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outdoors

Some of Oregon’s most colorful hills could see increased protections under legislation introduced Thursday.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is proposing to create 58,000 new acres of Wilderness covering the Painted Hills and Sutton Mountain. The area is located northeast of Prineville in Eastern Oregon.

The bill also proposes a 2000-acre land transfer from the Bureau of Land Management to Wheeler County for economic development projects, like a new RV park.

Skiing Leg Of Iconic Bend Race Cancelled

May 6, 2015

Organizers for Bend's Pole, Pedal, Paddle race have cancelled the cross country skiing leg of the annual athletic event due to lack of snow.

The Pole, Pedal, Paddle is a multisport competition that combines skiing, cycling, running and boating into one big race. With very little snow left on the course, the event organizers have cancelled the nordic leg of the competition. Instead, athletes will complete a short trail run.

From Wenatchee, Washington, to Bend, Oregon, whitewater rafting guides are preparing for a flood of business as school lets out. But this year’s low snowpack could mean less whitewater and more demand for trips.

What's the worst thing about sailing through the fierce winds and mountainous seas of the Southern Ocean?

"Just being freezing cold," says Sara Hastreiter, a 30-year-old native of Wyoming who is crewing on the first all-women Volvo Ocean Race team since 2001. The eight-month around-the-world event, sailed in stages, set off from Spain in October.

"Getting out of your bunk when you're just violently shivering. That's really tough," she says of the remote stretch of water that circles Antarctica.

Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, who lives in the Seattle area, has summited Everest 15 times. He holds the official record for speed in climbing the world's tallest peak -- 10 hours, 56 minutes and 46 seconds.
Flickr Photo/Christopher Michel (CC BY 2.0)

Months after Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa’s oldest brother died climbing in the Himalayas, Lhakpa Gelu determined that he would summit a Himalayan peak.

His mother protested.

“We just lost your brother a couple months ago, you shouldn’t go,’” she told him. “Don’t go there.”

In this photo provided by Azim Afif a man approaches the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday, April 25, 2015.
Azim Afif via AP

Bill Radke talks with Kurt Hunter of Seattle's Madison Mountaineering. Their team of 15 climbers were near Mount Everest's Camp 2 when the earthquake struck, sending an avalanche that killed a base camp medic.

William Shatner.
Flickr Photo/Brian Wilkins (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Why is William Shatner coming for our water? Does Seattle need rent control? Can a new policing plan tackle drug dealing downtown? Is tipping on the way out?

David Hyde sits in for Bill Radke to review the week’s news along with Crosscut’s Knute Berger, 'The C is For Crank' blogger Erica C. Barnett and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Hut-to-hut or village-to-village trekking is a popular vacation pursuit in regions as diverse as Europe, New Zealand, the Himalayas and Vietnam.

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

Marcie Sillman talks to Tracy Swartout,  deputy superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, about the growing popularity of the Wonderland Trail. 

If you weren't able to take advantage of the new powder this week, the clock is ticking.

The National Weather Service in Portland tweeted that Thursday is expected to be the warmest day so far of the season. Temperatures are forecast to range from about 60 on the coast to nearly 80 in parts of central Oregon.

Much of the Northwest has very low snowpack right now. But Mt. Bachelor near Bend is faring better than most western ski resorts.

After a bit of snow over the weekend, Mt. Bachelor now has the third deepest snowpack of any U.S. resort. That's according to On The Snow, a website that tracks resort conditions across the country.

There Is Still Some Winter In The Methow Valley

Mar 6, 2015

Marcie Sillman talks to James DeSalvo, the executive director of the Methow Trails, about the winter weather in the Methow Valley.

It’s truffle season in Oregon’s forests. On a recent weekend, forager Eric Lyon leads a big black Labrador into a stand of Douglas fir trees near the town of Banks.

"Where's the truffle?" he says to the lab named Leroy.

Leroy keeps his nose close to the ground. He's on the scent of a truffle.

"There’s maybe six, 10 inches of the soil that has truffle aroma," explains Lyon, "but they can isolate the exact spot and I just use my little spoon and pop it out."

Leroy stops and digs gently with one paw. "Great aroma! Oh, that's a good one Leroy," Lyon says.

