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Beginning this month, hikers can purchase and print a day pass for trailheads where you need a Northwest Forest Pass. The e-Pass is a new, convenient option for spur-of-the-moment adventures on trails in Washington's National Forests, from Umatilla National Forest to Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie.
All Forest Service trailheads in Washington and Oregon with developed facilities (restrooms and trash cans that need to be serviced, picnic tables, etc.) require a pass. This includes most trailheads in the Cascades and Olympics. (See a map and list of the public lands covered by the pass.)How the new e-Pass day pass option works: purchase, print and go
Note: The e-Pass print option currently only applies to single day passes, not to annual passes.
Annual pass: If you plan to hike on trails in National Forest lands more than once, you may want to consider purchasing an annual Northwest Forest Pass for $30. The pass is available at National Forest offices and visitor centers and via private vendors or online. Passes may also be purchased at the Seattle WTA office or on wta.org.
Volunteer to earn a pass: Volunteers who do trail work on Northwest Forest lands with WTA can receive an annual Northwest Forest Pass by volunteering for 2 days of trail work.
Where the fees go: With massive cuts to the federal budgets of National Forests over the last decade, the fees collected by the Northwest Forest pass help support basic services that keep our beloved trails clear and enjoyable to hike, including: trail maintenance, rangers, trailhead security, and restroom and trash upkeep.Bookmark these pages on passes
Because we have a wealth of public lands managed by different state and federal agencies, the passes, fees and regulations can get confusing. In the links below, we run down all of the various recreation passes for national parks, forests and state lands—from the Northwest Forest Pass to Washington's Discover Pass. Additional information for specific trailheads can be found on many of our Hiking Guide entries.
Today’s guest blog about the #7 White River, Colorado- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Neil Shader with The Wilderness Society. With a mission to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect nearly 110 million acres of wilderness in 44 states.
Ask Secretary Jewell to protect the White River, Colorado, from irresponsible energy development | © DaylilyFan
The White River Basin in northwest Colorado, just south of Dinosaur National Monument, is a place that has already been identified as “too wild to drill.” Now, thanks to the continuing threat of oil and gas drilling in the area, it’s made another list— one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Oil and gas wells already dot many of the hills and valleys along the White River. But there could be thousands more coming if the Bureau of Land Management follows through on some of their plans. More than 15,000 additional wells have been proposed for the area— threatening wilderness-quality landscapes and wildlife habitat.
The foothills along the southern bank of the White River between Meeker and Rangely, Colorado, host thousands of acres of “lands with wilderness characteristics”— some of the best unprotected wild lands in America. Places like Lower Wolf Creek, Boise Creek, and Hammond Draw are also home to mule deer that migrate into the area in the summer and during especially harsh winters. Greater sage grouse also find refuge in the sagebrush sea that follows the river. Adding 15,000 more oil and gas wells to the area threaten these iconic western species and the wild lands that they live on.
And if a single well pad covers an acre of land, that means 15,000 acres of lost habitat alone— not counting the maze of roads, pipelines, and electric lines that will crisscross the area and further tear apart these wilderness-quality lands.
Rather than simply adopting the “add 15,000 more oil and gas wells” idea, the BLM is also looking doing what is called a “Master Leasing Plan” for the area around the White River. Created with input from local communities, conservation groups, and other experts on wildlife and wilderness, a Master Leasing Plan would direct oil and gas development away from the most sensitive areas of the White River basin.
Currently, a Master Leasing Plan has been proposed for the area, known as the Dinosaur Trails area. This Plan would add Backcountry Conservation Area status to many of the wilderness-quality lands, keeping them off-limits to oil and gas drilling, and helping keep them open for recreation like hiking and backpacking. This type of outdoor recreation is vital to the area, with more than 192,000 visitors annually who spend more than $6.7 million supporting local, sustainable jobs.
The BLM should release the Dinosaur Trails Master Leasing Plan in 2014— hopefully soon. In the meantime, leasing in and around the White River should be curtailed until the MLP is finished, so that wild areas like Blair Mountain, Wolf Creek, and other lands with wilderness characteristics aren’t degraded or destroyed. With a well-thought-out Master Leasing Plan, the BLM can find a balance between conservation and energy that doesn’t involve putting wells all over the entire White River Basin.
Please join us in asking the BLM to ensure that their management of oil and gas development in the White River Basin achieves balance and truly manages for multiple-uses, not just resource extraction!
Just weeks before bike to work month, King County voters face a vital April special election. It will determine whether Metro Transit will face huge cuts and if we maintain King County roads for cars and bikes.
