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Beware of Zombies: Riverside Park trail to get scary on Oct. 25

Oct. 22, 2014 4:03 p.m.

PARKS — The third annual Return of the Zombies hike is set for Oct. 25 on what's billed as “the scariest half-mile hike ever” in Riverside State Park.

Hikers of all ages are invited to hike the haunted trail between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. as a fundraiser for the Riverside State Park Foundation.

The route begins at the park's Seven-Mile Airstrip, 7903 W. Missoula Road, in Nine Mile Falls. See directions.

Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for youths age 3 – 12 and free for children under 3.

  • The Washington Discover Pass is not needed on vehicles for this event.

Adults are issued a flashlight, and kids ages 3 to 12 receive a glow-in-the-dark bracelet. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are not allowed. 

At this outdoor version of a haunted house, participants hike a half mile through the woods at the park, while volunteer “zombies” provide the scary atmosphere. Participants should be prepared to walk over uneven terrain and wear comfortable shoes and warm clothing. Organizers will be selling hot chocolate and coffee. A DJ will be entertaining at a warming fire.

Info: Cherie’ Gwinn, 465-5066 or cherie.gwinn@parks.wa.gov.


Spokane runner up in online poll for America’s Best Riverfront

Oct. 22, 2014 3:10 p.m. - Updated: 3:10 p.m.

OUTDOOR CITIES — Wilmington, N.C., generated enough votes to edge Spokane this week in a USA TODAY 10 Best Readers' Choice contest for Best American Riverfront.

Wilmington “waged a tight but winning battle against Spokane for the top spot and landed the #1 slot after a frenzied weekend of voting,” the online pollsters reported.   

Wilmington lies on the eastern shore of the Cape Fear River, which winds up into easternmost North Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to Bald Head Island.  Because Wilmington is associated with the many barrier island destinations for which it serves as a gateway - Wrightsville Beach chief among them - the public often is unaware that it's a river city. 

The Top 10 vote-getting cities for Best American Riverfront are:  

  1. Wilmington, N.C.
  2. Spokane, Wash.
  3. Davenport, Iowa
  4. Dubuque, Iowa
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Louisville, Ky.
  7. Chattanooga, Tenn.
  8. Savannah, Ga.
  9. Detroit
  10. Richmond, Va.

Regardless of the poll, Spokane has a world-class connection to a river.

Think about what our “River Runs Through It” offers to visitors. And ponder what it adds to the quality of life for those of us who live here — for example:

  • Riverfront Park and free festivities such as Pig Out In the Park.
  • Foot bridges over the Spokane Falls, a year-round attraction but especially exciting in the refreshing spray of spring runoff.
  • The Spokane River Centennial Trail.
  • Historic Monroe Street Bridge.
  • Tribal powpows.
  • Spokane Jazz Orchestra Fourth of July Concert.
  • Rotary Fountain.
  • Fishing for native redband trout.
  • Access for rafters, SUP and other boats with take-outs including the No-Li Brew Pub — it doesn't get much better than that.

Ruby Creek wolf continues to elude state trappers

Oct. 22, 2014 10:15 a.m. - Updated: 10:41 a.m.

ENDANGERED SPECIES — A gray wolf that was deemed too comfortable with being around rural homes and pet dogs near Ione, Wash., has eluded state trappers intending to put the female wolf into captivity at wildlife facility near Tenio, Wash.

State Fish and Wildlife officials have called off the trapping effort and will wait until snow accumulates to offer a better chance of capture.

The Ruby Creek wolf was trapped and radio-collared in 2013 and had been hazed with rubber bullets to try to keep it away from Pend Oreille County residences. Wolves learn quickly from these encounters and are much harder to capture the second time around. Wildlife managers are concerned for public safety as well as the prospect of the solo wolf being bred by a domestic dog during the winter mating season.

Here's the latest update for on the Ruby Creek wolf as well as ongoing wolf-management issues from Nate Pamplin, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife assistant director and head of the state's wildlife program:

Ruby Creek Wolf: 

To date, we have not been able to capture the Ruby Creek female for placement at Wolf Haven International.  So far our efforts have been mostly trapping with leg-hold sets; we’ve had 24 traps in the ground for 18 nights.  We have used traps with scent lure and blind sets (no scent).  We've used scat and hair as bait from the dogs the Ruby female has been mingling with, as well as walking the dog around the area to lay scent.  We've tried free ranging darting twice and pushing the wolf towards the traps. 

At this point and given this level of effort, we have pulled the traps because trapping is probably not going to be successful.  We will continue monitoring the Ruby Creek female and will be prepared to capture her using a dart gun, cougar walk-in trap, or leg-hold trap if the right opportunity occurs.  Once snow arrives, we me need to dart her from the air.   If these efforts are unsuccessful, we will re-evaluate options.

