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Update 2.19.14: The lottery opening was delayed by a few days. Dates below reflected the updated date window from the Forest Service.
There is no place quite like Washington's Enchantment Lakes Basin in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Backcountry camping in the Enchantments ranks high on many Northwest hikers' wishlists.
Because of the area's popularity, all overnight visitors must obtain a permit if they want to camp in the Basin between June 16 through October 14 in 2014. Most (75 percent) of those permits are issued through an annual lottery, which opens in a few days. If you know you want to backpack in the Enchantments this year, start planning now, and mark your calendars with the following dates.How to apply for an Enchantments permit
The application process this year will work almost exactly like last year. If you want to get in the running for one of the coveted permits, follow these basic steps (and then cross your fingers). First you apply between February 15 and March 2. If you win a permit in the lottery, then you need to confirm and pay for it between March 6 and March 31.Step 1. Apply for a permit at recreation.gov Feb. 19-Mar. 5
The 2014 Enchantment lottery will open on February 19, 2014 and end at 11:59 p.m. on March 5, 2014. (Applying early doesn't give you preference for a permit, so just make sure to get your application in during this window.)
It's a good idea to research where and when you'd like to go before you start the application process since making changes to an application may not be easy or even possible once you've submitted it.
You will be charged a $6.00 non-refundable application fee. At this point, you will NOT have purchased a permit, but rather will have entered the lottery.Step 2. Check the results on March 9, and confirm and pay for your permit
The lottery results will be posted on recreation.gov on (or just after) March 9, at which time applicants can log into their recreation.gov account and find out the results of their application. If you apply, set yourself a reminder to check back during this period; don't count on an email.
If you score a permit, the next step is confirming and paying for your permits between March 9 and March 31. You'll also be asked to provide additional information about party size, the length of your stay, and pay for the permit. This is when you will be charged the $5.00/person/day fee.If you don't win one of the lottery permits
We often hear from people who wonder why they need a permit to overnight on public lands. While the system may not be perfect, there are very good reasons why someplace like the Enchantments Basin now uses a permit and lottery system.
In an effort to inflate elk populations for commercial outfitters and hunters, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hopes to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork area of central Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, according to a predator management plan for the area released this week.
Earlier today, a coalition of public interest groups sent a letter to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Teresa Marks pointing out misrepresentations around the permitting of C & H Hog Farms—a 6,500-swine facility in the Buffalo National River watershed. As a result of these misrepresentations, which reports show occurred as recently as January, the coalition is urging the agency to fully reopen the permitting process for C & H.
Looking for a way to celebrate and show that Washington Bikes in Snohomish County? This Saturday, February 15 at 9 am, Snohomish County leaders will join in Snohomish to celebrate and officially sign the purchase agreement with the Port of Seattle to extend the Centennial Trail another 12 additional miles south as a multimodal connection for bikers, walkers, and rail.
The extended trail will link the city of Snohomish with Woodinville, Redmond and Renton. It will serve as a major next step in connecting the region’s trail network, ultimately including the Burke Gilman, Eastside Rail Corridor and East Lake Sammamish Trails.
The 12 mile extension creates a 42 mile trail stretching across the entirety of Snohomish County and reaching the borders of King and Skagit counties. The extension will grow the trail and the County as a destination for both locals and visitors, alike. Bicyclists are wallets on wheels – biking customers are fueled by calories and typically stop – and spend – in every town they pass through.
The signing ceremony begins at 9am at the southern terminus of the Centennial Trail (504 4th St., Snohomish).
Afterwards, the party heads north to unveil Snohomish County’s new PASTforward program at the Machias Trailhead (1624 Virginia St., Snohomish).
“The PASTforward program is a fascinating look at our county’s history,” said Parks and Recreation director Tom Teigen. “Our industrial and agricultural roots are incredibly diverse, and I think people will be amazed at some of the stories they discover. It’s worth a walk down the trail this spring just to check out these new interpretive signs.” Snohomish County is hosting a new website on the Centennial Trail that features this rich history: http://www.centennialtrail.com/
Hope to see you there!
The post Celebrate the Past and Present of Snohomish County’s Centennial Trail appeared first on Washington Bikes.
