Practice fire safety this Labor Day weekend

August 30, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 30, 2014

This three-day Labor Day weekend, fire experts with the Washington Department of Natural Resources are urging campers, hikers, woodcutters and other forest visitors to be especially careful with fire this weekend. Despite some recent rain and cooler weather, fire danger remains high.

“Even though our large fires have been contained, we are still seeing new fires,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a news release. “We’re asking people to be extremely cautious over the Labor Day weekend.”

In an effort to reduce human-caused wildfires, the department issued a statewide burn ban on all lands under department protection, effective through Sept. 30. The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington state, except federal lands. While campfires are allowed in approved pits west of the Cascade crest in all state, local and private campgrounds, they are not allowed east of the Cascades.

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State Parks offers free parking Saturday and Tuesday

April 18, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. April 18, 2014

Washington State Parks has 12 free days in 2014 when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass to visit a state park, including Lake Sammamish State Park. The next dates are April 19 and 22.

The free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on state-managed recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the state Department of Natural Resources.

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State Parks offers a day of free parking

March 11, 2014

Washington State Parks has 12 free days in 2014 when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass to visit a state park. The next date is March 29.

The free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on state-managed recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Natural Resources.

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Squak Mountain timber plan concerns conservationists, neighbors

February 8, 2013

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Feb. 8, 2013

High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area.

Since a timber company purchased the forest and started the process to permit logging on the site, conservationists and nearby residents mobilized to fight the proposal to clear cut the land. The logging opponents said cutting trees on the land could lead to more flooding downhill, damage sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, and add a timber harvest site near conservation lands.

The proposal from Eatonville-based Erickson Logging to harvest timber on 216 acres on the mountainside above Renton-Issaquah Road Southeast galvanized residents on Squak Mountain and near May Creek, a destination for runoff from the mountain.

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Tiger Mountain State Forest is closed to Christmas tree cutting

November 27, 2012

Forget about cutting a fresh Christmas tree or pine boughs in Tiger Mountain State Forest or on other state lands.

The state Department of Natural Resources does not sell holiday greenery from state trust lands; agency officials limit timber harvests and foraging. The agency manages the public lands, and under state law, timber harvests must benefit public schools, universities and other state institutions.

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State adds flexible start date to Discover Pass

November 23, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012

State agencies encourage holiday shoppers to consider a Discover Pass as a gift for family and friends interested in the outdoors.

Officials added a feature recently to allow purchasers to choose the pass’ start date. The option is available to customers who purchasing the pass at www.discoverpass.wa.gov, or in person from authorized retailers through the Washington Interactive Licensing Database, or WILD, system.

The pass is available in Issaquah at Big 5 Sporting Goods, Fred Meyer and Sports Authority.

The buyer can activate the pass immediately or on any day within one year of purchase.

State legislators passed the option into law in 2012 to allow greater flexibility to outdoor recreation enthusiasts, including people interested in giving the pass as a gift.

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Tiger Mountain trail development is recommended for state grant

November 20, 2012

The state Recreation Conservation Office recommended Tiger Mountain trail development — and more than 100 projects statewide — as priority projects for grants, proponents announced last month.

Funding for the Tiger Mountain trails and other projects hinges on dollars for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, a program established to conserve land and waterways.

If the $320,000 grant for Tiger Mountain is funded, the state Department of Natural Resources can develop two trails or about five miles overall in east Tiger Mountain State Forest. The project requires a $137,200 match from the Department of Natural Resources.

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Parks waive fees for all on Veterans Day weekend

November 6, 2012

Residents can explore the outdoors for free as state and national parks waive entrance fees for Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12.

Lake Sammamish, Squak Mountain and other state parks do not require a Discover Pass during the holiday weekend. The waiver also applies to lands run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources, including Tiger Mountain State Forest.

The fee waiver encompasses all 398 national parks — including Washington’s Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks.

Tiger Mountain trail development is recommended for state grant

November 1, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Nov. 1, 2012

The state Recreation Conservation Office recommended Tiger Mountain trail development — and more than 100 projects statewide — as priority projects for grants.

Funding for the Tiger Mountain trails and other projects hinges on dollars for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, a program established to conserve land and waterways.

If the $320,000 grant for Tiger Mountain is funded, the state Department of Natural Resources can develop two trails or about five miles overall in east Tiger Mountain State Forest. The project requires a $137,200 match from the Department of Natural Resources.

Leaders at the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a nonprofit group set up to support the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, praised the project list.

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Tiger Mountain is test for commissioner of public lands candidates

October 30, 2012

Tiger Mountain is a destination for hikers, mountain bikers and loggers, and the official responsible for acting as a referee to balance the competing interests is the state commissioner of public lands.

Clint Didier

Peter Goldmark

Republican Clint Didier is challenging the incumbent, Democrat Peter Goldmark, to serve as the top natural resources official in Washington.

The commissioner of public lands leads the state Department of Natural Resources, and oversees about 3 million acres of forests, agricultural land and other properties, as well as about 2.6 million acres of shorelines, tidelands, lakes and rivers.

The position carries outsized influence in the Issaquah area. The agency is often a factor in local policymaking, due to the connections among the Department of Natural Resources, Issaquah City Hall and outdoor recreation groups.

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