Whitman County Animal Mortality Investigation:

A man described as a farmer is being investigated for shooting a wolf after chasing it in a vehicle southwest of Pullman.

We are still conducting the investigation on the animal shot in Whitman County and sent genetic samples to a lab to determine whether the animal was a wolf or a hybrid.  We expect the investigation to be concluded in the next couple weeks.

Profanity Peak Pack:

Washington's most recently confirmed wolf pack came to light in September after killing cattle in a remote national forest allotment in Ferry County near Profanity Peak. A new depredation was reported this week.

WDFW staff responded to the Diamond M ranch and investigated a cow that had substantial injuries on October 20.   The animal was discovered during the round-up/collection efforts to move animals to the Basin and winter range.  Staff confirmed that the injuries were caused by wolves. The wounds appeared to be about a week old.  This is the third incident involving four livestock: 1) a dead cow and calf, 2) an injured calf (which was with three other calves that were observed injured, but were not able to be caught/inspected) and 3) an injured cow.  Currently, we do not have any wolves collared in this pack.

The livestock operators are cooperating to try to avoid problems with wolves, Pamplin said, noting that staffers are trying to locate the wolves for a possible capture and radio-collaring misison.

The operator is collecting the cows from the main allotment where the depredations have occurred, so human presence is high and the number of cows remaining on the allotment is lowered and getting reduced almost daily.  We know that there are cattle spread over multiple allotments in the immediate vicinity as well as private ranches on the periphery of where this pack likely ranges.  Whether this pack is attacking livestock owned by others is unknown at this time. 


Coho in spotlight; steelhead providing action

Oct. 22, 2014 7:27 a.m.

FISHING — The first coho fishing season on Idaho's Clearwater River has been capturing a lot of attention this weeke, but fishing guides correctly point out that steelheading — the bread and butter of late fall fishing in the Snake and Clearwater rivers — is doing just fine.

Here's the latest report from Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing based out of Clarkston:

The Clearwater has been kicking out a lot of nice big B-run fish ranging anywhere from 12 to 18 pounds. This time of year these fish are hot and make some line screaming runs and acrobatic leaps. Dam counts are looking excellent for a great season. An email from Joe DuPont, IDF&G Clearwater Fishery Manager states that as of  10/7/14, over 9,000 hatchery Steelhead have passed over Lower Granite Dam (based on detected PIT tags) that are destined for the Clearwater River.  This is about triple of what we saw last year at this same time and 30% more than we saw 2 years ago.

One of the exciting things about the run this year is the vast majority of them are the larger 2-ocean fish unlike last year when many were the smaller 1-ocean fish.  To date, over 25,000 Clearwater River bound hatchery Steelhead have passed over Bonneville Dam, so there are still a lot on their way.  This means there will be no need to for emergency rules like we implemented last year to protect brood stock. The limit on the Clearwater for steelhead is 2 per day with no size restrictions.

Another exciting development on the Clearwater is that with combined efforts from the Nez Perce Tribe and IDF&G, we are allowed to catch and harvest Coho Salmon. This is the first time in the history of the State of Idaho where sportsmen are able to harvest Coho. The limit is 2 per day and the season is open until November 16th, 2014. Our boats have been landing a few Coho’s a day while targeting Steelhead, which is a nice added bonus to the day.

Fishing should continue to pick up from here on out.



Grande Ronde catch-and-release steelheading could be history

Oct. 22, 2014 6:01 a.m.

FISHING — Fisheries managers have proposed a rule that would require anglers to keep all hatchery steelhead they catch on most of southeastern Washington, including the Grande Ronde with the exception of the first 2.5 miles up from the mouth. Anglers would have to stop fishing when they retained their limit of two or three hatchery steelhead, depending on the river.

Check out this and other proposals and make comments online.

See the steelhead retention rule here.


Youth vulnerable to lead poisoning at shooting ranges

Oct. 21, 2014 1:38 p.m. - Updated: 1:38 p.m.

SHOOTING — The Seattle Times series of stories on lead poisoning issues at shooting ranges is providing more food for thought and action:

The youngsters knew their sport could be dangerous, even deadly.

But for the junior team at the Vancouver (Wash.) Rifle and Pistol Club, the peril that emerged from their sport didn’t come from a stray bullet.

It came from lead.

In 2010, blood tests revealed that 20 youths had been overexposed to the poisonous metal after shooting in the club’s dirty, poorly ventilated range.

