The USDA Forest Service’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest staffers team up with colleagues from the National Park Service to host an event for national Get Outdoors Day at Fort Vancouver, Wash. each year.
Get Outdoors Day has evolved into a major community event, with visitors from throughout the greater Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. metro area and partners from local organizations, businesses, government partners, and even historical re-enactors, all working together to encourage and inspire members of the public to “GO” – Get Outdoors – and explore!
The 2019 National Get Outdoors Day was also a fee-free day on National Forests in Washington and Oregon.
Fee-free days offer no-cost access to Forest Service -managed trail heads and recreation sites, in an effort to encourage outdoors experiences and ensure all Americans have opportunities to access and enjoy recreation opportunities on their public lands.
USDA Forest Service -designated -fee-free days may not extend to some vendor, or concessionaire, -managed sites, or to sites managed by other federal agencies.
Gallery: Photos from the Get Outdoors Day event, hosted by the USDA Forest Service – Gifford Pinchot National Forest and National Parks Service – Fort Vancouver June 8, 2019 at the fort, located in Vancouver, Wash.
USDA Forest Service photos provided by Gala Miller and Heather Ibsen, Gifford Pinchot National Forest staff
VANCOUVER, Wash.(June 13, 2019) — The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is seeking proposals for a concessionaire to provide high-quality public services in the operations and maintenance of 33 campgrounds, group camps, and associated recreation sites on the forest. Recreation sites being offered in this prospectus are located on the Cowlitz Valley, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams Ranger Districts.
Applicants are encouraged to consider new ways to enhance user experiences at existing campgrounds. This could include interpretative services, campfire talks, concession-owned yurts, cabins or other overnight camping options, to name a few.
The Gifford Pinchot
National Forest provides a broad range of quality recreational opportunities
and experiences for visitors around the world. The concession program
represents one means of delivering recreation opportunities to the public and
providing business opportunities to those interested in managing recreation
sites on the forest.
Applications must be received by the forest no later than Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 at 5 p.m. Anyone interested in this opportunity is encouraged to apply. For questions about the prospectus, contact Debbie Terrion, forest special uses coordinator, at (360) 891-5175 or email@example.com.
Source information: Gifford Pinchot National Forest (press release)
VANCOUVER, Wash.(June 3, 2019) — What would you do with 24,600 square feet and a view of one of America’s most powerful and dynamic landscapes?
Gifford Pinchot National Forest recently released a “Request for Expressions of Interest” from individuals, organizations and companies with a vision for the facility currently in use as the Coldwater Visitor Center on Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
The center was built in 1993, and is located seven miles from Johnston Ridge Observatory, the primary Forest Service visitor center at Mount St. Helens, and is located approximately 45 miles from Interstate 5.
The building boasts spacious atriums with peaked roofs and skylights that both reflect and capture the mountain peaks beyond, a large commercial kitchen, small theater, exhibit areas, dining terrace, and gift shop among its amenities, and is currently used to host educational programming offered by the Mount St. Helens Institute.
But the building also costs $23,000 per year to operate, and $110,000 per year in maintenance expenses, and an estimated $3.3. million is needed to catch up on deferred maintenance needs.
The request, or RFEI, is part of the forest and the monument’s sustainable recreation initiative, an effort to build a high-quality, sustainable recreation program.
Throughout the Forest Service, officials are evaluating existing facilities and infrastructure and re-organizing to ensure forests are managing a sustainable number of sites to a high standard, rather than juggling a large number of sites in poor condition that do not meet safety or sanitation standards.
The agency’s goal is to explore creative options to develop community-based solutions for future management of some facilities, and to identify infrastructure that is no longer needed by the agency or the community.
Forest officials said at this stage, they are not looking for a finished proposal – but they are interested in exploring possible options for the site with entities interested in partnering with the forest to make use of the site.
Proposals could include public, non-profit, private or commercial uses in the existing facility, or demolishing the current structure and building something completely new on the site, Heather Ibsen, a forest spokesperson, said.
