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In 2015, University of Washington biologist Elli Theobald and her fellow researchers caught a glimpse of the future.

"The climate conditions in that year happened to mimic what we expect the climate conditions to be in the 2080s under unabated climate change," Theobald says.

Different flower species responded differently to the hot, dry weather. Some flowered a little earlier. Others flowered a lot earlier. Some flowered for a shorter time. And others flowered for a longer time.

When he's not bow hunting elk, Ty Stubblefield, an organizer with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, is fighting to protect public land - and it's cost him some friendships.
Courtesy of Ty Stubblefield

Ty Stubblefield self-identifies as a “red blooded conservative,” but he’s also an avid hunter who is frustrated with the Republican party’s efforts to transfer public lands out of federal control. So, he’s fighting back.

Eunice Lake from Tolmie Peak in Rainier National Park, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Next summer fees may increase at the 17 seventeen busiest national parks, including Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier.

The Park Service is asking for public comments on a new proposal that would nearly triple some entrance fees.

Coming To Washington Ski Slopes: Fake Snow

Oct 24, 2017

This winter, skiers and snowboarders will see something new at Crystal Mountain — a robust $5 million snowmaking system designed to fight warmer winters in the Pacific Northwest.

Crystal’s state-of-the-art program features 36 new snow guns on the lower mountain that have the capacity to create up to 53 football fields covered in snow in a 24-hour period.

Is this the new normal for ski areas in the historically snow-rich Cascades?

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

You need a to pack a lot more than a granola bar when you head out on a day hike.

 

Bill Radke talked with Taylor Brugh, vice president of Seattle Mountain Rescue, and Sandeep Nain, owner of the Redmond-based guiding company Miyar Adventures, about how to stay safe in the mountains — even if you’re just planning to be out for a few hours.

 

Hikers at Rattlesnake Ledge. The number of visitors to this trail have been increasing over the last years.
Flickr Photo/Matt Kowalczyk (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6unaK9

Our region is growing, and so is the use of hiking trails. If you’ve been to Rattlesnake Ledge near North Bend, then you already know that.

Courtesy of Darrell Smart

“I love hearing a lawyer embracing risk.”

Those affirmative words came from professional climbing guide Dallas Glass, speaking with climber Darrell Smart, whose day job is as a litigator.

Don’t expect to take in the stellar views from the top of Angel’s Rest anytime soon.

That's just one of popular hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge that lies inside the perimeter of the Eagle Creek wildfire (see complete list below).

Rachel Pawlitz of the Gorge National Scenic Area says some of the best-known trails in the Gorge – including Multnomah and Wahkeena Falls, Larch Mountain and, of course, Eagle Creek – will be off limits at least until spring.

The Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge continues to burn, though not nearly as wildly as it did a week ago.

At a Monday night meeting in Troutdale, fire and law enforcement officials briefed members of the public about how firefighters are tackling the roughly 34,000-acre blaze.

"We've developed a strategy that we're just going to have to let it burn," said Rick Miller, operations section chief on the Eagle Creek Fire.

Ashley Ahearn and Sally Jewell at The Mountaineers Program Center
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Chances are you’ve heard the name Sally Jewell in engineering, business, recreational, environmental or political news. Her career has touched on all of those areas, from her early days in the oil fields of Oklahoma to a long stretch in the banking industry; from a successful run as CEO of REI to becoming only the second woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. 

Hunters, fishermen and other sportsmen had high expectations when Ryan Zinke was tapped to be President Trump's interior secretary, in part because of his promise to bring a balanced, Teddy Roosevelt-style vision to managing public lands.

But the former Republican congressman from Montana is now the target of a critical ad campaign by one of those groups, a symptom of eroding support among a deep-pocketed faction that has become increasingly influential.

Smoke billows over the Jolly Mountain Fire near Roslyn, Washington, on Friday, Sept. 1, in this aerial image.
Great Basin Incident Management Team 4

Heavy smoke is blanketing several cities as multiple fires continue to burn in Washington state.

A statewide state of emergency is in place and air quality is being impacted from Seattle to Spokane.

A Portland woman says the young hikers suspected of starting a fire now consuming the Columbia River Gorge giggled as one threw a firecracker into Eagle Creek Canyon.

