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)
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.
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.
The cave is home to Townsend’s big-eared bat, which is listed as a sensitive species in Washington and Oregon.
Bats are susceptible to White Nose Syndrome, a deadly disease triggered by a fungal infection that can kill entire bat colonies by disrupting their winter hibernation.
A USDA Forest Service interpreter will be on site at Boulder Cave to provide information about the cave and explain the White Nose Syndrome prevention protocol visitors must follow as they enter the cave., which include brushing and scraping off the soles of their shoes when entering and leaving the cave.
We’re all about providing great recreation on public lands while minimizing harmful impacts to wildlife,” Joan St. Hilaire, a USDA Forest Service wildlife biologist, said. “To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, visitors are asked to brush off and scrape their shoes on an astro turf carpet prior to entering and leaving the cave.”
Cave visitors are also encouraged to wash clothing, outerwear, and gear between visits to different caves or other places bats congregate.
When visiting Boulder Cave, all visitors are required to carry a flashlight. A good pair of walking shoes and layered clothing are also recommended. Pets are not allowed.
“We can all do our part by limiting all noise, staying on the trail, not touching cave walls, and keeping lights off the ceiling (to avoid disturbing the bats),” St. Hilaire said.
The cave is closed annually from September through May to provide a secure refuge during the bats’ hibernation period.
Source information: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (press release)
To successfully reproduce, conifers, or cone-bearing trees, must have impeccable timing to open their female cones just as pollen is being released from from the male cones of nearby trees.
This timing is a response to temperature and other environmental cues. It is to the tree’s advantage to flower when risk of damaging frost is low, but early enough in the spring to take full advantage of the growing season.
Since Douglas-fir is ecologically important and the cornerstone of Pacific Northwest’s timber industry, seed orchard managers carefully breed different populations of the species to produce seedlings that will thrive in particular areas in need of replanting.
Understanding the environmental cues that influence the timing of flowering is important for predicting how reproduction and survival of trees will change in the future.
To address this need, a team of researchers with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station developed a model that predicts, within an average of 5 days, when Douglas-fir will flower – which seed orchard managers are already using to plan and schedule time-sensitive tasks related to flowering in the orchards.
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)