recreation

Jes Burns / Earthfix

You’ve probably heard by now that reservoirs in the Northwest are low on water, but you may be surprised just how dry they are.

Many lakes levels are lower this spring than they’ve been in 30 years. This is especially true at some of the most popular recreation lakes.
 

The marina at Howard Prairie Lake is high and dry. The docks tilt awkwardly this way and that, stranded on the uneven lake bottom.

Steve Lambert: “Normally, on a year when the lake is full, we’d most likely have 15 to 16 feet of water above our heads. So, yeah, it’s a little pasture right now.”

Jes Burns / Earthfix

If you’ve hiked anywhere in the Northwest, there’s a good chance you’ve seen an illegal trail. Often they’re quick shortcuts or paths to off-trail viewpoints. But in extreme cases, they’re longer, surreptitiously constructed trails that wind through public and private land.

The unauthorized trails can cause a range of problems in wild areas. As more and more people spend time in the woods, closing down these illegal trails has become increasingly difficult.

There's one case where wildlife officials and trail users are trying to solve the problem together.

The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been distributing money to the states for 50 years. Last week, Governor Kitzhaber announced Oregon's 2014 allocation.

Oregon will receive over 650 thousand dollars this year, to be used to acquire land and develop outdoor recreation areas. The amount is on par with funding over the past few years. Chris Havel is with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. He says the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been remarkably long-lived, supporting thousands of projects over the years.

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Mar 10, 2014
Courtney Flatt

Ice climbers are a lot like snowboarders and skiers – they count on winter weather to create the right conditions for their sport. But here’s a big difference: mountain resorts can manufacture snow; no one has invented a machine to freeze waterfalls. And as winter temperatures rise, outdoor recreationalists worry that climate change could threaten some ice climbing destinations.

High up in Washington’s Blue Mountains, behind trees and across the Touchet River, is what locals call the Weeping Wall.

Rural Development Initiatives

Outdoor enthusiasts in Oregon will soon have another venue for their passion. Today (Monday) kicks off a project to link Sweet Home to the Willamette National Forest through a public access trail system.

About 36 private and public entities are coming together to launch the South Santiam River Corridor Project. They will commit to creating 12 miles of trails paralleling Highway 20. Sweet Home City Manager Craig Martin says the forest project will create jobs:

DredgingToday.com

Oregon's coastal ports are used for commercial and recreational purposes and are an integral part of the state's economy. Years of federal budget cuts have left the ports in need of maintenance and dredging.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is allocating $20-million in new funding for Oregon ports. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio had lobbied for additional money for ports in his Southwest Oregon district, which he said are in dire need of dredging.