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.
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.
The Mt. Hood National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Northwest Oregon District invite the public to comment on a proposal to adopt a comprehensive river management plan for nine rivers as part of a Wild and Scenic River planning project.
Nine rivers were designated as additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act for a total of 81 miles of additional wild and scenic river.
The designated rivers are: Collawash River, Eagle Creek, East Fork Hood River, Fifteenmile Creek, Fish Creek, Middle Fork Hood River, South Fork Clackamas River, South Fork Roaring River, and Zigzag River.
The South Fork Clackamas River includes both Forest Service and BLM-administered lands.
The Forest and BLM began the planning process for these rivers in June 2017.
The purpose of this outreach effort is to invite public involvement process at an early stage of proposal development. Any comments at this stage of project development are welcome. In particular, members of the public who believe they have information the agencies may not be aware of or who have concerns regarding this proposed action are encouraged to send that information in writing to the address provided below.
The agencies anticipate that the level of review necessary for this proposal will be covered through an Environmental Assessment (EA).
Public involvement is a key element of the land management
planning process. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act provides the framework for public participation in the
federal decision making process. Public input at this point in the process will
help identify issues associated with this planning process and guide
development of possible alternatives to the proposed action. Comments will
again be solicited from the public and other federal, state and local agencies
when a preliminary assessment and draft comprehensive river management plan are
The deadline to submit comments is August 26, 2019.
Electronic comments including attachments may be submitted electronically via the website link below. Specific written comments may also be submitted via mail or hand delivered to the Zigzag Ranger Station between the hours of 7:45 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
Comments must have an identifiable name attached, or verification of identity will be required. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments.
To submit via mail or hand delivery, send to: Wild and Scenic River Planning Comments; 70220 E. Highway 26; Zigzag, OR 97049 or BLM Northwest Oregon District, Wild and Scenic River Planning Comments (Attn: Whitney Wirthlin); 1717 Fabry Road SE; Salem, OR 97306.
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.
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.
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)
Lava Lands Visitor Center, Lava Butte, Lava River Cave:
The Lava Lands Visitor Center, Lava Butte and Lava River Cave: are now open to visitors for the 2019 season. Beginning May 3, the visitor center and cave are open Thursday through Monday; Lava Lands Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Lava River Cave is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (site gate at the Lava River Cave closes at 3:45 p.m.).
On May 23, summer hours begin; both sites will open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for the rest of the season.
Deschutes County Rd. 21, which provides access to the monument’s Newberry Caldera, remains gated at 10 Mile Sno-Park due to winter driving hazards. The gate is currently scheduled to open on May 17. Limited access to recreation sites, boat ramps and trails will continue upon the opening of the caldera, due to snow loading. Recreation fees are required where posted. For more information or updates, visit www.deschutes.org/road.
Forest Service Rd. 9720 to Lava Cast Forest is open, and snow free.
Forest Service Road 500 to Paulina Peak is closed; opening date to be determined based on snowmelt (typically end of June to early July).
Lava Butte Shuttle Service: The Lava Butte Shuttle will operate on Memorial Day weekend, then daily from June 15 – Sept. 2. (Lava Butte is open to passenger vehicles when Lava Lands Visitor Center is open and the shuttle is not running).
Paulina Visitor Center: The Paulina Visitor Center is open weekends from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., beginning May 25. The center offers monument information, orientations, and a Discover Your Northwest bookstore.
Forest Service campgrounds in the caldera area will re-open as conditions permit (tentatively, May 24-June 12), for first-come, first-served camping.
Reservations open June 13 for the Little Crater, East Lake, Paulina and Newberry Group campgrounds.
Chief Paulina and Cinder Hill campgrounds are have delayed openings due to an ongoing tree removal project, and are tentatively scheduled to re-open June 27 and Aug. 1, respectively.
The U.S. Postal Service will feature two Pacific Northwest rivers, one in Oregon and one in Washington, on a new Wild and Scenic Rivers “Forever” postage stamp issue scheduled for later this month.
A pane of twelve stamps will be released May 21 that pays tribute to Wild and Scenic Rivers, exceptional streams that run freely through America’s natural landscapes.
Each stamp showcases a different river, and the issue as a whole is designed to highlight the preservation efforts of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which established the federal designation.
Wild and scenic rivers are those deemed remarkable for values including fish and wildlife, geology, recreation and cultural or historical significance, and flow freely through natural settings, and mostly without man-made alterations.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act categorizes designated segments as either wild, scenic or recreational:
Wild rivers are un-dammed, un-polluted and often accessible only by trail.
Scenic rivers may be accessible by roads, in places.
Recreational river areas are readily accessible, may have been dammed or have some shoreline development, but offer exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, boating, and other activities.
Featured rivers include the lower Deschutes River in central Oregon, which runs through the Deschutes National Forest and is recognized as a Wild and Scenic River for its exceptional recreation value.
The Skagit River segment of the Skagit River System, located on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, is also recognized for its recreational value, while the Sauk, Suiattle, and Cascade River segments of the river are designated as scenic under the act.
