Recreation

Early this winter, skiers in the Northwest were excited. But then after about Christmas things turned dour. The once-epic snowpack is now long gone. In Washington state, it melted down in record time to less than half of average for early June.

And there hasn’t been much rain this spring either. The Cascades, Olympics and Blues are all hurting.

From Wenatchee, Washington, to Bend, Oregon, whitewater rafting guides are preparing for a flood of business as school lets out. But this year’s low snowpack could mean less whitewater and more demand for trips.

AP Images

The Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area is a 50-mile long sandbox stretching along the coast from Florence to North Bend . Giant dunes reach up to 500 feet tall and rolling hills of open sand can seem to stretch to the horizon.

But the dunes are in trouble. Invasive vegetation is quickly closing in, shrinking the open sand.

A new Forest Service plan addresses how off-road vehicles use the dunes.

It’s a quiet morning at the Oregon dunes. Usually, you’d hear the buzz of off-road vehicles here.

Idaho Parks and Recreation Department director David Langhorst is asking for approval to raise money for state parks through corporate sponsorships.

DarkRavag3r

Washington state lawmakers have new information that might influence future environmental preservation legislation.

A study released today concludes the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Washington exceed $21 billion a year.

It finds the average Washingtonian spends 56 days a year in outdoor recreation activities.  That includes things like camping, golfing, biking, fishing and boating.

It calculated the value of everything associated with those activities -- from equipment to food and gas, to the cost of the land used for the activities.

http://www.visitidaho.org / http://www.visitidaho.org/attraction/parks/hells-gate-state-park/

There’s no need to roam too far from home to have a great summer vacation. The Northwest has many beautiful state parks for you to visit. The Northwest alone is home to more than 400 city, state and national parks! Here are just five Northwest state parks you’re going to want to check out.

1. Hells Gate State Park

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Timber giant Weyerhaeuser is joining the pay-to-play and pay-to-hunt trend. This week, the largest private forestland owner in Oregon and Washington will begin selling seasonal access permits to hunters, horse riders, hikers and other recreators. The Washington state-based company is not the first to charge access fees. But the breadth and high prices it will charge are generating more push back than before. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Amelia Templeton

More than a million visitors have ridden the chair lifts at the famous Whistler resort in British Columbia. That figure doesn’t count skiers or snowboarders- it’s just the number of mountain bikers there. The brisk business at Whistler has inspired ski areas from Stevens Pass in Washington to Mount Bachelor in Oregon to build their own summer bike parks. But Amelia Templeton of EarthFix reports, some environmental groups say mountain biking isn’t an appropriate activity in alpine meadows.

Trails Of Trouble On Wild Lands

Mar 13, 2013
Jay Krajic

Some federal budget cuts can be found in places you might not be looking -- deep in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. As EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz explains, for hikers and horse packers, frustration is mounting over the state of disrepair of recreational trails on public land.

Photo by Derek Ramsey / Wikimedia Commons

The holiday season is upon us. And along with that comes ski season. Snow is falling in the Cascades. Wednesday is opening day at Crystal Mountain and Mount Baker. Tuesday Stevens Pass opened.

But giddy enthusiasm from skiers and snowboarders’ throughout the region is overshadowed by an accident at Stevens Pass last February. It was big.

News Report: “We’re gonna begin with those deadly avalanches. A deadly avalanche near Stevens Pass /We are gonna begin with the breaking news: that deadly avalanche in Washington state.”

Three people were killed that day.

Now, as KUOW’s Sara Lerner reports, ski industry veterans are trying to come up with new ways to keep people safe in the back country.