Coldwater Visitor Center overlooks Mount St. Helens and is located within the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument area. The center serves thousands of visitors to the monument every year, hosts programming for the Mount St. Helens Institute.
Built in 1993, the structure is located 7 miles from Johnston Ridge Observatory, the primary Forest Service visitor center at Mount St. Helens, and 45 miles from Interstate 5.
Anyone interested in proposing a new use for the space should submit:
A cover letter expressing your interest which includes your name, company or organization, and contact information (phone, address, email address).
An explanation of your concept, including the type of use proposed, and how this use supports the purpose and mission of the Monument and the Forest Service. This section should also include a description of planned improvements and any additional information or considerations relevant to your concept or experience.
Business and financial considerations: Address the nature or any partnerships proposed, including the roles and responsibilities of each entity in the proposed use. Describe the cost of planned improvements and your funding source. (Note: If a permit is issued, a fee will likely be charged. The fee can be for items such as covering the cost of administering the permit, functioning in lieu of rent, or funding a share of building maintenance. Proposals should not be contingent upon the availability of Forest Service funds).
Proposals are due no later than July 31, 2019. The Forest Service will host a site visit June 25, 2019 for interested parties who would like to tour the entire Coldwater Visitor Center facility. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org by June 18, 2019.
To submit your concept, provide both a paper copy and an electronic copy on USB flash drive (jump drive). Submissions should be mailed or hand-delivered to: Mount St. Helens NVM (attn: RFEI); 42218 NE Yale Bridge Rd., Amboy WA 98601.
The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe. Created by Congress after the 1980 eruption that radically transformed the landscape, the Monument protects the scientific, geologic, and ecological resources surrounding the volcano. Nearly 40 years later, scientists still continue to study this area to learn more about volcanic activity and how landscapes recover from disaster.
This year Smokey will celebrate 75 years at the forefront of the Forest Service’s wildfire prevention campaign. To commemorate Smokey’s contributions to the U.S. Forest Service and wildfire prevention, replicas of historic portraits by artist Rudolph Wendelin will travel to National Forests across the country throughout 2019.
Wendelin created hundreds of Smokey representations that highlighted natural resource conservation and wildfire prevention.
Under his direction, Smokey assumed the softer human features, ranger’s hat, jeans and shovel for which he is best known.
The touring exhibit consists of replicas provided by the National Agricultural Library.
The replicas are on display at the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s Mt. Baker Ranger District offices from June 3-16, 2019 during regular office hours. Address: 810 WA Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.
Girls ages 6-15 are invited to join Wild Skills, SheJumps and USDA Forest Service firefighters at Wyeth Campground in Cascade Locks, Ore. for a day of outdoors skills-building, conservation education, and exposure to possible careers in science and natural resources, emergency management, and wildland firefighting!
Participants will work with female firefighters to run hoses, carry packs, and learn about fire behavior, fire safety, land navigation, emergency response work, and team building while enjoying a day in the outdoors on the scenic Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
The event is open to all girls ages 6-15 (transgender and cisgender), and members of the non-binary community who identify with the women’s community. Cost is $35 (scholarships are also available).
Public lands are open to all, but research shows not everyone feels equally at home in them. That’s a problem for our national forests, which are managed by public resources that won’t be made available if the public doesn’t understand their needs. And it’s a missed opportunity for Americans who are not aware of, not encouraged to, or who don’t feel empowered to enjoy the incredible recreation opportunities, inspiration, and personal health and well-being that can be found on public lands. That individual disparity adds up to effects on society as a whole, though less public awareness of rural and ecological issues and in less diversity among applications for forestry-related science programs and for natural resources jobs.
This New York Times article talks about the disparities that exist, and how members of some underrepresented communities are seeking to change it.
VANCOUVER, Wash.(May 29, 2019) – Experience free outdoor activities and family fun at the annual National Get Outdoors Day event Sat. June 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Climb a rock wall, learn to shoot a bow and arrow, catch a fish, play soccer, experience disc golf, listen to live music, and more with activities suitable for children and families!
