Outdoors

Outdoors calendar

Winter sports

Right now: Crystal Mountain, White Pass and the Summit at Snoqualmie are all open and enjoying quality snow.

Crystal Mountain is 84 miles from Olympia off state Route 410 just outside the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park.

n Information: 360-663-2265; snowline: 888-SKI-6199

n Web site: www.crystalmt.com

The Summit at Snoqualmie is 45 miles east of Seattle off Interstate 90. The Summit's tubing area is open today.

n More information: 425-434-7669 or 888-804-6404; snowline: 206-236-1600

n Web site: www.summitatsnoqualmie.com

White Pass is about 130 miles from Olympia off U.S. Highway 12, southeast of Mount Rainier National Park.

n Size: 635 acres.

n Information: 509-672-3100.

n Web site: www.skiwhitepass.com

Right now: The huge floods in early November cut the world-famous Mount Tahoma Trails Association ski trail system in two, but miles and miles of prime cross-country skiing are still open. This huge complex of scenic cross-country trails is near Ashford, which offers great inns and places to eat. For more information, go to www.skimtta.com.

Saturdays: Take a road trip to lesser-known - but powder-rich - Mission Ridge ski area in Central Washington near Wenatchee. Mission Ridge is just 12 miles from Wenatchee, and the resort has special deals with most local hotels. Mission Ridge even runs a ski bus from Wenatchee to the ski hill and back. This is a casual ski hill with high-powered terrain, great snow and skimpy crowds. For more information, go to www.missionridge.com.

Mount Rainier National Park

Sundays: Unescorted visitors can walk the Nisqually Road in Mount Rainier National Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The road is closed to walkers every other day of the week because of heavy traffic from construction equipment. Visitors can join a park ranger for a guided hike at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 360-569-2211, ext. 6131, or visit www.nps.gov/mora.

Saturdays and Sundays: Join Mount R ainier National Park rangers for short walks to the Sunshine Point Campground to see the heavy damage from the early November floods that washed out many park roads and campgrounds. The short walk starts from the Nisqually entrance and will show visitors the damage to the Nisqually Road and the near-elimination of Sunshine Point Campground. The walks will leave the Nisqually entrance at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

Most of the park remains closed to visitors, but park officials said these options remain: People can snowshoe or cross-country ski from the closed park gate on state Route 123. Snowshoeing and skiing also is available on state Route 410 from the junction with Crystal Mountain Road towards the park.

For more information, call 360-569-2211 or go to www.nps.gov/mora.

Shooting

Thursday through Saturday: Join the Puget Sound Free Trappers for their Rain Dee Voo, which will feature blackpowder rifle shooting, blackpowder pistol shooting, archery, a trading post -- and a bunch of people wearing the clothing and using the equipment of the trappers of the early 1800s. Visitors and nonshooters are welcome to attend.

This event is at the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club in Littlerock. For more information, call 360-352-4224 or 360-264-2247 or go to www.wamuzzleloaders.org.

Hikes

Saturday: The Mountaineers are celebrating their 100th anniversary with a 3.4-mile hike in Seattle from the Magnolia Community Center to the northwest corner of Discovery Park. The public is invited to join the hike, which starts at

9 a.m. A lunch and program will follow the hike. For more information, go to www.mountaineers.org.

State parks

Right now: The 2007 Washington State Parks calendar is on sale for $12.95. The calendar features color photographs of some of the most beautiful scenes at state parks. Calendar proceeds go toward park maintenance. To buy a calendar, go to www.parks.wa.gov/specialoffers.

Birding

Right now: The February Birdwise television program features woodpeckers - with special attention to the red-breasted sapsucker. Viewers also can learn how sapsuckers got their name and why yellow-shafted flickers and northern flickers are considered the same species. Watershed Park is the featured birding site. Birdwise can be viewed in Thurston County on TCTV cable channel 22/29 on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.

Saturday: Join a downtown Olympia birdwatching trip with noted local birder Burt Guttman. Anyone can join this Black Hills Audubon Society trip, which is three hours of spotting ducks, waterfowl and other birds on Capitol Lake and downtown Olympia. This is a great trip for beginner birders!

The tour will start at the Marathon Park parking lot at 9 a.m. and end about noon. Call Black Hills Audubon at 360-352-7299 to sign up.

