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Explore NW
May 27  |  By Jessi Loerch
Colonial Creek, Newhalem, and Goodell campgrounds, all off of Highway 20, have increased their fees to $16 per night. 



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May 24  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Mountaineers program introduces kids to the joys of climbing Through a Mountaineers program that recently expanded to the Everett branch, outdoor experts team up with groups that serve youths. Their goal: to help kids gain life skills through learning outdoor skills.

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May 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is reminding campers to be careful to help prevent wildland fires over Memorial Day weekend, and all summer long.



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May 19  |  By Jessi Loerch
Mount Rainier will increase entrance and camping fees on Friday Mount Rainier National Park will be increasing its user fees beginning on Friday.

The park, as well as many others around the country, proposed fee increases last year.

After feedback on the proposed increases, the park decided to adjust some increases and phase them in over time.

Here are some of the fee changes:



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May 18  |  By Jessi Loerch
A wilderness survival training course will be offered on Guemes Island at 10 am. on May 30. The class is held outdoors and anyone under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Come prepared as if you were going on a daylong hike.



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May 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
The 2015 Kids Bike Swap is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 7. Before the event, Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop could use help getting bikes ready for kids. There are three ways to help.

Donate a bike: Bring in a new or lightly used kids bike that can easily be repaired or cleaned. Donations are tax deductible.

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May 14  |  
Road to Artist Point near Mount Baker opens early The road to Artist Point opened about 2 p.m. Thursday, the earliest opening on record by more than a month. The previous earliest opening was June 29.



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May 13  |  Herald staff
This has been a good season for razor clam digging, but it's coming to an end a little earlier than planned.

Due to high levels of domoic adic, The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has canceled two more digs that were scheduled for later this month. Domoic acid can be harmful or fatal if enough of it is consumed.



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May 10  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Beautiful new book 'Drawn' is about climbing — and much more Describing "Drawn: The Art of Ascent" is a challenge.

In short, it's a book about climbing.

But describing it that way is a disservice to the all-around most beautiful book I've ever read and one of the most vivid movies I've ever seen. "Drawn" is about friendship and family, about goals and adventure and risks.



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May 8  |  
Free: State parks do not require a Discover Pass on May 10. They will also be free on June 6 and June 13. Bird: Pilchuck Audubon Society’s Birdathon is May 15 to 18. Participants solicit pledges for how many bird species they are able to spot. There are team and individual categories, and category for photographers. Get more info at www.pilchuckaudubon.org.

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May 8  |  Jessi Loerch
The campground and group camp at South Whidbey Island State Park will be closed for the 2015 season. A number of diseased old-growth trees in the area are at risk of falling over. For safety reasons, state parks officials decided to close the park.



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May 5  |  By Jessi Loerch
Photos from a special whale-watching trip Debora Kulas of Coupeville got quite a show when she went out for a whale-watching trip with All Season Charters based out of the Edmonds Marina. Kulas, who lives in Coupeville, was kind enough to share her story and photos from the April trip with us.



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May 2  |  
Trees: Learn how to identify the native trees and Washington and hear about their benefits to people and wildlife. Washington State University's Kevin Zobrist will speak at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Northwest Stream Center at McCollum Park, 600 128th Street SE, Everett. There will be a book signing after the presentation. Reservations are required, call 425-316-8592; $5 Adopt A Stream Foundation Members, $7 non-members.

Get outside: Girls from...

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May 3  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
7 nearby hikes where you can see a profusion of wildflowers With the first sight of wildflowers, I always feel the hiking season has truly begun.

Bleeding heart, trillium and other flowers are already blooming on many low elevation trails.

If you are feeling the pull of the outdoors, here are some suggestions for flower-rich hikes. Some you can hike right now, while others are better later in the season.

For questions about conditions, call the Darrington Ranger District at 360-436-1155 on weekdays or the...

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May 1  |  
This year's low snowpack has made early access to some areas of Mount Rainier National Park possible.

The White River Road to the White River Campground opened to the public Friday. This access is popular with climbers doing early season climbs on the east side. In 2014 this road opened on May 23.