Vote YES on Prop 1 to keep our buses running and prevent major cuts to Metro bus service. We need to make sure our seniors, students, people with disabilities, and working families still have a way to get around.
Vote YES on Prop 1 to preserve King County’s roads and bridges. Forty percent of Prop 1 goes directly to each community in the county to make our streets, roads, and bridges safer. Spending $1 now to repair our roadways avoids $6-14 in replacement costs if we continue to put off these critical investments. Better local roads benefit bicyclists across King County.
We like bike racks on buses – we need more of these, not less. Every workday 400,000 trips are taken on Metro; less buses mean worse traffic and a longer commute.
Ballots are due by April 22nd — Earth Day. But there’s no need to wait. Mail in your ballot as soon as you get home. Vote YES on Prop 1 today!
Together we can keep King County moving whether you bus, bike, drive, or walk.
Earthjustice tiene el honor de dar la bienvenida a Lisa García, anterior Asociada Asistente de Administración en la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) como la nueva Vicepresidente de Litigio del programa de Salud.
Earthjustice is very pleased to welcome former U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Associate Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice Lisa Garcia as its new Vice President of Litigation for Health. This is a newly created role to lead the nation’s preeminent environmental law organization in its vast and growing body of litigation on clean air, clean water, toxic chemicals, pesticides, and issues of environmental justice.
Today’s guest blog about the #6 South Fork Edisto River- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Doug Busbee, a local long-term resident.
Tell Governor Haley and the South Carolina General Assembly to protect the Edisto River from excessive water withdrawals | © Hugo Krispyn
When I was a small boy, sometimes in the summer I’d stay with my cousins at my Uncle Wayne’s house, and the thrill of the week was when we got to go fishing on the Edisto River on Friday and Saturday afternoons. I remember that the water was so dark and mysterious, with big cypress trees and their cypress knees sticking up out of the ground. That was intriguing to a small boy. It was an adventure!
But, as much as I loved it, I took it for granted. They say, “You don’t miss the water ‘til the well goes dry.” I never really realized what we had here until it was threatened, until there was a risk of it not being here anymore.
Now my eyes have been opened and I recognize what an incredible resource we have right in our backyards. It’s a part of us. It’s part of my family. My Granddaddy would float logs from here on the South Fork all the way to Edisto Beach, and then on into Charleston. It’s part of my people. We had to survive out of these swamps and streams. The river is a part of us, and it sustains us through hard times.
My dream when I was growing up was to have a share in the Guinyard Hunt Club on the South Fork of the Edisto River. When that opportunity came my way – several years ago, now – I took it. I love just going down there and spending time. I don’t even really hunt anymore, but I’ll go down there and take kids fishing, or we’ll cook a catfish stew. The greatest thing in the world is bringing kids out to the river and watching them catch that first fish. It’s still an adventure, and it keeps me in touch with the boy that I was on those afternoons fishing with Uncle Wayne. I don’t take it for granted anymore, though.
By the time I first heard about Walther Farms in the autumn of 2013, they had already received approval from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for a registered agricultural water withdrawal of over eight hundred million gallons a month from the South Fork of the Edisto, just a few miles upstream of the Guinyard tract. Thousands of acres had been cleared, and construction of a water intake was underway on the river’s bank. However, when I started asking around, nobody really seemed to know very much about it. It was frustrating because it seemed like most folks were oblivious to what was happening – including local elected officials – and there was no public notice about any of it.
The first really positive thing that happened was when someone suggested that I get in touch with Friends of the Edisto. Friends of the Edisto completed the Freedom of Information Act request for DHEC’s records, and began leading the way on addressing the situation through administrative and legal channels. At the same time, local grassroots support began to grow on Facebook, and The State newspaper in Columbia printed a cover story about the Edisto and Walther Farms in December 2013. Things developed quickly from that point.
As I write these words, a lot of the initial uproar has died down, and the issue has become more nuanced and complex. The focus has now mostly shifted from the Walther Farms operation to a larger issue with the South Carolina Surface Water Withdrawal Act – brought to light by the situation on the Edisto. Many environmental and conservation groups have joined the effort, and it’s been a source of comfort to know that we do not stand alone.
It seems like a simple thing. How could anyone be opposed to protecting the health and vitality of the Edisto River?
The law that we’re now working to change – the South Carolina Surface Water Withdrawal Act – was drafted with the goal of protecting our river resources. It is very clear that the current law falls short of that goal, but it was a genuine attempt to do something positive. Now, we would like the law to achieve the purpose for which it was written, and that means it needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. There are powerful forces in state politics, led by the influential (and deep pocketed) South Carolina Farm Bureau Association, which are actively opposing changing the law.
