Apparently, not everyone is celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday this month by taking his “only you can prevent wildfires” message to heart:
More than 100 abandoned (or incompletely extinguished) campfires have been discovered by Mt. Hood National Forest visitors and staff in just the past six weeks.
Recreation was heavily impacted on Mt. Hood National Forest following the Eagle Creek fire in the nearby Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, which makes it a little bit surprising more campers haven’t taken campfire safety procedures to heart.
The good news is, other campers have been quick to help by reporting the unattended campfires they’ve discovered, and consistently cool evening temperatures and periodic rain has helped keep sparks from spreading the fires to nearby vegetation.
To enjoy your campfire safely: Check for local fire restrictions on the forest you are visiting. If fires are allowed, make sure the weather is calm – do not light a fire during windy conditions, which can carry sparks far from your campsite. Use the provided fire rings, or dig a fire pit surrounded by at least 10 feet of bare ground, and surround the pit with rocks. Keep a shovel and bucket filled with water nearby, and stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
To safely extinguish a campfire: Pour water on the fire, stir it into the coals and embers with a shovel, and continue adding water and stirring until all coals are thoroughly soaked and cold to the touch. (Make sure there are no warm embers still trapped beneath the top layers; such fires can smolder for hours or even days before reigniting when the materials around them dry out).
CORVALLIS, Ore. (July 29, 2019) — USDA Forest Service officials are seeking proposals from individuals, businesses, or organizations interested in offering outfitter or guiding opportunities on the Siuslaw National Forest.
This request for proposals, or RFP, is not a formal application process. The RFP is intended to determine the level of interest and identify next steps for issuing outfitter and guide special use permits to interested parties.
Outfitters and guides – who typically offer opportunities such as gear and equipment rentals or recreation experiences led by an expert guide to paying customers – are required to have a special use permit issued by the Forest Service to operate on national forest lands and waters.
Depending on the level of interest expressed in response to this request for proposals, the process for issuing special use permits may be competitive or noncompetitive.
“Outfitters and guides are important partners,” Dani Pavoni, recreation lead for the Siuslaw National Forest, said. “They help open the doors to experiences for people who may not have the skills, experience, or equipment needed to do it on their own, and they help people experience the national forest in new and exciting ways. ”
Pavoni said the forest’s leadership is especially committed to connecting children with nature and partnering with organizations who provide quality outdoor opportunities, and especially encouraged outfitter and guides offering programs that serve youth and historically under-served populations or communities to submit proposals in response to the forest’s RFP.
Proposals are being accepted through Sept. 20, 2019.
More information and proposal documents can be found here.
Questions about special use permits and this request for proposals can be directed to Chris LaCosse, forest recreation specialist, at (541) 271-6017 or SM.FS.SiuNFComment@usda.gov.
BAKER CITY, Ore.(July 25, 2019) — The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has determined that a temporary closure to camping is needed in a small area of the forest due to ongoing resource damage.
This damage is the result of long-term occupancy of the area, and the closure is intended to allow vegetation in the damaged areas time to become reestablished.
Multiple complaints were received from multiple sources. On further investigation, a number of issues, including septic holes, discarded litter and personal belongings, deep ruts in meadows and wetlands, and other forms of abuse from un-managed long term camping, were documented by Forest Service employees.
The Huckleberry Creek Area Closure affects approximately 240 acres of the Whitman Ranger District, located south of Sumpter along Forest Road 1090, and prohibits overnight camping in the area until July 24, 2021, unless rescinded earlier.
ROSEBURG, Ore. (July 28, 2019) — The Umpqua National Forest has implemented a 14-day limit on overnight camping in several areas that had previously been available for longer-term camping on the Tiller Ranger District.
Several other areas of the forest are also closed to long-term camping due to increased visitation or environmental damage from long-term camping; long-term camping limits were adopted for several sites on the Cottage Grove District by a closure order issued last year, and several locations on the North Umpqua District are also closed to long-term camping.
Long-term camping at both developed and non-developed (dispersed) campsites that are easily-accessible and in locations that are popular with visitors has increased significantly in recent years, limiting opportunities for other campers seeking to use these sites and increasing the risk of damage to surrounding natural resources from irresponsible recreation practices, according to a press release from the forest to announced the changes.