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May 1  |  By Jessi Loerch
After several delays, the Forest Service plans to close access to the Monte Cristo town site beginning on Monday. The closure is to allow for cleanup of contamination in the area.

So, if you'd like to give visit, you have one last chance.



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May 1  |  By Jessi Loerch
Visit Leavenworth right now for excellent wildflowers Whatchya doing this weekend? Might I suggest you take a little trip over to Leavenworth?

I made a quick trip over there this week and it was delightful.

Because of the low snow levels this year, many trails are hikeable right now at much higher elevations than normal.



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April 29  |  By Jessi Loerch
Girls from 6-18 can spend a day learning outdoors skills on May 30. Girls will get to learn about navigation, first aid, the 10 essentials, leave no trace skills and rock climbing.

The event is donation based. Participants are asked to donate what they can afford.



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April 26  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
If disaster strikes at ice caves, rescuers want to be ready The Big Four Ice Caves are beautiful yet dangerous. The area is prone to avalanches and the caves are unstable, capable of dropping lethal chunks of ice at any time. And they're remote, with no cell coverage and limited radio coverage

Yet the caves are also impressive, easy to access and extremely popular.

For all of these reasons, the site is ideal for training exercises for the Snohomish County Sheriff's department, Forest Service, fire departments, Snohomish...

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April 21  |  By Jessi Loerch
Learn about EvCC’s Ocean Research Academy during an informational session at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at its recently expanded waterfront location, 1205 Craftsman Way, Suite 203, in Everett.

This is the last information session date before the May 1 application deadline.



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April 20  |  Herald staff
Andy Porter will teach classes on nature photography in Marysville Andy Porter will be offering two upcoming photography courses through Marysville Parks and Recreation. The first is nature photography. This four-hour course includes manual settings, aperture, creating depth and focus, composition and basic tricks of the trade. The class is offered on May 9 or June 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Jennings Park Rotary Ranch, 6915 Armar Road. Cost is $60.



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April 17  |  By Jessi Loerch
See art and adventure meet at book release, film showing Artist, author and rock climber Jeremy Collins will present his new book and movie at 8 p.m. Monday at the Neptune Theatre, 1303 NE 45th St., Seattle.



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April 16  |  By Jessi Loerch
The two parking lots at the Big Four Ice Caves will be closed to the public from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 18, for emergency training. The trail will also be closed.

The ice caves are on the Mountain Loop Highway, east of Granite Falls.



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April 16  |  By Jessi Loerch
National parks will be free on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the start of National Parks Week.



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April 13  |  By Jessi Loerch
2 Stevens Pass lifts will be open through Wednesday Stevens Pass Mountain Resort opened to skiers and snowboarders on Sunday and will stay open through Wednesday, conditions permitting. If more snow falls, it’s possible a few more days will be added.

Following a low snow year, the ski area had been closed since March 14.



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April 12  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Last fall, the Suiattle River Road opened after being closed for more than a decade. The road led to a number of popular trails, including the Suiattle River Trail.

After years of little maintenance and powerful winter storms, that trail, and many others in the area, are in need of a lot of work.

The Washington Trails Association is holding a number of work parties on the trial beginning April 28. They welcome volunteers to come out and help spruce up the...

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April 10  |  
The Wonderland Trail has become so popular that Mount Rainier National Park has cut off reservations for this year already. Here's a press release from the park with details:



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April 10  |  
Patagonia gear: Patagonia gear experts will be at Feathered Friends, 119 Yale Ave. N., Seattle from noon to 7 p.m. on April 15. They will help repair gear, regardless of brand, and offer used gear for sale. If you don't have your own gear that needs fixing, they'll supply some. Fix it and you can keep it.

Free: National Parks will waive entrance fees on April 18-19 to celebrate the beginning of National Park Week. And on April 22, state...

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April 10  |  By Jessi Loerch
See the tulips from above in mesmerizing drone video Have you been up to see the tulips yet?

With such an early spring, they bloomed early. Farmers have already started topping some tulips. (Topping means clipping off the faded blooms.) But plenty of fields still have color and the farmers' display gardens will be kept up as long as possibly.



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April 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
Craig Romano, who has written many books about hiking in Washington, will speak at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Monroe Library, 1070 Village Way.



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