N-Ride (I-405 off Exit 9). Cost is $2. Details: 425-746-6351 or www.elwas.org.
• The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group riparian planting party and BBQ has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 29 at Sweetwater Creek in Belfair. The group is removing invasive noxious knotweed that has overtaken the stream over the past several years. Native maples, spruce, fir and other native shrub species will replace the invasive plants. Details: 360-275-3575 to RSVP.
• The Washington Butterfly Association meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Center for Urban Horticulture at 3501 N.E. 41st St. in Seattle. Guest speaker state Senator Ken Jacobsen will discuss a possible state butterfly, our role in ecotourism and respond to any questions on environmental issues related to butterfly conservation. Details:206-364-4935 or www.naba.org/Chapters/nabaws.
• The Mountain Loop Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, working to preserve the quality of the Mountain Loop Highway area, hosts meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at the Alfy's Pizza in Granite Falls. Details: 360-691-3022.
• The Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust is inviting the public to attend the Snoqualmie Point Park grand opening 9:30 a.m. Oct. 27 off I-90 at Exit 27 in Snoqualmie.
The park is a major visitor attraction in the 100-mile Mountains to Sound Greenway along
Interstate 90. On a clear day visitors can soak in the spectacular scenery of the Cascades western front from British Columbia to Snoqualmie Pass, which serves as a model of public and private cooperation for environmental preservation.
Speakers include Senator Slade Gorton, Greenway Trust President Jim Ellis, State Representative Fred Jarrett, and philanthropist Bill Gates, Sr. and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson will host the opening ceremony. Details: 206-382-5565 or www.mtsgreenway.org.
• The Cape Disappointment State Park is celebrating the Graveyard of the Pacific Shipwreck Weekend on Oct. 25-27. The area earned its nickname after more than 2,000 ships were sunk or capsized where the Columbia River meets the turbulent Pacific Ocean.
Activities include a sea shanty camp, maritime programs, maritime music, ranger talks and exhibits.
Daily tours of the North Head Lighthouse are from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and cost $2.50 per adult and free for kids ages 7 to 17.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum offers daily exhibits 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. of the maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Details: 503-325-2323 or ww.crmm.org.
• Mount Rainier National Park has switched over to their fall schedule, which is a popular time for visitors to come view the changing colors of the season, but need to be aware of some on-going work the area.
Two major construction projects underway in the Paradise area will continue through next year, and includes the new Paradise Visitor Center which is expected to ready by November 2008.
Construction of the interior of the Paradise Inn will continue through the winter and is expected to be completed in May of 2008.
Construction at Paradise has reduced parking availability in the area. From nowOct. 22 until Thanksgiving parking will be limited to the Jackson Visitor Center parking lot. No parking will be available at Upper Paradise near the Inn.
The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is now open on weekends and holidays only (except daily Nov. 23-26 and Dec. 22-Jan. 1) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Grill and Gift Shop are open 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. when the visitor center is open.
The National Park Inn and General Store at Longmire are open year-round, and offer meals, lodging, gifts, firewood, ski rentals and ski instruction. Details: 360-569-2275 or 360-569-2400. The Longmire Museum is open daily 9 a..m.-4 p.m.
The Sunrise area is closed for the winter season, but hikers and bicyclists may still access the road, but no restrooms or other public facilities are available.
All public facilities in the White River area are closed for the season, but access to the campground area is determined on a daily basis, weather permitting. Beginning Nov. 1 or when the first significant snowfall occurs, the road will be gated for closure at the junction with State Route 410. Hikers and bicyclists may still access the road, but no restrooms or other public facilities are available.
For highway updates, call 800-695-ROAD. For park information, call 360-659-2211 or www.nps.gov/mora.
• Washington State Parks has announced their winter schedule, but that doesn't mean all outdoor activities have cone to an end.
In fact more than 100 parks will remain open daily through the winter offering campsites and other facilities. There are 19 parks closed until March and April, and six parks are remaining open during the winter on weekends and holidays only.
Tolmie State Park is open Wednesdays through Sundays through April 2, and the Goldendale Observatory is open 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and by appointment Wednesday through Thursdays through March 30.
Winter camping means smaller crowds, and campers may park their RVs or pitch tents on a first-come, first-served basis at most state parks open during the quiet season.
The parks also offer comfortable cabins at Camano Island, Kitsap Memorial or Wallace Falls state parks, a yurt at Cape Disappointment, Grayland Beach and Seaquest or a vacation house at Millersylvania, Fort Flagler, Fort Worden or Moran. These facilities may be reserved year-round.