Until this past November when I joined Friends of the Edisto, I’d never been a part of a conservation group in my life. I never really saw the need. I didn’t want to bother anybody, and I didn’t want to be bothered by anybody. However, in the past few months I’ve learned that taking care of this river means that I have to change.
I see now that protecting our rivers – not just our river here, but EVERY river – could be the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life. I feel like I’m where I ought to be, and where God wants me to be – trying to be a good steward of the land and the water, trying to make a difference.
When I heard that the Edisto had been selected as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2014 by American Rivers, my first reaction was excitement. We’ve been doing everything we can to spread the word about this issue, and any additional exposure we can get helps that effort. For an organization with the stature and credibility of American Rivers to join us in our struggle to protect the Edisto is an amazing boost to our cause. Upon reflection, though, there is little to celebrate in having our “endangered” status confirmed.
We’ve got a long way to go. I think we have to ask ourselves what’s really valuable to us. The bottom line is that if we don’t decide that our water resources are valuable, and work to preserve and protect them, we’re going to lose what we have here. The river as I knew it growing up, or as we know it now – that river might not be there for our kids, or for their kids – so that’s what I’m fighting for.
Please join us in fighting to protect the Edisto River from excessive water withdrawals! If you are a resident of South Carolina, please send a letter to your state legislator explaining the importance of improving the South Carolina Surface Water Withdrawal Act.
Perhaps not, if you don’t know that the federal income taxes you paid today help fund the nation’s system of highways, roads, and local streets, including projects for biking and walking.
That’s right. We all pay for roads whether or not we ever drive. The mix varies depending on where you live.
If you unpack the various fees and taxes arising directly from driving (gas tax, tolls, that kind of thing) it turns out those driving-related taxes and fees cover just 46.8% of the cost of Washington state’s roads, according to a 2013 analysis by the Tax Foundation. Less than half.
The answer to someone who says, “People on bikes need to pay for streets” is “We all pay for streets.” We all benefit, after all.
Did I really think about taxes while I rode my bike today? Absolutely.
First, because I had my taxes all ready to file and thus could enjoy my beautifully sunny 10.6-mile ride to work with a clear conscience.
Second, because the deadline for my ballot on King County Metro’s Prop. 1 is just one week away and I need to vote YES to keep getting the bus service I rely on as part of my transportation system.
Third, because every pothole and crack in the street is a reminder that we get the system we pay for and I ride over plenty of cracks, holes, bumps, and ruts. Years ago when the voters of Washington did away with the motor vehicle excise tax they cut an enormous pothole in funding for local street maintenance and the transit that makes it possible for people to get out of their cars and free up some space.
If you drive, you pay for that vote today in wear and tear on your car, cracked CV joints, and new shocks. Those of us on our bikes are our own shock absorbers so we pay a personal price in addition to the cost of blown tubes and tires.
As US Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”
I like civilization: schools, roads, transit, libraries, parks and green spaces and wild places, clean water to drink and someone to take away my wastewater and garbage and deal with it, health care, help for those who aren’t as lucky as I am, police and firefighters and military protection — the list of things I can’t provide all by myself and take for granted much of the time is pretty long.
We should appreciate these things as much on April 15 as we do on July 4. TANSTAAFL.*
So yes, I did think about taxes during today’s bicycling.
*For those of you who didn’t read a lot of Robert Heinlein in your youth: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Day 15 in the 30 Days of Biking, 30 Words, 30 Pictures series
The U.S. District Court of Hawaii today granted a motion to intervene jointly presented by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice on behalf of several community non-profit groups. The order allows the groups to participate in a lawsuit filed by Syngenta and other pesticide companies challenging Kauaʻi’s County Ordinance 960.
Nearly 2800 Special Olympics athletes will compete over three days at the 2014 Summer Games at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, May 30-June 1. Volunteers are needed to help with the Special Olympics cycling event. People are needed to assist at start/finish lines and along the course. Contact Angel Quant at Quant_fam@msn.com or 206-355-7273 for details.
Special Olympics Washington provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
The post Volunteers Needed for Special Olympics Cycling Event appeared first on Washington Bikes.
Today’s guest blog about the #5 San Francisquito Creek- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Kimberley Milligan, a graduate of Stanford University (B.A. 1991) and an American Rivers Board Member.
Tell Stanford University to remove this obsolete dam and restore San Francisquito Creek | © Matt Stoecker
As a Stanford grad, newspaper headlines about my alma mater frequently make me proud. The university and its graduates are constantly featured for winning academic awards, achieving the impossible through technological innovation, and demonstrating leadership that the entire world will follow. In contrast, recent stories about Stanford’s Searsville Dam and its detrimental impacts to San Francisquito Creek give me concern.