“Some of these sites are very popular with visitors, and there aren’t a lot of places suitable for camping, so it really limited access,” Lance Sargent, recreation manager for the Tiller Ranger District, said.
Areas of Tiller Ranger District subject to the new long-term camping closure order include the Forest Service Road 28 and South Umpqua Road corridor, the Forest Service Road 2823 corridor, and the Forest Service Road 29 / Jackson Creek Road corridors.
The Devils Flat, Threehorn, Three C Rock, Black Canyon, Skookum Pond and Falcon Creek campgrounds, and the Cow Creek Trailhead, area also affected by the long-term camping closure order.
The new long-term stay limits have been enacted in an effort to protect Forest resources and visitor health and safety, said Kathy Minor, Tiller District Ranger, said.
“Visitors and Forest staff are experiencing an increase in health and safety risks, as well as the potential for unsafe water quality,” Minor said. “By limiting camping to 14 days, all forest visitors will also have a fair and equitable opportunity to visit and enjoy the Umpqua National Forest.”
The areas affected don’t have running water, toilets, or other facilities sufficient for their use as long-term campsites, as longer stays increase the likelihood of negative impacts to natural resources, including removal of vegetation from areas, user-created trails, improper disposal of human waste and other refuse, and damage to soils as a result of long-term camping when such facilities or other management and oversight isn’t present to monitor their use, according to the forest’s press release.
(Updated Aug. 5, 2019). Smokey Bear turns 75 years old this year, and the U.S. Forest Service’s fire prevention is still hard at work, promoting wildland fire safety and prevention of human-caused fires on public lands, including our National Forests. Smokey stars in television, radio and internet public service announcements. His image is found in coloring books, and on stickers. Each year, he appears at dozens of community events across the Pacific Northwest.
Smokey’s story begins Aug. 9, 1944, when the the Ad Council created a fictional bear to serve as the mascot for the U.S. Forest Service’s fire prevention efforts. But when a bear cub was saved by firefighters during a wildfire in New Mexico in 1950, news of this real-life “Smokey’s” rescue spread quickly across the nation and provided a real-life icon for promoting fire safety and wildfire prevention.
He received so many gifts of honey and an outpouring of mail that he was assigned his own zip code!
Celebrate with Smokey at events around the country this summer, including these upcoming Washington and Oregon -based events:
Friday, Aug. 9:
Siuslaw National Forest hosts Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday Party from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Cape Perpetua Visitor’s Center in Yachats, Ore. Enjoy birthday cake, learn about fire ecology on the Siuslaw National Forest, and with Smokey a “happy birthday” in person, at the party!
Colville National Forest will celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday with cake from 10 a.m – noon at the Forest Headquarters (765 S. Main St.; Colville, WA). Smokey will be available for photos at this location from 10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Colville National Forest will also celebrate Smokey’s birthday with the community by hosting games and giveaways from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Chewelah Farmers Market (Chewelah City Park: N Park Street (U.S. 395) and E. Lincoln Ave.; Chewelah, WA). Forest staff will be there to answer questions, offer forest and fire prevention information, and host activities and games. Smokey will be available for photos from noon-12:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Tillamook Forest Center celebrates Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. with cake, prizes, songs, and games. Don’t leave these birthday candles unattended—only YOU can help Smokey celebrate in style! Programs are free, and open to Smokey Bear fans of all ages. For more details, call (503) 815-6800, visit the forest’s website, or visit the forest’s on Facebook
Saturday, Aug. 10
Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Friends of Fort Vancouver, and the National Park Service will celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center (1501 E. Evergreen Blvd.; Vancouver, WA), 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Children and their families are invited to this free event for fun activities, historical Smokey Bear videos, wildfire prevention safety information, and to Smokey Bear a happy birthday. Children in attendance will have the opportunity to become USDA Forest Service Junior Rangers. Come enjoy a piece of birthday cake with Smokey to celebrate this milestone birthday! Smokey Bear-themed items and national forest recreation maps will be available for purchase in the Friends of Fort Vancouver bookstore.
