By Sharon Wootton Herald Columnist
Birds of prey, Smokey Bear, campfire stories, panning for gold, history and hikes are the stars on several summer weekends at Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Programs are at Gold Basin Campground, 2½ miles east of the Verlot Public Service Center on the Mountain Loop Highway.
Here are the options:
• Tall Tales and Campfire Stories, 7 p.m. June 30.
• Lunch with Smokey Bear, noon July 7.
• Sarvey Wildlife Birds of Prey, 7 p.m. July 7.
• History and High Technology, 8 p.m. July 14.
• How to Pan Gold, 7 p.m. July 21.
• Along the Trail: Hikes Around Darrington Ranger District, 8 p.m. July 21, 8 p.m.
• Gold Panning 101, 7 p.m. July 28.
• History and High Technology, 8 p.m. Aug. 4.
• Gold panning 101, 7 p.m. Aug. 11.
• About the Mountain Loop Highway Trails, 8 p.m. Aug. 18.
For more information, call 360-691-7791.
Larrabee State Park off Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham also offers an interpretive program.
The one-hour programs start at 1 p.m. June 30, July 14 and Sept. 1, and are led by Marilyn Boysen, who teaches visitors about regional geology, park history, area cultural history, forest plant life and animals in the intertidal zones.
Don’t forget about the required Discover Pass. For information, go to www.discoverpass.wa.gov. The state now allows one pass to be good for two vehicles.
Call for volunteers: Friday is the last day that you can apply for the Mountain Stewards program for Mount Baker trails. Stewards are trained in low-impact recreational skills, natural history and back country management.
They work on the lower segments of the trails interacting with day hikers, backpackers and climbers. The minimum age is 18.
Volunteers attend training July 14 and 21 and commit to work three weekend days between July 15 and Sept. 9. A third optional training is available Aug. 4 for those who will volunteer at Heather Meadows.
Call 360-854-2615 for more information.
Hike-a-Thon: Washington Trails Association’s annual Hike-a-Thon registration begins July 1 for its Aug. 1 to 30 event that raises money for the association. WTA’s website, www.wta.org, is the place to go for hiking information, including recreational pass information.
Register and ride: Early registration for the Ride around Puget Sound, RAPSody, starts July 15. The weekend bicycle ride is Aug. 25 and 26. RAPSody starts and ends in Tacoma with an overnight in Shelton.
The fully supported 170-mile event is by bicyclists for bicycling. Five bike clubs organize the event and donate all proceeds to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington’s advocacy and education programs.
For more information, go to www.rapsodybikeride.com.
Bucks for a book: The Merlin Falcon Foundation is raising money to finish and publish a book that is the first national publication of its kind: “Merlins of North America.” The MFF focuses on research, education and stewardship. For more information, go to www.merlinfalconfoundation.org.
Stop for falcons: Popular Deception Crag Wall in Olallie State Park will reopen July 9. The crag has been closed to climbers until the young falcons can leave the nest. Biologist discovered the eggs in April on the wall at I-90, Exit 38. About 200 people attempt to climb the wall every weekend.
Stop for fish: The Forest Service has closed Baker Lake Road (Road 11) at mile 25.1 to vehicles, foot and horse traffic until July 15 to upgrade a fish passage culvert at Channel Creek.
Construction blocks the north Baker Lake Trailhead, the Baker River Trail and access to the North Cascades National Park. Hikers and horseback riders can enter the Baker Lake Trail at the south trailhead, adding 10 miles to reach the Baker River Trail and the entrance to the park.
Campers can still access Shannon Creek Campground and the junction to Forest Service Road 1152
For more information, call the Mount Baker Ranger District at 360-856-5700.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.