While Stanford has made strides in its environmental management policies, Searsville Dam remains a blemish on Stanford’s sustainability record. This 65-foot dam, which is owned and operated by the university, is located on Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve that provides “a refuge to native plants and animals,” according to the university. Ironically, the dam blocks the migration of threatened native steelhead trout that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. As a result, the university has been sued by multiple organizations seeking to protect these native fish and alleging that Stanford is in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
To its credit, Stanford has taken initial steps to address the problem. The university is currently conducting a study to assess its management options, including the possibility of dam removal. It plans to make a decision about whether or not to remove Searsville Dam by the end of 2014.
Dam removal is a proven method for restoring degraded watersheds. By removing the barrier, dam removal restores the ecological and physical connectivity of the creek and reestablishes the cold water habitat that was drowned by the reservoir. Numerous case studies have shown that after dam removal is complete, invasive species decrease and native migratory fish return to the upper watershed, reclaiming their lost habitat. But fish and wildlife aren’t the only beneficiaries – dam removal also makes people safer by removing aging infrastructure that poses serious risks to communities downstream.
Stanford asserts that it is dedicated to following core sustainability principles in all aspects of its operations including the commitment to, “preserve and manage environmental resources to allow the functioning of natural ecosystems and the long-term persistence of native species.” Searsville Dam is clearly in direct conflict with Stanford’s own principles, and it undermines the university’s otherwise strong reputation on sustainability issues.
I am hopeful that, before the end of 2014, I will open the newspaper one morning and read about Stanford’s plan to not only remove its dam and restore San Francisquito Creek, but also to study and showcase the restoration so that dam owners throughout the world can join in following Stanford’s lead.
Today’s guest blog about the #4 Gila River- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Jason Amaro. Jason Amaro lives in Silver City, NM – a gateway community to the Gila National Forest. A Board Member of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Jason can also be found on his blog, www.TheNewMexicoSportsman.com.
Tell the Chairman of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission that water diversion projects are too costly for the environment and for taxpayers | © Gordon Headley
I have known the Gila River my whole life. More than just a river, it is the lifeblood of the Gila Wilderness. Living so close to all this public treasure has to offer, I have had a lifetime of amazing experiences hunting and fishing – and I have already started sharing new ones with my young son.
I am not alone. Sportsmen and women come from all over to have their own adventure in the Gila. The elk and deer are world-class. The Gila River is widely known as the only warm water trout fishery in America. Only here can you catch a wild trout and a flathead catfish in the same stretch of water.
For the many people and businesses in southwest New Mexico that support hunters and anglers, the Gila River is also the basis of their livelihood. This might all change if we don’t take action now.
The Gila River is the last free flowing river in New Mexico without a major dam or diversion. Whether this will continue to be the case is currently up for debate. The outcome of that debate could dramatically alter the future of the river, the land and the communities who depend on them.
The people holding the fate of the river in their hands have two main options:
One: Costly diversion construction that would change the river, scar this landscape with pipes, harm the wildlife and still not reliably produce much water. The efficacy of this option has been seriously questioned by engineering experts and would cost more than the federal funding available.
Two: Invest only currently available federal funds in a series of conservation projects including agricultural improvements, watershed restoration, and effluent reuse, which would make available triple the water more quickly and more dependably.
I live here. I know how much water matters now and for the future of our communities. I know how much it matters for our children and their children. The choice is an easy one. We need to invest in conservation alternatives and smarter water management tools that save water and save the Gila.
The Gila River is the last river in New Mexico without a major dam. Let’s keep it that way.
Tell the Chairman of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission that water diversion projects are too costly for the environment and for taxpayers. New Mexico must embrace water conservation to meet future water needs and keep the Gila River flowing strong.
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (MATS). Earthjustice represented the NAACP, the Sierra Club, Clean Air Council, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in the case.
Bicycle travel and tourism is big business. In Oregon, it is estimated to provide almost $400 million in economic impact. Washington Bikes plans to grow opportunities for riders to experience the great trails and bikeways across Washington while highlighting the benefits of bicycle travel and tourism to local economies statewide. As a part of this effort, we are launching a pilot project to highlight bicycle travel and tourism in Snohomish County.
Do you know of a special location, ride or event in Snohomish County that we should highlight for bicyclists? Please share this information with us. Contact Blake Trask at email@example.com to help us spread the word that bikes mean business in Snohomish County!
The post Pilot Project to Highlight Bike Travel, Tourism in Snohomish County appeared first on Washington Bikes.