Outdoors

Boaters reminded to take education course, volunteers needed for Meet the Beach and comment period on grizzly bear plan extended

The South Sound Estuary Association is looking for volunteers to help with its Meet the Beach program this summer. Training for volunteers will begin in April.
The South Sound Estuary Association is looking for volunteers to help with its Meet the Beach program this summer. Training for volunteers will begin in April. Staff file, 2011

Boating

State emphasizes need for education

The state Parks and Recreation’s Boating Program is using a national campaign, called Spring Aboard, to encourage boaters to take a boater education course before the season begins.

The Spring Aboard effort runs Sunday (March 19) through Saturday.

In the state, boaters operating a vessel with a 15-horsepower engine or larger must carry the Boater Education Card to prove they have passed an education course, according to a State Parks news release.

National and statewide statistics indicate that people who successfully complete a boating safety course are better informed on how to avoid accidents or tragedy on the water, said Wade Alonzo, the state Boating Program manager.

Coast Guard statistics, for example, show that in the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the operator never had boating education instruction.

More information, about courses and the boater education card, is available at boatered.org.

Conservation

Meet the Beach volunteers needed

The South Sound Estuary Association is looking for volunteer to take part in its Meet the Beach program this summer.

Beach volunteers help visitors during low-tide exploration of beaches in the Olympia area.

To prepare new and returning volunteers, the association offers training.

The training begins April 13 and runs through May 13. Professional scientists and local experts will teach participants everything they need to know. No existing knowledge or experience is required to be a volunteer.

New volunteers are required to attend the 18-hour training and submit to a background check. Each volunteer is asked to work 15 hours during the season and become an Estuarium member.

The classroom and beach training dates are: 6-9 p.m. April 13 and 20, 2-5 p.m. April 30, 6-9 p.m. May 4 and 11, and 12:30-3:30 p.m. May 13.

You can apply to be a volunteer by going to sseacenter.org/mtb.

Wildlife

More time to comment on grizzly bears

The opportunity to comment on the proposed alternatives for the restoration of grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem has been extended to April 28. The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received several requests for an extension from members of the public and elected officials.

The comments will be used to help the agencies identify the preferred alternative, which will be published in the final environmental impact statement.

The alternatives analyzed in this draft EIS include a “no-action” alternative, plus three action alternatives that would seek to restore a reproducing population of approximately 200 bears through the capture and release of grizzly bears into the North Cascades ecosystem, according to a news release from the agencies.

You can view the draft statement and submit written comments online at parkplanning.nps.gov/grizzlydeis or via regular mail or hand delivery at: Superintendent’s Office, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 state Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.

The grizzly bear was listed as a threatened species in the contiguous United States in 1975. The species was listed as endangered by the state in 1980.

Compiled by Jeffrey P. Mayor,

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com

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