Blackberry Beach is ready for east wind

New beach: Blackberry Beach in Cascade Locks is ready for east winds. Check www.nwkite.com to read more about the beach and about a Columbia Gorge Kiteboarding Association party Saturday at the location.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
New beach: Blackberry Beach in Cascade Locks is ready for east winds. Check www.nwkite.com to read more about the beach and about a Columbia Gorge Kiteboarding Association party Saturday at the location.

Gorge winds are about to flip-flop for the season, and for the kiteboarders and windsurfers who recreate on the river for more than a few months every summer, a new east wind beach and launch awaits at the Port of Cascade Locks.

To be precise, the launch, named Blackberry Beach, has long been used by windsurfers as a bushwhack access point and alternative to Stevenson, particularly in the fall when strong east winds blow through the steep walls of that part of the Gorge. But recent efforts between the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association and the Port of Cascade Locks have greatly improved the access road, parking area and pathway to the river.

In a separate but nearby project, the Columbia Gorge Kiteboarding Association worked this summer with the CGWA and the Port of Cascade Locks to turn an overgrown, blackberry bush-riddled section of jetty into what is now a wide-open, buffed-out beach with unobstructed river views and clean wind exposure. The two beaches share the same improved parking area but the kite beach is about a 200-yard walk west down a jetty.

“These projects were done largely by volunteer efforts, and we have been very supportive of both,” said Chuck Daughtry, Port of Cascade Locks executive director. “We have always had an understanding that recreation is an important part of the community; anything we can do to create more opportunities for people to recreate is worthwhile.”

The CGKA and volunteers completed work on the new beach and kite launch last month and are hosting an east wind barbecue and beach party to introduce it to the public and celebrate the end of what is being called one of the windiest summers in recent memory. The party is free and is open to windsurfers, kiteboarders and the general public. It will start Saturday afternoon, with the hopes of a group kite/windsurfing session to start things off, if the wind and weather cooperates.

“It’s a great opportunity to draw windsurfers and kiteboarders to Cascade Locks, particularly this time of year,” Daughtry said. “It’s great to see this progress, but it’s also important to remember they’re only seasonal attractions. While projects like this are important, we are continuing to focus on year-round improvements and activities that will create family-wage jobs, get people back to work and get our school back open. We need it all and the port is very appreciative of the volunteers who are putting in their time and energy to help make these projects happen.”

Join the party

Beach christening party and barbeque, open to all, Saturday afternoon until 9 p.m. at Blackberry Beach kite launch. Directions: Cascade Locks to Forest Lane to the end of Industrial Park Way (follow signs to Blackberry Beach).

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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