SNOQUALMIE PASS WILDLIFE CROSSINGS – Those multi-million-dollar wildlife crossings under and over Interstate 90 (east of Snoqualmie Pass), are getting some good use by area wildlife and reducing traffic collisions. The Washington State Department of Transportation posted a tweet on their Snoqualmie Pass Twitter page showing video of deer, elk and other animals using the crossings day and night.
WSDOT also states in this tweet, “The I-90 wildlife crossings are bursting with activity. Last month, we recorded over 900 animals (up by 136 from May 2020) using the structures with many deer fawns and elk calves.” That’s good news for both wildlife and motorists.
WENATCHEE SALMON DERBY: The North Central Washington Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will be holding their annual Peter Flohr Memorial Salmon Derby on the Columbia River on July 16th and 17th this year. Participants will be after the largest Chinook salmon as well as the largest boat weight (the total weight of salmon caught by entrants fishing out of each boat). Anglers are allowed to fish anywhere from Rock Island to Wells Dam. There will be an awards ceremony, open to the derby entrants and non-participants alike, at the Wenatchee Eagles Hall on Sunday the 17th at 5 PM. That’s when the derby winners will be announced and a number of raffle prizes given away. You can buy your derby tickets at Hooked on Toys in Wenatchee. Tickets for raffle prizes can be purchased at the Eagles Hall on the 17th. The cost for a derby ticket is $45 if you are a current CCA member or $75 if you are not (which includes a one-year CCA membership). More details are available at www.wenatcheesalmonderby.com
SOCKEYE SALMON RUN CONCERNS – Sockeye salmon numbers over Bonneville Dam are significantly down compared to recent years. Most of these salmon are headed towards the Upper Columbia River and its tributaries. On June 23rd, only 37,400 sockeye had gone through the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam. This is about half the ten-year average for this time of year. If the current trend continues, we are shaping up for a run well under 100,000 sockeye, something only seen twice in the last ten years.
A reduced Upper Columbia run could mean there will not be a Lake Wenatchee sockeye salmon fishery this year, though it’s too early to know that for sure yet. On the other hand, Baker Lake does have a sufficient number of sockeye returning this year. This lake near Mount Baker will open for sockeye fishing on July 10th with a limit of one salmon a day measuring at least 18-inches.
ENJOY FIREWORKS BUT PREVENT WILDFIRES – Most of Washington is suffering through a drought and severe heat. Add summer camping and Independence Day fireworks to the mix and it will be amazing if we don’t have several fires break out in the week ahead.
If you are camping this week pay attention to campfire restrictions. If you are allowed to have a camp fire be sure to put it out before you leave. Do so by pouring water on it until it’s cold, stirring the remnants, and then put more water on that fire to ensure it’s really out. Unattended and abandoned campfires are a significant source of wildfires every year.
If you choose to purchase fireworks do remember you can’t use them on public lands such as state or national parks, state fish and wildlife areas, federal national wildlife refuges and on lands managed by the US Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. A better bet? Look for a sanctioned fireworks show near you and enjoy the booms, sparkles and colors in the night sky with friends or family. Fireworks shows are not as numerous as they were prior to the Covid pandemic but there are several fireworks displays in our region on Independence Day to include:
1. Wenatchee Valley 4th of July Celebration – July 4th – All day – Walla Walla Point Park
2. Brewster 4th of July Festival – July 4th – Noon to 10 PM – City Park
3. Grand Coulee Festival of America – July 3rd and 4th– Noon to 10 PM – Laser Light Show both nights and a Fireworks Show at 10:30 PM on the 4th at Grand Coulee Dam
4. MarDon Resort – Potholes Reservoir – July 4th just after sunset
5. Freedom Fest – Newport/Bear Paw Camp – July 2 – 4 – A weekend of Christian music artists and worship – Fireworks at 10:30 PM on July 4th – Paid admission –Details available at www.freedomfest.net
1. Elk are using the wildlife crossing near Snoqualmie Pass– J. Kruse (Note – this elk was photographed at Yellowstone National Park)
Written by John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com