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News of the Week - November 24, 2014

11.24.14

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News of the Week - November 24, 2014

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With such a busy week of national headlines, some of these news items may have slipped through the cracks. Here's another weekly installment of the news from the outdoors.

Crater Lake National Park Will Get an Official Visitor Center

Crater Lake National Park's Rim Village has a cafe and a hotel, but it doesn't have an official visitor center. For the well-visited and historical park, the time has come. With 95 percent of visitors to Crater Lake stopping at Rim Village, the visitor center will inform travelers of all the places they can visit when exploring the park. The parks service plans to pay for the structure by raising park fees, and through corporate grants and sponsorships.

Scientists Solve Mystery of Starfish Die-off

The cause of the wasting disease that decimated starfish off the Pacific Coast has been solved by scientists. The pathogen causing the die-off was a virus that is different from all other known viruses affecting marine organisms. The virus has actually been present in starfish populations since the 1940s, but in low numbers. Scientists continue to investigate what may have led to the broader outbreak, but an overabundance of starfish may be the underlying cause.

What You Should Know About Oregon State Parks' Smoking Ban

Yes, you can still smoke on Oregon's beaches. This is just one of the final results of a long process to refine smoking rules at Oregon State Parks. The planned smoking ban on Oregon beaches prompted heavy debate, and with the public's involvement, the final rules were modified to better align with public demand. The smoking ban on Oregon's beaches and in all Oregon State Parks was proposed to curtail litter and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Untreated Urban Stormwater Runoff Kills Salmon

Researchers from NOAA and Washington State University have determined that stormwater runoff with contaminants commonly found on city streets are killing salmon before they can spawn. Metals and oils that wash off streets when it rains end up in spawning streams along the Puget Sound. By installing green treatment options, such as bioswales, to pre-treat runoff before it enters the stormwater discharge system, researchers have demonstrated that the effects on fish are mitigated.

O&C Timber Bill Clears Senate Committee

Senator Ron Wyden's bill to open increased logging on O&C Lands in Western Oregon has passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The bill would provide additional protections for old-growth forests, while also allowing for a two- to three-fold increase in logging on O&C lands. Some conservation groups approve the bill while others, such as Oregon Wild, remain opposed. The bill must still get approval by a full senate vote, and Senator Wyden is attempting to attach the legislation to another must-pass bill.

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