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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

May 17, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Red wolf pups born at Tacoma zoo will give the public a glimpse of one of the world’s rarest mammals

For nearly four decades, Washington has been the hub of a breeding program for endangered red wolves. But the public has rarely had a chance to oooh and aaah over the offpsring — until now. One of the new pups gets a his first physical Wednesday A litter of eight pups, born this week…


Comments | Topics: red wolf; pups; Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium; Northwest Trek; Red Wolf Recovery Program; pups borngoramcqupoi

May 11, 2012 at 7:00 AM

See it for yourself: How to get out and explore the Elwha

Now is the time to get out and go see the amazing changes underway in the Elwha for yourself. The road access to the Whiskey Bend trail has been reopened, and the lower dam is entirely gone … what are you waiting for?


The emerging landscapes of the former lake bottoms of the reservoirs of the Elwha dams make for fascinating hiking. These cliffs are at former Lake Mills.

There are a whole range of ways to explore and enjoy the emerging landscape. Here are some suggestions: take binoculars, wear sturdy boots, dress in layers and prepare to be in a very open, exposed landscape with wind, sun, the works. Mostly, bring your camera. What you see in the Elwha today is history in the making, year one in a changing ecosystem that will never look precisely like this again.

Here are some ways to go see it for yourself:

For elderly, wheel chair users, or others who want a quick easy sample:

The National Park Service has provided an overlook viewpoint to observe what was the lower dam site, where the river now runs free. There’s free parking, a portable toilet and easy strolling or rolling access road to the overlook, easily managed in a wheelchair. You will want binoculars to better appreciate the view, which is distant. There is a second overlook that is not handicapped-accessible, but reached by a short and easy hike. A good place to share a picnic lunch and think about all that has come and gone at this vista.

The overlook is clearly signed, and reached immediately after turning off Lower Dam Road from State Route 112 just off State Route 101, toward Forks. You’ll see the turn off on your left.



May 9, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Beaver power at work in Washington’s lowlands

Walking through the lowlands of southwest Washington, I have spotted plenty of signs of beavers at work. But I never came upon anything quite like this tree that I hiked by in late April.

beaver tree.jpg

From a distance, it seemed this hardwood was so precariously perched that a modest shove might knock it over. Then I got close, and gave it a push. It didn’t budge. The trunk still had a strong inner core of wood that had yet to be chewed through by the beaver’s teeth.

I wondered what was the beaver was up to. Why not just saw it all the way through, and be done with the job?


Comments | Topics: beavers, wildlife

May 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM

New documentary on the Elwha Restoration on KCTS

If you missed it when it aired last month, go to the KTCS website and watch Katie Campbell’s fine documentary on the Elwha and its restoration. A new documentary on the Elwha produced by KTCS is a pleasure and suitable for all viewers, including students Comprehensive, beautifully photographed and rich in history and context, it’s…