Year-round camping reservations are available at Cape Disappointment, Deception Pass Dosewallips, Grayland Beach, Ocean City, Pacific Beach and Steamboat Rock. Pearrygin Lake and Riverside. Reservations can be made through Oct. 31. Details: 888-CAMPOUT or 888-226-7688. To view the winter schedule for state parks, go to www.parks.wa.gov.
• The Steelhead University clinic is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 8 at Sportco in Fife. The seminar is open for anglers of all abilities. Speakers include Buzz Ramsey, Dave Vedder, Bill Herzog, Bruce Warren, Joel Shangle, Phil Stephens, Rob Endsley and Terry Wiest. Tackle representatives will be on hand to show products and answer questions. Cost is $88. Details: 206-387-9293 or www.steelheaduniversity.com.
• Washington Sea Grant and the Port of Seattle/Fishermen's Terminal are offering a U.S. Coast Guard approved First Aid sea course 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Nordby Building at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle. Cost is $80, and pre-registration in required. Details: 206-543-1225.
• A new hiking trail along the Iron Goat Trail is open and follows most of the abandoned Great Northern Railroad line west of Stevens Pass.
The upper and lower grades of the system are connected by a crossover trail between Windy Point and the Iron Goat Interpretive Site.
The Iron Goat Interpretive Site is adjacent to the Stevens Pass Greenway near Milepost 58.3 on U.S. 2, and includes a parking area with restrooms and interpretive exhibits.
The crossover switchback trail is less than a mile long and climbs a bit steeply over 600 feet to connect with the upper grade. After that, it is only a quarter-mile hike on the upper grade to the Windy Point Overlook, with views of the upper Tye River Basin.
The abandoned railway grade was built in the early 1890s, and the trail is along a portion that was abandoned in 1929 when the "new" Cascade Tunnel was open. Details: 360-677-2414 or www.irongoat.org.
• Maple Leaf Adventures is offering a fall wildlife cruise by the SV Maple Leaf tall ship Oct. 18-23 through the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Details: 888-599-5323 or www.MapleLeafAdventures.com.
• Those planning on visiting the Klickitat Wildlife Area should be aware of three road closures from Nov. 1-April 14 to protect roadbeds and to avoid disturbing wintering deer and elk.
The closures are in the Soda Springs Unit, including Anderson Road, 1.3 miles south of the intersection with Soda Springs Road; Old Headquarters Road, 1 mile south of the intersection with Soda Springs Road; and South Breaks Road, 0.1 miles west of the intersection with Soda Springs Road.
The 12 miles of unpaved roads were badly damaged by vehicle traffic last fall and spring.
The roads will be open during the early deer-hunting season in October, and will reopen in time for the spring turkey season. The roads will remain open to pedestrian access.
• Those seeking out a whitewater rafting adventure should take advantage of the increased water flows on the Tieton River starting this and next month.
Water is currently being released from a full water-filled Rimrock Lake into the river to allow farmers to water their crops in the Yakima Valley, which creates a Class III whitewater river rafting adventure.
The experienced Osprey Rafting Company offers late summer 12-mile rafting trips on the Tieton River. A half-day excursion in the morning or afternoon costs $74.07, and includes a BBQ lunch. Overnight lodgings packages are also available. Details: 888-548-6850 or www.ospreyrafting.com.
• Alki Kayak Tours is hosting a variety of trips and events from the Seacrest Boathouse at Alki Crab and Fish, 1660 Harbor Ave. S.W. in West Seattle.
The group offers weekday and weekend paddle tours. There are midweek overnight stays now through September on Blake Island. Cost is $199 and includes all kayak gear, tents, dinner and breakfast. Also try out the Eddyline Kayaks and talk with the staff to find a kayak fit for you. Details: 206-935-0237 or www.kayakalki.com.
• The Inn at Suncadia in Roslyn offers guided half-day guided hikes, and three-hour guided mountain bike rides and fly-fishing trips to the Cle Elum and Yakima rivers. Cost is $50.
The hikes and bike rides are led by Central Washington University's Outdoor Pursuits Team, and packages include gear and lunch. The fly fishing package includes instruction, equipment and fishing license and lunch. Rooms are available for those who want to stay overnight. Details: 800-667-1828 or www.suncadia.com.
• The Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall holds numerous outdoors events, including a monthly "Tracking Club," that meets in Sultan on the third Saturday of each month now through May (but not December) from 9 a.m. to noon.
The program is open to naturalists, hunters and people curious about learning to identify, follow and understand stories written in tracks left by animals on the Skykomish River shoreline. Details: 425-788-1301 or www.wildernessawareness.org.
• The Washington Trails Association offers statewide trip reports and trail conditions. Details: www.wta.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 email@example.com.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.