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Explore NW
May 22  |  
Meet some turtles and maybe even take one home to stay

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May 15  |  
BeWild: Brendan Leonard is the next speaker in The Mountaineers BeWild series. Leonard is an author and creator of semi-rad.com. He speaks at 7 p.m. May 19 at The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center; $12; www.mountaineers.org.

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May 15  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Citizen naturalists invited on exploration 'blitz' What are you doing next weekend?

How about spending time outside on a quest for scientific knowledge? No science expertise is needed to participate; it's for everyone.

A bioblitz — a widespread effort to gather data on all sort of species — is planned at national park sites, including many in northwestern Washington. All you need is a smartphone and the time to go outside and explore. (You can also use the program on the web, but the app makes it...

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May 8  |  
Free: All Washington state parks are free today. No Discover Pass is needed to park; www.discoverpass.wa.gov.Bioblitz: Help discover and document biodiversity as part of a BioBlitz as part of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary celebration. Details at http://1.usa.gov/1pWRAdn. Events in Northwest Washington:

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May 8  |  By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review
Spring is prime time for hiking in Hells Canyon
Hells Canyon can be heavenly during spring, when wildflowers are blooming, poison ivy is leafing out, canyon wrens are singing and rattlesnakes are getting frisky.The Spokane Mountaineers zero in on trails along this protected stretch of the Snake River in March and April. With snow smothering the mountains above the deep canyon separating Oregon and Idaho, cacti-bordered trails beckon early-season backpackers to the river.

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May 1  |  
Leave no trace: Diane Jochimsen, a member of the Everett branch of The Mountaineers since 1990, will speak about leave no trace principles at 7 p.m. May 4 in the Drewel East Admin Building, Snohomish County Campus, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, Everett; www.everettmountaineers.org.

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May 1  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Bouldering buffs spruce up coveted Gold Bar climbing terrain Just outside Gold Bar, a climbers' playground is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Range. It's a special playground, one made of massive chunks of some of the best granite in the country.

Recently, more than 75 volunteers came together to help spruce up the area off Reiter Road in Gold Bar.

The area offers excellent bouldering — an intense style of climbing with short, challenging "problems," which is what climbers call a particular...

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April 24  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald writer
A trail expert suggests 10 nearby family-friendly hikes Name a trail in Washington state and odds are excellent Craig Romano has hiked it. In fact, he's likely hiked it multiple times and written about it in one of his books. He may even have helped map it for Green Trail Maps.

Romano also has a young son — who, I imagine, by age 5 will have hiked more miles than most people do in a lifetime.

I love Romano's books and articles on hiking, so I gave him a call to chat about good family hikes. With weather...

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April 24  |  
Birds: Imagine Children's Museum offers a Kid's Bird Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7. Sarvey Wildlife will have raptors at the event. There will also be games, art activities and information tables. The event is sponsored by Pilchuck Audubon Society. Museum admission is $10; www.imaginecm.org.

Bike donations: Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop, 2531 Broadway Ave., Everett, is asking for...

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April 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Rainier featured on stamp to celebrate National Park anniversary For a couple weeks now, the National Park Service has been sending out press releases about new stamps featuring national parks around the country.

I've admired all of the stamps, but mostly I've been impatiently waiting for one to feature a park in Washington.



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April 17  |  
Learn: Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy will host an information session from 6 to 7:15 p.m. April 21 at 1205 Craftsman Way, Suite 203, Everett.Visitors and prospective students can see student work, meet faculty members, learn about the program and see the facility.The application deadline for ORCA is May 2 for the 2016-17 school year.

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April 14  |  By Jessi Loerch
The National Park Service turns 100 this summer. As part of the celebration, the park service has a Find Your Park campaign.



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April 10  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald writer
Adventurers to tell their stories in Mountaineers' speaker series Need a little inspiration? The Mountaineers have you covered.

The third year of the BeWild speaker series begins on April 15. The series brings in adventurers to tell their stories.

Kristina Ciari, director of membership and marketing for The Mountaineers, helped create the speaker series, which she said is an opportunity to encourage the every day adventurer.

"We wanted to support and encourage the public to get outside, to connect with...

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April 6  |  By Jessi Loerch
Help save fire lookout and make it available to spend the night Friends of North Mountain, a volunteer group, is raising money to complete restoration of North Mountain Lookout near Darrington. The group plans to make the lookout available as an overnight rental.



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April 4  |  
Boat crew sees rare orca attack on gray whales in Puget Sound Crews from the Pacific Whale Watch Association witnessed a rarely-seen attack by a pod of orcas on gray whales in Puget Sound near Everett this past Saturday. 



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April 3  |  
Cleanup: April 23 is Washington Coast Cleanup Day. To find a spot to volunteer, go to www.coastsavers.org.

Lookout: Friends of North Mountain, a volunteer community group, is raising money to complete restoration of North Mountain Lookout near Darrington. The group plans to make the lookout available as an overnight rental. The lookout is one of few that peole can drive to, making it accessible...

