WDFW Commission approves land purchases for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved the purchase of a 5,497-acre property 35 miles northwest of Yakima that provides prime habitat for elk, northern spotted owls, bull trout and other native species.

Also approved was a separate purchase by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to add a 598-acre property to the state’s Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima County.

The commission, a citizen board that sets policy for WDFW, approved both acquisitions during a public meeting Nov. 8-9 in Olympia, where members also heard public comments on a proposed management plan for Grays Harbor salmon fisheries.

Commission Chair Miranda Wecker of Naselle commended the Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - the two non-profit organizations that offered the properties for sale - for their dedication to wildlife conservation.

"We applaud you for securing these properties for the public, and for the stewardship your organizations provide for lands under your care," she told representatives of those groups who attended the meeting.

Watch, Warning, or Advisory? What do they mean?

NOAA's National Weather Service uses a four-tier approach to alert the public for the potential for severe weather or high fire danger. This four-tier approach consists of  outlooks,  advisorieswatches  and  warnings.

1) Winter Storm Outlook... 
winter storm outlook is issued when conditions are favorable for hazardous winter weather to develop within the next 3 to 7 days. It is intended for those groups that require considerable lead time to prepare for the event.

ACTION: Stay tuned to local media or monitor NOAA Weather Radio for updates. Evaluate your emergency action plan and the resources you have in your home, car or work place to deal with a winter storm.

2) Winter Storm Watch... 
winter storm watch is issued when the risk of hazardous winter weather has increased, but occurrence, location and timing is still somewhat uncertain. Generally, a watch is issued when there is a significant threat of severe winter weather in the next 12 to 48 hours.

ACTION: You should prepare now and ensure that all emergency plans and resources are in place. 
Note: Winter Storm Watches may be upgraded to Winter Storm Warnings, if conditions warrant.

3) Winter Weather Advisory... 
Winter weather advisories are issued for less serious winter weather conditions that are occurring, or have a high likelihood of occurring. These products are used for winter weather situations that are less severe than a Warning, but will cause significant inconvenience. These situations should not be life threatening, damage is usually localized and the main danger is hazardous travel. 
Note: This advisory may be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning if conditions warrant.

Trip Tips for Washington Camping Season’s Last Hurrah

Washington - President Obama has just declared September National Wilderness Month, and this weekend is the end of the traditional summer camping season in Washington. The presidential declaration is a nod to the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, as Washington is home to several of the nation's first wilderness areas, including Mt. Adams and Glacier Peak. Those sites, as well as areas on the wilderness docket, are top destinations for many seeking outdoor experiences this Labor Day weekend.

Bob Freimark, senior policy analyst for the Wilderness Society's Pacific Northwest office, says wild lands, and areas proposed for wilderness preservation, are recommendations for the travel list.

"Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah for camping for the season - going to a lot of these special places that are protected as wilderness, or potentially be protected in the future as wilderness."