Friday through Monday: The Great Backyard Bird Count is happening, and beginner to expert birders count the highest number of each bird species they see. You can count birds in local parks, at wildlife refuges - or your own backyard. After counting, you go to www.birdsource.org/gbbc and enter your numbers. The count gives scientists a real-time snapshot of bird populations and trends throughout Canada and the United States.

Fishing

Saturday and Sunday: The Fly Fishing Show lands in the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for two days of immersion into all things flyfishing. Anglers can attend seminars, slide shows, a video film festival and lectures. Many tackle manufacturers, outfitters and famous fly anglers will be there. Admission is $14 for one day or $24 for two days.

For more information, call 800-420-7582 or go to www.flyfishingshow.com

Saturday through Monday: Anglers will compete for cash and other prizes during the 31st Discovery Bay Salmon Derby. Prizes include $3,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $750 for third place. The smallest legal fish wins $500. The prize list is huge - there were so many prizes in 2006 that all 65 anglers who submitted fish won a prize.

Three boat launches are within the Derby area, and all have fish drop-off stations: Port Townsend Boat Haven gas dock, Gardiner Boat Ramp and John Wayne Marina.

The Derby is part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, run by the Northwest Marine Trade Association. All Derby ticket holders will be entered in the end-of-year grand prize drawing for a 23-foot center console Pacific Boat, powered by a Honda 4 Stroke Motor, with a galvanized EZ Loader Trailer. For anglers younger than 16, this year there is also a separate "kids boat" drawing, for a 14-foot Stabi-Craft boat, Suzuki motor and EZ Loader Trailer.

Entry tickets are $30 and are available online at www.SwainsInc.com, at many local vendors through close of business Saturday, and at the three drop-off stations during the Derby. Further details and Derby rules can be found at www.DiscoBaySalmonDerby.com, or you can call 360-797-7711.

Right now: The Columbia River is open to smelt dipping 24 hours a day. The smelt dip-netting on the Cowlitz River is allowed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays through March 31. Smelt returns are expected to be poor this year, which is why Cowlitz dippers are restricted to one day a week. The limit on the Cowlitz is 10 pounds of fish, while Columbia dippers can keep 25 pounds of fish. For more information, go to wdfw.wa.gov.

Right now: Go down to Offut Lake Resort near Tenino and spend a couple of hours fishing off the dock. A regular corps of veteran anglers fish for rainbow trout off the dock all winter long, and they often bring home a nice fish or two for dinner. The resort also has cabins and camp sites with full hook-ups. For more information, call 360-264-2438 or go to www.offutlakeresort.com.

Meetings

n The South Sound Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. The meeting is at American Legion Hall, 3201 Boston Harbor Road N.E., Olympia. For more information, call 360-748-9442 or 360-491-0431 or go to www.sschapterpsa.com

n South Sound Fly Fishers meets on the third Tuesday of each month at American Legion Hall, 3201 Boston Harbor Road N.E. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 360-754-4429.

Mount St. Helens

Now: The Johnston Ridge Observatory in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is closed for winter. The Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center reopened Feb. 1 on a Thursday-through-Monday schedule. For more information, call 360-274-2114 or go to www.fs.fed.us/gpnf.

If you know of an event that should be included in The Olympian's Outdoors Calendar, contact Olympian Outdoors, P.O. Box 407, The Olympian, Olympia, WA 98506; fax 360-357-0202; call 360-754-4226; or send e-mail to callen@theolympian.com. Include the date, a short description and a contact telephone number. Grab a shovel and dig some clams

Friday through Sunday: Diggers will get another shot at coastal razor clams at four coastal beaches.

Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Kalaloch will open to razor clam digging on evening tides on Friday and Saturday. Twin Harbors will open for a final evening of digging on Sunday.

Razor clam digs are probably the biggest outdoor events of the year. Thousands of people hit the beaches with shovels and clam guns - and most of them dig a limit.

Diggers are limited to 15 razor clams, and they must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's limit must be kept in a separate container. The best clamming starts at about an hour before low tide. Evening low tides for the season are:

5: 47 p.m. Friday.

6: 28 p.m. Saturday

7: 08 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, go to wdfw.wa.gov or call 360-902-2500.

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