Learn more about how Pacific Northwest residents experienced the outdoors 180 years ago through a living history exhibit of a Hudson Bay Company fur trader encampment at Fort Vancouver. Costumed re-enactors will demonstrate cooking, crafts, games, dances, music, and weaponry from the 1840s, and host activities for participants to experience elements of that era first-hand.
Get Outdoors Day at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site brings more than 35 land management agencies, non-profits, and outdoor-based businesses to introduce the public to fun outdoor activities.
Booths and food vendors will be lined along East 5th St., to the west of Pearson Air Museum.
“We love working with all of these partners at Get Outdoors Day to help encourage kids and families to experience their public lands,” Gifford Pinchot National Forest Acting Supervisor Angie Elam said.
“Get Outdoors Day brings together multiple agencies and organizations to provide a lively event full of activities and opportunities that embrace the health benefits that outdoor recreation provides,” Fort Vancouver Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said. “As an urban national park, Fort Vancouver NHS serves as an ideal gateway to national parks, forests, trails, and other public lands.”
During the event, the Friends of Fort Vancouver will host two lectures at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center (1501 E Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, WA).
From 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Native American artist Lillian Pitt shares stories of the Columbia River People with children from “Salmon and Coyote Tell my Family Stories.”
From 2-3 p.m., Volcanologist and author Dr. Kevin Scott presents “The Voice of This Stone: Learning from Volcanic Disasters Around the World.” For more information visit: https://tinyurl.com/getoutdoorsvancouver.
New this year: From noon-2 p.m., Repair Clark County will be at Pearson Field Education Center, located next door to the activities at Fort Vancouver, will promote conservation by helping local residents repair damaged items, including outdoors gear and accessories. Skilled volunteers will donate their expertise and labor to help repair participant’s broken or damaged goods. For more info, visit: www.RepairClarkCounty.org.
National Get Outdoors Day is a national free event that encourages everyone, especially youth, to pursue healthy, active outdoor lifestyles – including experiences in our parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands and waters.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Hood National Forests, Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, City of Vancouver, Parks Foundation of Clark County and other public, private, and non-profit groups partner together to present the annual event for residents of the greater Portland, Ore. and southwestern Washington metropolitan areas.
Participating groups and activities include:
Bluegrass jam Audubon Society Bonneville Lock & Dam City of Vancouver Vancouver Parks & Recreation Vancouver Urban Forestry Water Resource Education Center Vive Northwest C-Tran Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Friends of Trees Hike it Baby Gifford Pinchot National Forest Master Gardeners Friends of Fort Vancouver Girl Scouts of OR & SW WA National Wildlife Federation Mount St. Helens Institute Mt. Hood National Forest Pacific Crest Trail Association Quick Start Sports Cascade Forest Conservancy Silver Star Search & Rescue Timber Lake Jobs Corps SW WA Anglers Kids Hiking WA Trails Association US Fish & Wildlife Service – National Wildlife Refuges USDA Forest Service – Fire & Aviation WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Columbia River Gorge Nat’l Scenic Area Glen’s Hands-On Gizmos WA Timbers Football Club Oregon Caves National Monument OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) Ultimate Hunt Backcountry Horsemen Fishing Pokemon Go Urban Abundance Waste Connections Confluence Project
Source information: Gifford Pinchot National Forest (press release)
STEVENSON, Wash. (March 1, 2019) – For the second year, the USDA Forest Service requires permits for visitors interested in hiking Dog Mountain on weekends during peak wildflower season, which began in mid-April and continues through June 16, 2019.
Visitors can obtain permits one of two ways:
Visitors who board the Skamania County West End Transit bus at Skamania Fairgrounds in Stevenson will receive a free permit on arrival at Dog Mountain Trailhead. The shuttle ride costs $1 per person, per trip ($2 round-trip), and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each permit is good for one individual, on the day it is issued. The shuttle runs every half hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through June 16.