If passed, HR3189 will hurt fish and wildlife by leaving river beds dry | © dalioPhoto
The water supply system in the Colorado River Basin is near its breaking point. Despite an above normal snowpack in the Rockies, climate change and prolonged drought have sapped the once-vigorous Colorado River, threatening the water supply for 36 million people, 15% of the nation’s agriculture, and a $26 billion recreation economy. This isn’t a problem that a few good rain or snow storms will fix. Ongoing drought, combined with outdated water management, has created a crisis. Communities need to come together now to promote smarter ways of managing water.
That’s why it’s so disappointing to see Aspen join the Ski Industry’s lobbying group (the National Ski Areas Association, or NSAA) in supporting legislation that will dry up rivers, damage fish and wildlife habitat, and hurt fishing and boating, particularly when those resources are already so stressed by drought and climate change. The so-called “Water Rights Protection Act” (HR 3189) was introduced by Representatives Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Jared Polis (D-CO), ostensibly to address a disagreement between Colorado’s ski industry and the U.S. Forest Service that the Forest Service has already pledged to resolve. But the bill goes far beyond that narrow conflict, allowing private water users to dry up rivers on public lands with no regard for other uses or needs.
Thanks to Senator Mark Udall’s leadership, the Forest Service has already gotten out its scalpel to fix the Ski Industry’s issue. But the National Ski Areas Association – Aspen is a board member – has decided to use a sledgehammer instead. The so-called “Water Rights Protection Act” would allow private and public water users to continue drying up rivers on public lands with no regard for other needs. It would tie the hands of federal agencies responsible for managing water on our public lands. If passed, the bill would prevent agencies like the Forest Service from ensuring sufficient water flows in the nation’s rivers for fish, wildlife, and recreation. All over the State of Colorado, rivers without in-stream flow requirements dry up completely just about every year. This legislation could eventually make it easier for water that is so important to Colorado communities and their economies to be bought, sold, or leased through “buy and dry” schemes or diverted to thirsty Front Range communities.
That’s why more than sixty conservation and recreation organizations across the country have joined us in expressing strong opposition to this bill. We understand the Ski Industry’s concern about the disposition of their water rights. We are grateful that the U.S. Forest Service has committed to resolving this problem. What we don’t understand is why the National Ski Areas Association and Representatives Polis and Tipton continue to push a bill which will further strain Colorado’s fragile water resources. The NSAA and its member companies tout their “Sustainable Slopes” initiative and “Climate Challenge” on the front page of their website. They should extend this concern about the environment to Colorado’s rivers. We hope the ski industry can agree with us that rivers work better when they’re wet.
Exactly 30 days into session, here are five things Washington Bikes is watching as the second half of the Washington state legislature’s 2014 session begins:
#1 – Supplemental Transportation Budget: Supporting Mobility and Safety. Now with the policy bill cutoff behind us, discussions are transitioning into addressing the supplemental budgets for the 2013-15
biennium. With approximately $30.45 million, the 2013-15 transportation budget represented the best budget ever for the Safe Routes to School and Bicycle and Pedestrian state grant programs. Unfortunately, due to federal funding uncertainty (2014 represents the end of the federal transportation reauthorization, MAP-21) and state funding ties to these grant programs expiring, only $8 million in state funds is programmed for the 2015-17 biennium for both grant programs.
A supplemental budget for the 2013-15 biennium (essentially, a budget that corrects for changing forecasts, and adjustments in policy priorities halfway through the two-year budget) represents a first step in bridging the significant drop in funding for these two grant programs that provide education and training to over 10,000 kids every year, improvements in tens of schools and neighborhoods, and critical trail connections that improve accessibility and safety statewide.
#2 – SB 6227: Distracted Driving. This commonsense legislation, sponsored by Senate Transportation co-chair Tracey Eide builds on previous legislation championed by Washington Bikes and passed in 2010. By bringing Washington state up to federal standards around portable technology use while driving, the Distracted Driving bill would make Washington state eligible for federal safety funding.
#3 - HB 2123: Adding Congestion Relief to the State Mobility Goal. This legislation takes a clear state transportation mobility system goal and adds unnecessary specificity that could actually skew how state spending is directed at the 99.2% of congestion that occurs in the Puget Sound region. It passed out of committee with concerns from a number of Washington Bikes’ legislative champions. For more about the specifics of the legislation, Sightline Institute authored an informative blog post on the legislation.