Two experienced hikers arrived safe and sound at the Mexican border Sunday, four-and-a-half months after beginning their trek in the North Cascades.

You might call it the forester's version of Google Earth: new satellite mapping that's giving scientists a clearer view of insect outbreaks in Northwest forests.

A study published this week describes how scientists with Oregon State University have combined new satellite imagery with older data from airplane and ground surveys to show in unprecedented detail where insects are damaging trees in the region.

Thousands of people are expected to start long distance treks on the Pacific Crest Trail this year.

Grizzly bear
Flickr Photo/Proggie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Chris Morgan, founder of Western Wildlife Outreach, about a proposed plan to reintroduce grizzly bears into the North Cascades.

Bluebird skies, warming temperatures, and snow-free terrain might have you itching to hike your favorite trail.

But be prepared to encounter a "closed trail" sign. Several Northwest hiking routes are off-limits to humans this time of year. That's because the region’s migrant mule deer still need a few months to themselves.

“Giving them a little bit of space and a little consideration can be helpful to ensure that we have healthy deer populations,” said David Volsen, a district wildlife biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Hike, outdoor, A trail marker designating the Pacific Crest Trail.
Flickr Photo/Dan Hurt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Jack Haskel, Pacific Crest Trail Association's Trail Information Specialist, about the impact that the book and recent movie, "Wild," is having on the PCT.

An Oregon Senate bill introduced Tuesday would tighten rules for aerial pesticide spraying on forest land and overhaul how the state responds to complaints of drift and exposure.

The bill has been in the works since 2013, when 16 Curry County residents filed complaints with the state that they became ill after an herbicide application. Dubbed The Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act, the bill would:

The "rock pile" is a popular spot for recreational diving and fishing.
Courtesy of Howard Cunningham

The Navy plans to build a new pier and support buildings on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, to the chagrin of some locals. One of the proposed sites is right on top of a popular recreational diving and fishing spot.

The $16 million plan includes three proposed sites along the 3-mile sand spit that separates Port Angeles from the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

It's been a tough winter so far for many Cascade Mountains ski resorts. Five in Oregon and Washington have suspended operations until they get more snow.

Workers at the Summit at Snoqualmie are even gathering snow from parking lots and building edges and moving it uphill to keep a few runs open.

Nationally, the Pacific Northwest stands out for its low reliance on snowmaking, but that may change.

A ‘lifesaver’ for the resort

Ski season is now in full swing, but the lodge at one of the region’s most famous destinations is closed for the season.

  The National Park Service wants to increase entrance fees to pay for park improvements.

It was open season on the pineapple in ski country last week. Crystal Mountain posted a video bemoaning a recent run of warm, wet weather known as the pineapple express.
Screenshot from Vimeo

This year’s ski season is getting off to a slow start thanks to an old skiers’ nemesis: the pineapple express.

Unusually warm and wet weather has been washing away the snow on the region’s ski hills. Fresh snow finally started falling over the weekend.

But not before some innocent pineapples had to die.

Courtesy of Litsa Dremousis

TJ Langley wished that he had been born a century prior, even if REI didn't exist back then.

Langley loved the outdoors and riding his bike around Seattle, but at his core, Langley was a climber. Five years ago, he died on a trip in the North Cascades.

A conservation group has made the largest private land acquisition in Washington history, purchasing nearly 48,000 acres near the Cascade Mountains' Snoqualmie Pass east of Seattle.

The Nature Conservancy announced Monday it has bought the land from timber company Plum Creek. The land acquisition cost about $49 million.

More swimmers in the Northwest are trading the comfort of the pool for a workout in open water.

Ross Reynolds talks to Langdon Cook, author of the book "The Mushroom Hunters: On The Trail Of An Underground America," about fall foraging.

PORTLAND -- Inside the operating room at the Portland Audubon Society Wildlife Care Center, head veterinarian Deb Sheaffer is carefully inserting a syringe into the shoulder of an injured red-tail hawk.

The hawk was brought in with a broken wing after it was hit by a car. And as with most raptors brought into the center, Sheaffer and her colleagues want to test it for lead poisoning.

“It’s a very simple blood draw.” Sheaffer said. “It takes one drop of blood, and we run it through a machine, and it takes about three minutes and we get a result back.”

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