The more than 200 rivers and river segments designated in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System enrich America’s landscape by providing clean water, places of beauty and sanctuary and habitats for native wildlife.
A “first day of issue ceremony” for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Commemorative Forever stamps will be celebrated at Tumalo State Park in Bend, Oregon on Tuesday, May 21. The ceremony is open to all, with free admission and parking. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at uspsonlinesolutions.com (https://uspsonlinesolutions.wufoo.com/forms/zggcc90134hohk/). News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtag #WildScenicRiversStamps and #WildRiverStamps.
To purchase stamps after the first day of issue (May 21), visit usps.com/shop, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), order by mail through USA Philatelic catalog, or visit Post Office locations nationwide.
Ron Kikel is a bird man. And an ant man. And a wasp guy. Those aren’t his superhero aliases – they’re descriptions of just some of his work as a conservation education specialist for the Mt. Hood National Forest.
But, Kikel is probably best known as the “owl guy.”
Jack is a 12-year old Great Horned Owl. He’s also blind in one eye. Jack was rescued after tangling with some barbed wire, and rehabilitated several years ago by the Rowena Wildlife Clinic, which partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to care for disabled raptors and trains them for use in educational settings.
Kikel met Jack in 2010, at a Wild for Wildlife event. Jack was working with his caretaker, Dr. Jean Cypher, at the time to provide conservation education to students. Kikel was doing similar work for the Forest Service, using a taxidermied owl as a prop.
Their encounter inspired Kikel to pursue training to become a raptor handler, himself.
“With taxidermy, you are mostly talking about anatomy. Kids ask a lot of questions about where the bird came from, sometimes it gets a little off-track,” he said. “Show them the live owl, and you have their attention for at 30 minutes, at least.”
These days, Jack and Kikel work as a team to provide conservation education at schools and public events located near Kikel’s “home base” at the Hood River Ranger District in Parkdale, Oregon.
Sometimes, Jack even joins him at the ranger station’s front desk, where Kikel provides visitor information and the owl has his own perch.
“He’s a star. Everyone likes him a lot,” Kikel said. “He’s probably the best coworker I’ve ever had.”
Kikel isn’t just a bird man, he’s also a bug guy. He’s known in the Forest Service’s regional conservation education community for his nature photos, many of which feature dramatic close-ups of the nature he finds around him.
In his prior career, photography was Kikel’s job. He served 20 years in the Air Force, 12 of them as a photographer working in medical research and forensics.
“I worked at Wilford Hall, a big research hospital. So we had an infectious disease lab, dermatology, poison control. They’d want (close-up) photos for teaching, so I took some courses in it,” he said.
Today, skills he once used to photograph scorpions and fire ants for environmental health brochures given to deploying service members are the same ones he now uses to capture breathtaking images of Pacific Northwest beetles, birds and butterflies.
To avoid disturbing his subjects, Kikel often works with minimal gear, often taking photos with just an old Nikon D-50 camera, a manual macro lens, and sometimes a flash.
Despite the seeming spontaneity of this approach, he said macro photography is actually a very slow-going endeavor.
“It takes a lot of patience, because your subjects aren’t going to sit still,” he said.
These days, Kikel said, he considers his photography to be not his job, but his passion.
But he still finds lots of inspiration at the office.
“Mt. Hood is right outside my window… I can watch it change with the seasons,” he said.
While Kikel credits patience for his most successful shots, he said sometimes a little luck is also required.
He was experimenting with a new camera when he caught a striking image of a Cooper Hawk perched just outside his bedroom.
“I was shooting (pictures of) the birds at my feeder, through the window, and suddenly they all bolted,” he said. “Then I looked up, and said ‘well, that’s why… I’d better get this dude’s picture before he takes off!’”
Whether he’s providing customer service at the ranger station, giving wildlife education talks, or providing tours of Cloud Cap Inn, it’s the interpretive element that drew him to his job.
Seeing the world through a different lens, and being able to
share it, is what draws him to photography, as well.
“It’s really an incredible world, when you see it close up,” he said.
Source information:Catherine “Cat” Caruso is the strategic communication lead for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s Office of Communications and Community Engagement, and edits the “Your Northwest Forests” blog. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Exploring the outdoors is a passion for Rhonda Miller and Mackenzie Williams, and they’re equally passionate about sharing it with others – which is why they lead the “Shoeshoe with a Ranger” program at Stevens Pass on the Mt. Baker-Snoquamie National Forest.
On weekends through March 31, USDA Forest Service wilderness rangers lead visitors on guided, interpretive hikes, using snowshoes donated by outdoor equipment partner REI. The goal is to introduce new visitors to the forest, and the sport – especially those who may not have the experience, equipment, or confidence to head out into the woods on their own.
“There’s all this public land and we want people to benefit from it,” Williams said. “And we want people to enjoy their forest in a way that’s sustainable and allows them to continue enjoying it for a long time.”