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March 27  |  
Wonderland Trail: Mount Rainier National Park will not accept advance reservations for climbing and wilderness permits this year. All permits, including those for the Wonderland Trail, are first-come, first-serve. Usually, up to 70 percent of permits can be reserved in advance. This year, however, the park had a critical failure in its reservation system after a power failur during a storm. Car-camping reservations in the park are not affected. The park is working...

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March 27  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
North Cascades Institute: 30 years of teaching about the wild In the mid 1980s, Saul Weisberg, now the executive director of the North Cascades Institute, was a climbing ranger in North Cascades National Park and finishing up a graduate degree in biology.

It was the time of timber wars and fights over spotted owls. There was a lot of tension around public lands.



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March 20  |  
Climbing: Blake Herrington will talk about his new climbing guidebook, focusing on routes in Washington and southern British Columbia at 7 p.m. March 22 at The Mountaineers program center, 7700 Sandpoint Way NE, Seattle. Get details at www.mountaineers.org.

Bigfoot: Is it real or a myth? Decide for yourself after listening to David George Gordon, author of...

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March 20  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Improved trail makes Oyster Dome hike a pleasure For years, I’d heard about the view from Oyster Dome, a classic Washington hike off of Chuckanut Drive, northwest of Burlington. Hikers told me about its wide views that make it a lovely place to enjoy the sunset. No one, however, mentioned anything about the hike itself — unless to mention that the trail was kind of nasty.



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March 13  |  
Backyard: Learn how to create a backyard habitat for wildlife at 7 p.m. March 16, at the Camano Multipurpose Center, 141 N East Camano Dr. Monica Van der Vieren, native plant steward, will talk about creating a visually pleasing yard with native plants that will invite in birds, butterflies and other wildlife, whether you have a small yard or a large property. For information, call 360-387-2236, go to www.camanowildlifehabitat.org or email...

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March 8  |  
Sally Jewell, the U.S. secretary of the Interior, issued an order on Friday to decrease barriers for disadvantaged youth so they can experience public lands. 



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March 6  |  
Birds and students: Two groups of students involved in local environmental projects will speak at 7 p.m. March 11 at the Pilchuck Audubon Society's monthly meeting at Everett Firefighters' Hall, 2411 Hewitt Ave. Second and third graders from Arlington worked to restore a wetland near their school and learned about the birds that live there. Students Saving Salmon club from Edmonds Woodway High School is doing water-quality monitoring as part of a plan to daylight...

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February 28  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
If you hope to camp or backpack this summer, apply soon With the first hints of warm weather my mind has turned to summer camping adventures. If, like me, you're dreaming of spending the night in a tent or hanging out around a campfire, you should think ahead.

Many popular campgrounds fill up months in advance, especially for weekends. If you want to guarantee a spot, make reservations. Here is a roundup to help you plan your summer fun.

Car camping

State parks:...

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February 28  |  
Ski to Sea: Registration is now open for the popular relay race that goes from Mount Baker Ski Area to the water's edge in Fairhaven. The race is 93 miles and includes cross-country skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross biking, and sea kayaking. Get information and register at www.SkitoSea.com.

Hikes: Rangers will lead free, 3-mile hikes through old-growth...

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February 22  |  
Gray whales have been spotted again near Saratoga Passage and the waters off of south Whidbey Island. The whales return every spring to feed on ghost shrimp. 

The whales, usually about a dozen, are making a detour on their migration from their calving waters in Mexico and their summer waters of the Bering and Chukchi Seas. 



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February 21  |  
Enchantments: The lottery is now open for permits to camp in the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Leavenworth. The Enchantments are an extremely beautiful and extremely popular backpacking area. This year, the period that permits are required has been expanded. It now runs from May 15 to Oct. 31.

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February 14  |  
A dozen birding festivals in Washington provide a flock of birding experts, artists and photographers the opportunity to offer workshops, lectures and field trips. The variety will keep birdwatchers of all stripes happy.If you haven’t been to a birding festival in years, here are a few tips:

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February 14  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
‘National Parks Adventure’ shows natural wonders in 3-D IMAX
The most powerful and beautiful scene in a new movie about the national parks almost didn’t happen. Producer Shaun MacGillivray was planning to shoot winter footage in Yellowstone for “National Parks Adventure,” a 3-D IMAX movie that opened Friday. Yet when it was time for the shoot, the weather had been strange and it looked like spring in Yellowstone.

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February 14  |  
Treasure hunt: The Great Northwest Glass Quest continues through Feb. 21. The hunt takes place throughout Stanwood and Camano Island. Searchers look for plastic balls, using a treasure map. The balls can be exchanged for hand-blown glass balls by world-renowned local artists Mark and Marcus Ellinger. The plastic replicas are hidden each morning throughout the 10-day quest. For details or to download the map go to

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