Olympic National Park Seeks Volunteer Citizen Scientists to Study Olympic Marmots

The Olympic National Park is now accepting volunteer applications for the Olympic Marmot Monitoring Program 2015 survey season. Launched in 2010, the Olympic Marmot Monitoring Program employs

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Forest Service Road improvement could block access on the West Fork Humptulips River

The National Forest Service plans to block vehicle access to a popular gravel bar on the West Fork of the Humptulips River through proposed improvements to Forest Service Road 2203040 that include a turnaround and parking lot. State Representative Brian Blake is opposed to some of those changes, he tells KBKW “There’s a small rivulet that has been diverted and now runs down the access road to the gravel bar, and they’re using it as an excuse to cut off access, and that’s what I’m opposed to.” The $12,000 Forest Service grant application says they need to block the access to restore fish habitat for salmon and trout apparently seen in the mud puddle for the past three years. “Oh no I’ve never seen salmon there in my life, no. Why would they do that?” I spoke with Jerry Lillybridge in front of his 24 foot camper responsibly parked on the gravel bar Sunday. He said he and his family have camped there for years, and while he hasn’t run over any fish that he can recall “Here’s what I’ve seen in the last three days, the otters, we’ve seen the ducks, yesterday I was up here getting firewood and I saw a red hawk take a grouse out and I’ve never seen nothing like that in my life, right in front of us.” Lillybridge worked in the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s office for years, and for years he passed State parks, camp sites, and groomed fishing outlets on his way out here. “You can’t go nowhere and enjoy this without a big fee, or having a lot of people around you. I’m 41 miles from my house in Aberdeen to right here, and look at this – this is remote. There’s nothing more beautiful than here,” adding that most campers clean up after themselves, but; “If they don’t and most of them always leave it clean, I clean it up anyway because I don’t want the Forest Service to ever shut something down because I was messy.” Meanwhile Blake worries “When we loose that gravel bar, and they won’t commit to preserving access to the downstream gravel bar – and I believe personally that’s critical for the launching of the drift boats especially because they can be anywhere from 300 to 600 pounds. So I think it’s important that we preserve that public access, for those boats, to the public river.” Blake added that “Not everybody can afford a forest pass, not everybody can afford a travel trailer. But having the public be able to pull out there and have a picnic, or spend the night in the summertime, I think is one of the reasons we live here. While it won’t be specifically addressed at these meetings, the public has a few more chances to provide their input on a sustainable roads plan for the Forest Service this month.  The next meeting starts at 4 this afternoon in the Shelton Civic Center. They’ll be at the Aberdeen Rotary Log Pavilion Thursday afternoon.

Man steals flashlight from fire truck at fireman’s funeral, “Not too bright” says Police Chief

A Hoquiam man stole a flashlight out of a fire truck over the weekend, during funeral services for a Fire District 16 firefighter. The convicted felon is well

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Hoquiam driver killed in log truck rollover accident

HOQUIAM, Wash. – A Hoquiam truck driver died yesterday after his fully loaded truck and trailer drove off of a Forest Service road in the Capitol Forest near Summit Lake.  Washington

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New grassroots partnership aims to improve grass, roots, on Olympic National Forest

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Representative Derek Kilmer and a group of conservation, timber and local government stakeholders today announced the formation of new a partnership called the Olympic Peninsula Collaborative. Members of the partnership approved the following statement to explain its purpose and goals:

The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative will bring together stakeholders from the environmental community, the timber industry, and representatives from federal and local government around shared goals of increasing timber harvest from the Olympic National Forest while benefitting the environmental quality of our forests and watersheds. The Collaborative will work together and with federal officials to address issues that stand in the way of achieving the stated goals. Ultimately, the purpose is to show we can simultaneously create a more environmentally sound forest, provide for increased, sustainable timber harvests on the Olympic National Forest, and provide economic benefits to timber communities on the Peninsula.

I have always said that we don’t have to choose between economic development and environmental protection. This is the beginning of a long-term partnership that I hope will help prove that’s true. The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative will show we can build consensus and can bring folks together to simultaneously create a more environmentally healthy forest, provide for increased, sustainable timber harvests on the Olympic National Forest, and provide economic benefits to timber communities on the Peninsula.
- U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer

Users help Forest Service rethink its road system

EVERETT, Wash. - Every National Forest has to come up with a new plan for its road system in the next couple of years - and in one Washington forest, that effort has become a way to open up the planning process to those who use and love the area.

On the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, people can let forest managers know which roads they use and what they think of them, in a series of meetings and on a public website

Forest Supervisor Jennifer Eberlien says what has most pleased her is seeing how strongly people feel about their public land.

"We provide a lot of resources and experiences and services," she says, "so the interest and that level of passion of the people who are attending and giving input is just fantastic. It's one of the things that really keeps us as Forest Service employees, going."

Impacts of federal shutdown on Washington State

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The federal government has begun a partial shutdown after congressional Republicans demanded changes in the nation's health care law as the price for essential federal funding and President Barack Obama and Democrats refused.

Here's a look at how services in Washington state are likely to be affected, beginning Tuesday.

HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL

In spite of the fact that funding of the health care law is at the center of the budget battle in Congress, implementation of key parts of the law begin Tuesday regardless of any shutdown. Open enrollment begins Tuesday, and consumers will be able to start purchasing health plans that would take effect on Jan. 1.

MAIL

Deliveries will continue as usual. The U.S. Postal Service relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running and receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations.

Senate Passes Extension of Cantwell-Championed Rural Schools, Roads Program

Secure Rural Schools program invested over $400,000 in Grays Harbor County in 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed an extension of a key program championed by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that is critical for roads and schools in Washington state’s forest-dependent counties. The bill, as amended by the Senate and approved on Thursday by a 97-2 margin, would extend the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.

 

Cantwell called for the program’s extension during a March committee hearing and has long been a leader on continuing SRS payments to rural counties across Washington state and the nation.

 

SRS helps compensate counties for revenue lost from declining U.S. Forest Service timber harvests on federal lands near forest communities. The Senate bill would extend SRS for one year and invest $263 million into the program. The legislation now heads to the House for a vote. Unless the House acts, counties will not receive any support from SRS this calendar year.