#4 – State Transportation Revenue Package. The statewide revenue package conversation slowly continues. Now it appears an MCC Senate proposal will be released next week – over halfway through the session. Even with a package proposal, it has been suggested that any action could be delayed until a special session following the November 2014 elections.
Washington Bikes has been a longstanding supporter of new transportation investments that support a balanced, multimodal transportation system that also invest in fixing our existing transportation infrastructure for real.
#5 - Transportation Advocacy Day on February 27. With transportation project cost overruns looming, increasing uncertainty about how to fix our bridges and roads, and a growing need to invest in biking and walking statewide, the state legislature needs to hear from YOU.
Join us for Transportation Advocacy Day on Thursday, February 27 to tell Olympia Washington Bikes. This is your chance to let your elected representatives know that Washingtonians want priorities that:
The day-long event in Olympia connects you with others who share your transportation priorities for better biking. Be a part of the solution and serve as a citizen lobbyist for the day.
Today, eighteen Colorado conservation and citizen groups sent a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper with recommendations for the Colorado Water Plan. The local, regional, and statewide groups pointed out that the Governor's Executive Order creating the Water Plan called for "Healthy Watersheds, Rivers and Streams, and Wildlife," and asked the Governor to prioritize these values in the Plan.
Today, national and Kentucky groups argued their challenge to a proposed Kentucky mountaintop removal mine in federal appeals court.
Recent removal of the Upper Swepsonville Dam on the Haw River, NC will improve habitat for the endangered Cape Fear shiner | © USFWS
Dam removal in the Southeast is continuing to gain momentum in part due to the hard work of American Rivers and our partners dedicated to bolster public safety, to improve ecological function through habitat improvement and connectivity, and to provide better recreational access and opportunities on our streams. The Southeast has achieved a total of 85 dam removals that American Rivers is aware, so the results are tangible. (Check out our blog post coming soon on all the dam removals in 2013!)
Furthermore, infrastructure is nearing the end of its lifespan, so many of the dams in the Southeast are at risk of failing and are in need of action. Especially for antiquated dams no longer serving the intended purpose like grinding grain or powering a textile mill, the cost-effective, safe, logical step for most managers is removal.
Many of our dam removal projects are multiple removals within close vicinity. For instance, the Smitherman’s dam removal near Troy, NC was the third in a series of four dam removals. (American Rivers is in the early stages of the forth removal now!) By removing a series of dams, more habitat and connectivity for wildlife can be achieved. The Troy area dam removals improved habitat for freshwater mussels and allowed greater connectivity for resident fish and the American eel.
Not far away from the Troy removals, the Lassiter Mill Dam removal will provide benefits to the migratory American shad, which will soon be passed above large hydroelectric dams on the Pee Dee River that currently block access to historic spawning areas. Like salmon, American shad spend their adult life in the ocean until it’s time to spawn then they head back to their freshwater beginnings to spawn. The American eel is another migratory fish that spends time in both the ocean and freshwater, but unlike shad, the American eel spawns in the ocean and returns to freshwater as juveniles. Both shad and eel are called diadromous fish, spending time in both saltwater and freshwater, and are greatly benefited by the increased connectivity to upstream habitats provided by dam removal.
Another place American Rivers restored this year, the Haw River, is still segmented by a number of small unused dams that are blocking access to critical habitat. The first of a four dam removal series, the Upper Swepsonville Dam, was removed from the Haw River in the town of Swepsonville, North Carolina in 2013. The dam was 550 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 3.5 feet high and was removed to improve aquatic habitat connectivity especially for the federally-listed endangered Cape Fear shiner. An additional 5.3 miles of main stem Haw River was opened by this project. The other three barriers slated for removal from the Haw River will continue to open habitat for the endangered fish, provide more connectivity for resident fishes, and improve public safety and recreation opportunities.
American Rivers is excited that dam removal is continuing to be a river restoration solution across the Southeast. A number of states achieved big wins for wildlife in 2013, and 2014 looks to be a great year in the making. In 2013, Alabama restored fish passage and increased habitat for endangered mussels with the removal of Goodwin’s Mill Dam on Big Canoe Creek near Springville. In 2009 and 2011, South Carolina removed two dams on Twelvemile Creek in Pickens Co. and the biological monitoring before and after the removals will be published this year. Also, American Rivers is expanding its work into Tennessee in 2014 and several great projects are on the horizon. Stay tuned for more info and thanks for your support of river restoration!