Free festival at South Sound Estuarium
The Turn of the Tides Festival on Saturday will fill the South Sound Estuarium with family activities, storytelling and an appearance by local illustrator, artist and author Nikki McClure.
The event includes a craft fair with local artists, live Irish music by Pinniped, a hot cocoa station, cookies and education booths from local organizations.
The winners of the Estuarium’s first short story contest will be read.
The free annual event will run 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Estuarium, 309 State Ave. NE, Olympia.
Partnering with the South Sound Estuary Association on the event is the LOTT WET Science Center.
For more information, go to sseacenter.org.
Snowplay area likely opens before Christmas
The snowplay area at Mount Rainier National Park could open as soon as the weekend before Christmas.
That is what park Superintendent Randy King said last week.
With more than 70 inches of snow on the ground, that exceeds the 60 inches the park likes to have before it begins grooming. Staff wants to make sure there is enough snow to protect the fragile meadow vegetation at Paradise.
“We’ve been getting snow and are expecting more, so hopefully snow depth won’t be a problem in a week or two when grooming would likely occur,” King said.
The snowplay area, just uphill from the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, is the only location in the park where sledding is allowed.
For safety reasons, only “soft” sliding devices such as flexible sleds, inner tubes and saucers are allowed. No hard toboggans or runner sleds.
Olympic National Forest
Dan Evans Wilderness step closer to reality
Legislation to rename a wilderness area in honor of former governor and U.S. Sen. Dan Evans moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when it was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. It unanimously passed in the Senate in July. The bill would change the name of the 877,000-acre Olympic Wilderness to the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness. The bill, backed by the entire Washington congressional delegation, needs the president’s signature.
Evans was the lead sponsor of the Washington Park Wilderness Act of 1988 that designated more than 1.5 million acres of wilderness areas in Washington’s national parks, including the Olympic Wilderness. He also cosponsored an act in 1984 that designated more than 1 million acres of wilderness lands in the state’s national forests.
State buying Klickitat forest land
The state will spend nearly $4 million to purchase more than 2,400 acres of scenic forestland north of Glenwood in Klickitat County and create a new community forest.
The state Board of Natural Resources recently authorized the state Department of Natural Resources to purchase the tract from Hancock Timber Resource Group, which has sought for several years to sell the land. The area, east of Mount St. Helens and south of Mount Adams, will now be known as the Klickitat Canyon Community Forest.
An advisory committee of representatives from the community and local governments will develop a management plan for the new forest. Under an agreement with the department, the Columbia Land Trust will coordinate tdevelopment and implementation of the management plan, making sure is compatible with the agency’s goals to support fish and wildlife habitat and provide public access to recreation.
Revenues earned from the forest will pay management costs and accomplish objectives set out in the management plan.
Nearly all of the funds needed for the purchase will come through a grant from the federal Forest Legacy program, which works with states to keep working forest lands intact. The Columbia Land Trust will contribute $96,000 to the purchase.
Compiled by Jeffrey P. Mayor,