Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Washington Outdoors Report

Outdoor News Roundup

I had the opportunity to sight in my Henry Long Ranger lever action rifle last week at the Swakane State Wildlife Area north of Wenatchee. A part of this Wildlife Area has long been used by shooters but recently, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife completely renovated this into what is now a very nice range.
At the range are parking stalls and a shooting area for pistol shooters on the left and rifle or shotgun shooters on the right. Backstop berms have been constructed at 100 and 150 yards respectively and there are moveable shooting benches available at the firing line too. 
If you are bringing a rifle, you’ll want to bring a chair and shooting bags to put on the benches so you can get the most stable platform for each shot. You’ll also want to bring your own targets and stakes that can be driven into the hard ground downrange or into the soft-soiled berms.
As far as targets go you can bring paper targets and clay pigeons all year while steel targets can be used between October 1 to May 31.  The use of tracer bullets, exploding targets, glass, household appliances and electronics as targets are not allowed.
I had a great time shooting here on a quiet evening for the first time in a while and found the new rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, shot straight and true though the person shooting it certainly needed some practice when it came to marksmanship fundamentals like breathing and trigger control.
The shooting range at the Swakane State Wildlife Area may be the newest one but it’s not the only one.  You can also find improved shooting areas in Eastern Washington at the Methow, Asotin and W.T. Wooten State Wildlife Areas. 
One last note when it comes to keeping these ranges open for public use and maintaining a good reputation as a recreational shooter. Please clean up after yourself. Whatever targets or target support stands you bring to the range should be packed out when you are done along with your expended brass cartridges and shotgun shells. Leaving a littered landscape is not a good look or a responsible thing to do.
Cashmere Salmon Release Parade
Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 25 and take in the Cashmere Salmon Release Parade along with its associated events between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Cashmere Riverside Park. The event is presented by the Cashmere Library, where coho salmon fry have been raised and released for three years now. This program is a unique partnership between North Central Washington Libraries, the Cascadia Conservation District and Cascade Fisheries.
Things kick off with crafts and hands-on activities to teach kids and adults about the salmon life cycle.  Salmon story time for the kids happens at 12:15 and at 1 p.m. there will be a short parade where children will take the salmon to the boat launch, name each one, and release them into the river to swim to the sea.  If you are interested in finding out more about this event contact Lisa Lawless at the Cashmere Library (Tel. 509-782-3314).
Beacon Rock State Park Expands
Washington State Parks announced Beacon Rock State Park is expanding thanks to some help from the non-profit group, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the generosity of a couple who owned land adjacent to the park.
The 4.5-acre tract of land sits on the north side of State Route 14 along the Columbia. The owners, Sharon and John Jamieson, put the property up to sale in 2019 and wanted to sell it to Washington State Parks but the agency didn’t have the funding for the purchase at that time. That’s when the Friends of the Columbia Gorge stepped in to purchase the land and hold it until Washington State Parks was able to acquire grant funding to purchase it and add it to their portfolio. That sale closed on June 13.
Washington State Parks plans to construct a new parking lot, roundabout and ADA-accessible underground pedestrian crossing here. In a press release the agency states this will all help ease congestion, create safer traffic flow and allow foot and wheelchair access between the north and south sides of the park. The estimated project cost will be $25 million.  
Renée Tkach, a project manager with Friends of the Columbia Gorge and a local resident said, “This project will not only provide a safer, more welcoming entrance to the park, but will be vital in helping increase accessibility at one of the most iconic recreation spots in the Gorge.”  
Beacon Rock State Park offers camping, rock climbing, and hikes to waterfalls as well as a trail leading to the summit of 848-foot-tall Beacon Rock where amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge await. Some 250,000 to 300,000 visitors come to the park every year.
washington outdoors report, John Kruse


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