The Discovery Museum at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Ore. celebrates Smokey’s 75th birthday during August’s “TREEMendous” Second Saturday event. The museum will have birthday treats, Smokey-related crafts, and an in-person visit from Smokey Bear himself! The museum is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults ($7 for seniors), and $5 for children/teens ages 18 and under (children under 3 are admitted free of charge).
Celebrate Smokey’s 75th birthday with activities for all ages, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center(15212 State Hwy. 97A; Entiat, WA). Climb the stairs of an historic fire lookout to hear a former lookout describe his experiences and responsibilities, play games, interact with real wildland firefighters and learn about their fire gear, tools and engines, hug Smokey, and sing happy birthday to him as you enjoy a slice of cake!
For more information about Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, educational activities, and special celebration events planned across the U.S., visit: https://www.smokeybear75th.org.
In recent years, recreation visits have steadily increased on national forests… and the problem of discarded trash sometimes seems to have increased exponentially with the increase in visitors.
KMTR-TV 16 helped staff remind western and central Oregon communities. that trash dumping isn’t welcome on the Willamette National Forest or any other public lands.
The story aired a few days before Independence Day holiday, an especially busy time for recreational visits to National Forests all around the country.
Many forest visitors have heard frequent admonitions from federal, state and local agencies – as well as environmental advocates – to “leave no trace.” But many still fail to realize that discarded trash isn’t just a nuisance; it can be an environmental hazard, threaten wildlife health and safety, and even have adverse impacts on human health.
Phosphorous-heavy soaps and detergents can foster algae and microbe growth – which can result in algae blooms that irritate eyes and skin for humans and wildlife, or other algae growth that trap oxygen needed by fish when it decomposes in the lakes and streams where they live.
Pet waste may carry parasites or microbes that are deadly to wildlife.
And while all trash litters the natural landscapes others come to the forest to enjoy, some creates health and safety hazards for those who encounter it – while also creating many hours of work for volunteers and federal land managers who must train for, plan, and conduct a safe and thorough clean-up of the affected area when such dumping occurs.
PORTLAND, Ore.(July 27, 2019) — As July 4th and the Independence Day holiday approaches, fire officials remind visitors that fireworks and exploding targets are prohibited on public lands.
“With warm and dry conditions, all it takes is one small spark to start a wildfire,” Glenn Casamassa, regional forester for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, said. “Please be safe and responsible with fire when visiting your public lands this summer!”
Fireworks are banned on national forests at all times, regardless of weather or conditions. Fireworks are also prohibited on other public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Oregon State Parks, and Washington State Parks, as well as most county and city parks.
Violators can be subject to a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail (36 CFR 261.52). Additionally, anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for the cost of fighting the fire.
Visitors are also encouraged to practice campfire safety as unattended campfires are the number one source of human-caused wildfires on public land.
If you are planning to have a campfire, remember:
First, check with the local unit and know before you go whether campfires are allowed in the area you are visiting. Fire restrictions may be in place, depending on current conditions.
Keep your campfire small and away from flammable material.
Use a designated campfire ring when available.
Keep water and shovel nearby.
Completely extinguish your campfire by drowning your fire with water and stirring with a shovel.
Make sure your campfire is cold to the touch before leaving it.
Nationally, nearly nine out of ten wildfires are human-caused due to sparks from debris burning, equipment and machinery, campfires, vehicles, and other sources.
The “10 Outdoor Essentials” should be second-nature for anyone engaging in responsible recreation on public lands.
Yet every day, people head outdoors unprepared.
Don’t do it!
The “essentials” list, recognized by everyone from scouts to mountaineers, is an easy way to make sure you’re prepared for anything that comes your way while enjoying the great outdoors.
Can you wear flipflops in the woods? Sure – but make sure you also have sneakers or boots in your pack, in case you get caught outdoors longer than planned.
Speaking of which, have a plan!
Make sure someone knows where you are going and how long you will be gone, so they can sound the alarm if you don’t return when expected.
Shandra Terry, from the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s Office of Communications and Community Engagement, shared these and other essential outdoor tips with KATU-2 Afternoon Live host Tra’Renee Chambers in Portland, Ore. June 4.
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.
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)