Visitors interested in reserving a permit online can submit their request at www.recreation.gov. Dog Mountain hiking permits are offered at no cost, but a $1 per person administrative fee is charged for processing. Visitors parking a vehicle at Dog Mountain Trailhead will also need to pay the recreation site fee of $5 per car for use of the parking area, or present a valid Northwest Forest or interagency federal pass in lieu of the day-use parking permit. Only 250 reservable permits per peak season weekend day are available to limit congestion. Online permits do not guarantee a parking spot, so visitors are encouraged to carpool (or check-out the weekend shuttle service from Skamania Fairgrounds).
The permits are required as part of a partnership between Washington State Department of Transportation, Skamania County, and the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce to protect public safety. The permit program began in 2018, in response to growing safety concerns about congestion and accidents near the Dog Mountain Trailhead.
“Last year’s program was highly successful,” Lynn Burditt, area manager for Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, said, “In fact, many people said they hiked Dog Mountain for the first time last year, because they didn’t have to wake up early to beat crowds into the parking lot.”
Permits will be required for all visitors to the Dog Mountain trail system on Saturdays and Sundays through peak wildflower season (this year, defined as April 20 to June 16), as a measure to prevent congestion at the trailhead by encouraging visitors to take a shuttle.
“We made a few improvements this year – there are more permits available per day, and the administrative fee for online reservations is down to $1 from last year’s cost of $1.50, thanks to a new service provider,” Lorelei Haukness, recreation planner for the scenic area, said.
Each hiker should carry a printed permit or electronic copy of their permit, as Forest Service employees will check for permits at the trailhead.
Back again this year, several businesses in Stevenson will offer discounts to shuttle riders — including Walking Man Brewing, Big River Grill, North Bank Books, Columbia Hardware, and Bits n’ Spurs. Visit Skamania County Chamber of Commerce in Stevenson to learn more about area businesses that are participating.
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with the Gorge Commission, states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection.
Mushroom hunting is a hobby for some, and a business opportunity for others. To ensure that mushroom hunting can continue for years to come, land managers must ensure those harvests happen at a sustainable pace.
That’s why the USDA Forest Service requires permits for both commercial and hobbyist mushroom hunters before collecting mushrooms from National Forest System lands.
What permits are required, and how many are available, varies because conditions on forests vary. Even within a single forest, one species of mushroom may be plentiful, while another species must be managed more closely to ensure enough are left for others, and for wildlife.
On many Pacific Northwest forests, a limited quantity of mushrooms can be collected for personal use with a “free use” permit. These permits are issued at no cost to the user, but the permit requirement helps land managers to track harvest activity and monitor conditions in the areas.
Commercial permits allow for larger harvests, and for resale of mushrooms collected on public lands. These permits which are typically more closely managed to reduce the chance of potential land-use conflicts with other commercial users and recreational visitors.
If you have questions about permit requirements for other National Forests, reach out to the district office or visitors center that serves the area you are interested in hunting mushrooms on. You can find links to websites for all National Forests in Washington and Oregon at https://www.fs.usda.gov/contactus/r6/about-region/contactus
If you’re interested in mushroom hunting as a hobby, your local mycological society can be a great resource. You’ll want to learn what mushrooms are safe to eat, which aren’t, and what rules apply to harvesting in the areas where you’ll be hunting. Never eat a mushroom that you cannot positively identify – many poisonous mushrooms closely resemble species that are safe to eat!
Mycological Societies & Mushroom Club websites serving Washington & Oregon:
Even if you don’t live in a “recreation county,” outdoor recreation may boost your local government’s bottom line.
But economists are starting to measure how access to recreation amenities affects migration, income growth, and spending – and one recent study suggests that having recreation-driven economy, defined as one tied to entertainment and seasonal visitors’ spending, can also lead to growth in both population and local wages.
Recreational amenities seems to attract both newcomers and tourists – and both are bringing economic growth to these areas that is measurably outpacing non-recreation counties, suggests a study conducted by Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit research group.