Forest Service announces 2013 fee free dates

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Forest Service joins other federal agencies in offering fee-free days on public lands in 2013, beginning Jan. 21 in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

That day marks the first of six fee-free days the Forest Service is offering the public in 2013.

“Your national forests and grasslands are a bargain any day of the year, but even more so on fee-free days,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Whether you stay for a few hours or a few days, your public lands are some of the best travel bargains in the nation.”

Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. This includes opportunities such as camping and picnicking.

The Forest Service operates approximately 17,000 developed recreation sites nationwide. Of those, approximately 6,000 require recreation fees, which are used to provide visitor services, repairs and replacements, and facilities maintenance.

“Fee-free days are an ideal time to recapture your youth by taking your family to the outdoors,” said Robin Morgan, deputy director of the agency’s Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources. “More importantly, it’s an ideal time to introduce the young people in your life to an exceptional experience they’ll remember forever.”

The participation in fee-free days supports the efforts of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that aims to establish a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda.

In discussions across the nation, Americans made it clear that they want reconnect or connect for the first time with the great outdoors – and they want the government’s help.

Forest Service lands, which include 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, offer something for everyone, from the casual hiker to the thrill-seeking extreme sports participant. There also are opportunities and programs for children, from Discover the Forest to becoming a Junior Snow Ranger and more.

The 2013 fee-free days the Forest Service will participate in are: Jan. 21, June 8, Sept. 28 and Nov. 9-11.

Latest stories

Latest video:

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



Log in to comment

Columbia Gorge news and businesses