Nominate outstanding volunteer for natural resources honor

September 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 22, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources is searching statewide to recognize a top volunteer.

The agency is accepting nominations for the inaugural Commissioner of Public Lands’ Volunteer Hero Award. The recipient might be a dedicated blackberry buster on public lands, or a dedicated participant in efforts to build trails in state forests.

Organizers said ideal candidates should have demonstrated leadership and commitment in sustained service to the agency’s volunteer program. The period to submit a nomination is open until Sept. 28.

Volunteers play a key role in the success of many efforts, including the recreation and natural areas program. The agency relies on thousands of volunteers so visitors can enjoy safe, sustainable and high-quality outdoor recreation experiences on Department of Natural Resources-managed lands.

Celebrate National Public Lands Day in Tiger Mountain State Forest, national parks

September 19, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. Sept. 19, 2012

Washingtonians can celebrate National Public Lands Day in Tiger Mountain State Forest, other state forestlands or at national parks.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the lineup for National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, includes a mountain bike trail construction event on Tiger Mountain.

The annual event is meant to encourage people to head outside and enjoy the outdoors.

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark invited the public to join volunteers to celebrate the event on Department of Natural Resources-managed lands across Washington.

Statewide, hundreds of volunteers plan to join the agency and partner organizations to repair trails, clean up litter, clear brush, remove invasive plants and complete other projects in recreation lands and conservation areas.

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Evergreen Enduro Tiger Mountain Bike Race comes to Issaquah Alps

September 18, 2012

For the first time, the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance will present the inaugural Evergreen Enduro Tiger Mountain Bike Race on Sept. 22.

More than 150 racers will assemble in the upper Tiger Mountain Summit parking lot off highway 18 between 8 and 9 a.m.; racing will get underway at 10 a.m.

All proceeds from the race will go toward building and maintaining mountain bike trails on Tiger Mountain, which have been in operation for the past 20 years, but have never served as a venue for a race.

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King County burn ban continues

September 11, 2012

Continued dry conditions have led the King County fire marshal to extend the countywide burn ban until further notice, officials announced Aug. 31.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said last month marked the driest August ever at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with only a trace of rain recorded. (Meteorologists use data collected at the airport for official climate records in the region.)

The fire marshal — and officials in Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties — declared a regional burn ban in July. The ban was due to end Sept. 1.

Other burn bans remain in effect, too.

The state Department of Natural Resources set a summer burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state lands from July 1 to Sept. 30. Eastside Fire & Rescue imposed a summer burn ban from June 15 to Sept. 30.

Tiger Mountain State Forest bike trail opens

September 11, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources opened a mountain bike trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest on Sept. 5 — 1.4-mile-long stretch long awaited by mountain bikers.

The result of months of construction, East Tiger Summit Mountain Bike Trail is the first new mountain bike trail built on Tiger Mountain in 20 years. The trail is accessible from the Tiger Summit Trailhead along state Route 18 southeast of Issaquah.

Department of Natural Resources planners received a pair of state Recreation and Conservation Office grants to build mountain bike trails on East Tiger Mountain and connect the path to existing trails.

The state received significant help from the nonprofit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and volunteers to complete the project.

State opens mountain bike trail on Tiger Mountain

September 5, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 5, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources opened a mountain bike trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest on Wednesday.

The 1.4-mile East Tiger Summit Mountain Bike Trail is the first new mountain bike trail built on Tiger Mountain in 20 years.

The state joined the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance on the project. Crews from the Department of Natural Resources, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Washington Conservation Corps — as well as volunteers — dedicated hundreds of hours to support the project.

The trail is accessible from the Tiger Summit Trailhead along state Route 18 southeast of Issaquah.

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King County fire marshal extends summer burn ban

September 1, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 1, 2012

Continued dry conditions led the King County fire marshal to extend the countywide burn ban until further notice, officials announced Aug. 31.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said August marked the driest August ever at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with only a trace of rain recorded. (Meteorologists use data collected at the airport for official climate records in the region.)

The dry August beat the old record of 0.01 inch set in 1974.

The fire marshal — and officials in Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties — declared a regional burn ban in July. The ban was due to end Sept. 1.

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Practice fire safety during Labor Day weekend

August 28, 2012

Officials reminded the public to practice fire safety as residents head outside to celebrate Labor Day weekend.

Though the King County burn ban expires Sept. 1, other local restrictions remain in place.

Department of Natural Resources officials set a summer burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state lands from July 1 to Sept. 30.

On state forestlands, users can build recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.

Eastside Fire & Rescue imposed a summer burn ban June 15 for residents in Issaquah, Sammamish and nearby communities. The moratorium is in effect through Sept. 30.

For Labor Day cookouts, propane, natural gas and charcoal fires do not require a burn permit.

State lands commissioner asks for help from public amid high wildfire risk

August 16, 2012

NEW — 10:30 p.m. Aug. 16, 2012

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark asked for help from the public Thursday to prevent wildfires, as the risk rises on both sides of the Cascades.

“The next three days are going to be very dangerous in terms of the potential for wildfire,” he said in a statement. “That is true in Western Washington as well as Eastern Washington. It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe and not take any risks.”

The request came as the National Weather Service maintains a regional excessive heat warning for communities along Puget Sound and in the Cascade foothills. Temperatures could approach 100 degrees in Issaquah on Thursday.

The weekend forecast includes a significant risk of lightning-sparked wildfires.

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State money is available to restore fish passages

August 7, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications from small forest landowners to apply for grants to remove culverts and fish passage barriers.

Through the Family Forest Fish Passage Program, the agency has enough funding to remove about 100 additional fish blockages statewide through 2014.

Structures eligible for the program must be associated with a road crossing on forestland, on a fish-bearing stream, present a barrier to fish and be owned by a small forest landowner.

Find the online application — and a way for forest landowners to arrange fish passage evaluations — at www.surveymonkey.com/FFFPP.

State law requires forestland owners to remove barriers so salmon and other fish can migrate and reach food and spawning areas upstream, but the cost of correcting or replacing culverts can be prohibitively high for many small forest landowners.

The program has corrected 232 barriers and reconnected 485 miles of fish habitat statewide since 2003.

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