outdoors

The goats and their kids are a popular site in Washington state's enchantments.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Getting a permit to stay in one of Washington's most coveted backpacking areas will require more luck this year.

Capturing Valhalla: OPB's Toughest Shoot

Jan 31, 2016

In the summer of 2015, OPB’s Oregon Field Guide and a team of highly skilled canyoneers embarked on a journey to explore Valhalla — an uncharted gorge hidden in the Oregon wilderness.

The expedition was a dream come true for crewmembers who have spent their lives working in and exploring the outdoors. It would prove to be the most challenging project in Oregon Field Guide’s 27-year history.

When your gondola gets stuck in midair at a ski resort with one of the highest vertical drops on the continent, you'd be forgiven for having pangs of fear or even panic. For teenager Kody Lapointe and his dad, it was a chance to take an "insane ride" on a rope suspended from a helicopter — and to videotape the event.

On a rainy fall day, a group of bundled up hikers explored Leslie Gulch. Kirk Richardson, with Keen Footwear in Portland, pointed to a bulbous rock formation jutting from the canyon wall.

"I like this one that’s kind of a split molar root," Richardson said. "Looks like something you’d see in a dentist X-ray."

Northern spotted owl numbers are declining across the Northwest, and the primary reason is the spread of the barred owl, according to a new analysis published Wednesday.

Federal scientists have been keeping tabs on spotted owls for more than 20 years now.

“We have a lot of data that suggests that they’re in real trouble,” said study co-author Eric Forsman, a retired U.S. Forest Service biologist.

Biologist Mark Buktenica scours the shoreline of Crater Lake. He scans white sun-bleached rocks, takes a step, flips a rock.

Scan, step, flip.

Let It Snow: Idaho Ramps Up Cloud Seeding

Dec 3, 2015

The looming threat of drought next summer has water managers willing to try anything to build up winter snowpack. Idaho and other Western states are hoping to squeeze more snow out of the clouds with a method called cloud seeding.

New Wolf Pack Confirmed In North-Central Washington

Nov 24, 2015

Wildlife officials have confirmed a new wolf pack near the towns of Twisp and Omak in North-Central Washington.

They've named the pack Loup Loup, recognizing prominent landmarks within the pack's range in Methow Valley, including Loup Loup Pass.

The search for a missing bow hunter in central Washington has been temporarily called off because of worsening weather. This follows a rare call out for volunteer searchers to help in the effort.

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail in the upper Yakima River canyon.
Flickr Photo/Gene Bisbee on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)/HTTP://BIT.LY/1MQCGBG

Because of a wording error, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail remains the country’s longest rail-to-trail corridor – running 230 miles from King County to the Idaho state line.

And trail users see this as a chance to keep it that way.

The Wildfire Conundrum: Weeding The Forest

Nov 18, 2015

Editor's Note: The Wildfire Conundrum is a collaboration between the journalism nonprofit InvestigateWest and Jefferson Publ

Much of the forestland above the Illinois River in Southwest Oregon is a tangled mess of manzanita, shrubby hardwoods and ceanothus. Bushwhacking through it is a branch-to-the-face, boot-snagging, poison-oaky horror.

And this is one of the easy spots, says Portland State University Ph.D. student Charles Maxwell.

“Yeah, this one is a pretty accessible site relatively. Some are quite a bit further in,” he says.

Stephanie Beall went to school to become an expert in recreation management. It turns out there are a lot of things that you don't learn in college that you learn when you get into the field. Such as how often people ignore the rules about where to use the bathroom.

Skip Black Friday, Go Outside Says REI

Oct 27, 2015
Mount Rainier, or Tahoma, Tacobet, Ti'Swaq or Pooskaus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

David Hyde talks to Kevin Paul Scott, co-founder of the branding agency ADDO Worldwide, about REI's announcement to close its stores on Black Friday.

rain trees
Flickr Photo/Michael B. (CC BY NC ND)/http://bit.ly/1RsXA5U

David Hyde talks to Knute Berger, writer and historian for Crosscut, about how and why rain is such an important part of a Northwesterner's identity. 

Pages