“It was devastating,” said Marc Ueltschi, the junior team coach and a club member. “It scared the life out of me. No one knew anything about lead poisoning and what to fix.”

Vancouver Rifle is just one of several private gun clubs across the United States that have posed health hazards in a sport with growing numbers of youths and women.

While those most likely to be poisoned by lead in gun ranges are the workers themselves, The Seattle Times has found dozens of avid shooters overexposed in such states as Washington, Massachusetts and Alaska.

The most vulnerable are children learning to shoot and compete in clubs operated by volunteers who may have little knowledge of the risks of firing lead ammunition. Gunfire can put lead residue in the air, and on the skin and nearby surfaces.


Yakima River stretch opening for coho

Oct. 21, 2014 1:30 p.m. - Updated: 3:52 p.m.

FISHING — A coho fishing season will open on the “middle” Yakima River on Wednesday, Oct. 22, — for both hatchery and wild fish, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has just announced.

Location: From the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap to the “closed water” line 3,500 feet downstream of Roza Dam.

Reason for action:  A record return of coho salmon is returning to the upper Yakima River with more than 15,000 counted passing Prosser Dam through Oct. 20. Yakama Nation and WDFW biologists agree that a harvestable surplus is available to provide this sport fishing opportunity.

Other information:

  • Daily limit of two (2) coho (wild or hatchery)
  • Barbless hooks are required (single-point or multiple-point allowed)
  • During this fishery, the “Selective Gear Rules” prohibiting use of bait and knotted nets is temporarily suspended.
  • Night closure in effect.
  • Fishing for trout and other gamefish closes on Oct. 31 by permanent rule.
  • Fishing for steelhead remains closedAll steelhead (rainbow trout greater than 20” in total length) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
  • A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in this salmon fishery.
  • Fishing from boats equipped with an internal combustion motor (ICM) is allowed only from the I-82 Bridge at Union Gap to the east-bound (upstream) I-82 bridge at Selah Gap. Boats with an ICM may be used for “transportation only” upstream of the Selah Gap Bridge.
  • Closed to fishing year-round for all species 400 feet upstream from the upstream side of the Yakima Avenue/Terrace Heights Road bridge in Yakima, including the area adjacent and downstream of the Roza Wasteway No. 2 fish barrier rack next to Morton & Sons Inc.

Hanford Reach fall chinook still on the bite

Oct. 21, 2014 1:18 p.m. - Updated: 1:20 p.m.

FISHING — “The number of anglers fishing for salmon in the Hanford Reach continues to slowly decline but the fishing remains excellent with 2.7 fall chinook landed per boat,” says Paul Hoffarth, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Columbia River biologist in the Tri-Cities. 

An estimated 1,576 boats fished for salmon in the Hanford Reach this past week.  WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 481boats (1,251 anglers:8,066 pole hours) and 93 bank anglers (333 hours).  An estimated 4,311 salmon (3,767 adult chinook, 534 jacks & 10 coho) were harvested.   Bank anglers didn’t fare as well only averaging one chinook for each 31 anglers but the good news is that the bank anglers are starting to pick up a few steelhead.   There were an estimated 4,297 angler trips for fall Chinook in the Tri-cities this past week. 

For the fall salmon season that started August 1, there have been over 42,000 angler trips harvesting 25,596 adult Chinook, 2,290 jacks, and 171 coho.

The lower Hanford Reach (Hwy 395 to the wooden powerline towers at the old Hanford townsite) will remain open to fishing for salmon through October 31. The last day of fishing in the area upstream of the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers is October 22. 

The Yakima River fall chinook fishery has provided a decent number of fish. The Yakima closes on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

This past week WDFW staff interviewed 211 anglers fishing for salmon in the lower Yakima River with 49 adult chinook, 1 Chinook jacks, and 4 coho harvested. Anglers averaged a salmon for every 11 hours of fishing.


An estimated 275 salmon were caught this past week (247 adult fall Chinook, 5 jacks, and 23 coho) bringing the season total to 1,152 salmon.


Dog, pheasant season, work: Setting priorities

Oct. 21, 2014 12:14 p.m. - Updated: 12:19 p.m.

HUNTING — A successful morning hunt.

Time to get back to the other office.


Ecology to present Spokane River flow rule Wednesday

Oct. 21, 2014 9:50 a.m.

RIVERS — A Proposed in-stream flow rule for the Spokane River — important to anglers and paddlers — will be presented during an open house meeting on Wednesday.

The Washington state Department of Ecology will explain the proposal to visitors starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22. A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. 

Where: CenterPlace Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley. 

More information: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/rules/557-ov.html

Deadline for public comments: Nov.7.

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