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Jared Kennedy | 08.18.2014

Quick newsworthy notes and links from the great outdoors over the past week. 

Free Admission to National Parks Today (8/25) to Celebrate Service's Birthday

If you have a chance to head to a National Park today, all entry fees are waived in celebration of the Park Service's 98th Birthday. It is one of nine days each year to go for free. The next one on the calendar is for National Public Lands Day on September 27.

Oregon Denies Permit for Boardman Coal Shipping Dock

Oregon regulators announced on Monday of last week that the proposed coal shipping facility in Boardman, Oregon would not receive the approval it needs to move forward. The agency announced in its statement that the project "is not consistent with the protection, conservation and best use of the state's water resources," as well as mentioning the impacts the facility would have on tribal fisheries. Ambre Energy, the backer of the proposed shipping facility, is looking into its options on how to move forward.

With Fire Activity Past, Areas in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Have Reopened

With much of the Carlton Complex fire extinguished, the Forest Service has reopened sections of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest for camping and other forms of recreation. See the page linked in the title for more information on areas that have been reopened and what places remain closed.

Cost of Fighting Wildfires Doubles Since 1998, Diverting Funds from Conservation Efforts

The Obama administration released a report last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture detailing the costs of fighting wildfires. The report shows costs have doubled since 1998. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the report that, based on where funding for fighting wildfires comes from, the escalation in costs has significantly reduced federal funding for conservation efforts.

California's Water Drought is Also Causing a Honey Drought

With more than 80 percent of California experiencing "extreme" or "exceptional" drought conditions, honey production in the state is in deep decline. California produced over 27 million pounds of honey in 2010, and this year is expected to produce less than 10 million pounds. The result is that the average price of honey has nearly doubled since then according to the National Honey Board. Certain honey varieties, like sage and star thistle, aren't available this year because conditions are too dry for the flowers to produce nectar.

Parks Service Considering Reintroducing Grizzlies to Washington's North Cascades

The National Park Service has begun a three year process to evaluate reintroducing grizzly bears into the North Cascades. A few grizzlies continue to inhabit the area, with 20 confirmed sightings since 2010. Given the large and at times aggressive behavior of grizzly bears, the Parks Service expects to the study to generate a fair amount of controversy.


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