One suspect has been identified as a 15-year-old male from Vancouver, Washington. Oregon State Police spokesman Bill Fugate said if charged, the suspect could face the same state charges as an adult. Fugate said OSP will release the suspect's name if and when charges are filed. It is believed he and others may have been using fireworks which started the forest fire along the Eagle Creek Trail. 

Wildfires burning in the Western U.S. are threatening some of America's most treasured national parks – and in some areas, the damage has already been done.

Last week in Montana, a 20-square-mile blaze burned the historic Sperry Chalet, a hotel and dining room built in 1914 and only reachable by trail.

Advocates are worried that Trump administration policy changes will damage the ability of national parks to deal with climate change.

Studies show climate change could have serious impacts on national parks in the Northwest.

Mountain Goats are not native to the Olympic Peninsula. The Parks Service is deciding how to manage the population.
Flickr Photo/ld_germain (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/LM9e5

Bill Radke speaks with Rob Smith, the Northwest regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, about the Olympic National Park's plan to either kill or relocate the estimated 625 non-native mountain goats in the park. The goats are seen as a hassle for hikers and a threat to native plant and animal life.

We also hear from Rachel Bjork, a board member with Northwest Animal Rights Network, about why she thinks the animals shouldn't be killed or moved. 

The National Parks Service will be taking public comment until September 26. You can fill out the survey at their site.

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

Washington state and federal officials want to make it easier for you to access the state's many parks and recreation areas.

Right now, there are about 20 different kinds of passes, leading to a lot of confusion for park goers. 

Olympic National Park is inching ahead on a plan to reduce or eliminate its population of non-native mountain goats. A draft plan released Monday for public comment includes options to relocate or kill the animals.

A woman was killed in a climbing accident in Washington’s North Cascades National Park over the weekend.




World Faces Global Sand Shortage

Jul 21, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This summer, scientists in California are releasing 20 million mosquitoes in an effort to shrink the population of mosquitoes that can carry diseases.

It sounds counterintuitive. But the plan is to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes, which will then mate with wild female mosquitoes. The eggs the females lay won't hatch, researchers say.

Hiking a trail off Snoqualmie Pass. But we're not telling you where, because the photographer wants to keep it to herself.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Fitz Cahall, host of the podcast The Dirtbag Dairies, and  Jill Simmons, executive director of the Washington Trails Association, about the impact that our region's growing population is having on hiking trails around Washington. 

When my editors asked me to report on forest bathing, I packed a swimsuit. I assumed it must involve a dip in the water.

It turns out, my interpretation was too literal.

I met certified Forest Therapy guide Melanie Choukas-Bradley and several other women who'd come along for the adventure at the footbridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island, a dense jungle of an urban forest along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryane Zinke announced Thursday that the Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington and Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho won’t lose their federal designation.

Courtesy of Paul Bongaarts

One of the truisms about living in the Great Northwest is that wherever you are, it doesn’t take long to get out into the mountains. Whether we’re from here or migrated here, we crow about the natural beauty and adventure that surround us.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

A federal judge will allow the Trump administration to complete its review of national monuments before deciding how to move forward with a lawsuit involving the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Two timber companies in southern Oregon have filed a lawsuit against the expansion, arguing the enlarged Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is a violation of presidential authority and could hamper their logging operations.

View of Mt. Rainier from the Paradise parking lot.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

"Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness," that's what the famous naturalist John Muir said. Sounds like Muir would not want his cell phone to work at Mount Rainier National Park.

But the park service wants to know what you think about a proposal to add cell service at Mount Rainier's Paradise Visitors Center. Public comment is open now.

KUOW producer Matt Martin explains to host Bill Radke about what people visiting Paradise think about the proposal. 

A biker on the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Flickr Photo/King County Parks Your Big Backyard (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/TEXi8A

If you live in Seattle and own a bike, you’re probably acquainted with the Burke-Gilman trail. But are you acquainted with Burke and Gilman?

Every morning hundreds of thousands of people traverse Austin's congested roads to get to work. Most of them have probably thought: There’s got to be a better way.

This is the story of one man who found it.

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