Work hard; enjoy nature with Washington Trails

The Washington Trails Association hosts regular work parties throughout the year; and during the summer and fall features a weekend event each month.

WTA provides tools and instruction; participation is free and open to all ages. For more information visit wta.org. For a list of events and to register, visit wta.org/volunteer/trail-work-parties or contact Ryan at ryan@wta.org or 360-722-2657. Events include:

June 7 — Vancouver Lake half-day, Clark County Parks: National Trails Day at Vancouver Lake, Wash. Join WTA for a morning of giving back with this half-day work party. WTA offers a series of morning events aimed at engaging more youth and families in near-town stewardship projects. But the “young at heart” are welcome too. The crew will be constructing a new trail that will meander between Vancouver Lake and Buckmire Slough.

WTA provides all tools and instruction plus post work party refreshments. No prior experience with trail work needed, just a willingness to lend a hand. On this project the crew is building a new trail reroute that will replace a section of trail that is often muddy. The new trail will shed water better and provide a much nicer hiking experience. Register at: http://bit.ly/S0UXzs

June 14-15 — Ape Cave Viewpoint – Mount St. Helens: Last year WTA partnered with the Mount St. Helens Institute to construct a new trail that will link the Ape Cave day use area to a scenic vista of the volcano’s southern flank. Volunteers returned this summer to continue construction building the last 300 feet of trail, and to finish the first phase of this project.

WTA scopes out the trail project and a group campsite, provides after work refreshments and cooks a main dish for Saturday’s potluck. Volunteers come for one day or two; bringing a side-dish or dessert to share. Volunteers can earn an annual NW Forest Pass for their service and camping is typically free. Register at: http://bit.ly/1r1zZ3g

June 21 — Vancouver Lake half-day, Clark County Parks: Join WTA for a morning of giving back with this half-day work party. WTA offers a series of morning events aimed at engaging more youth and families in near-town stewardship projects. But the “young at heart” are welcome too. The crew will be constructing a new trail that will meander between Vancouver Lake and Buckmire Slough.

WTA provides all tools and instruction plus post work party refreshments. No prior experience with trail work needed, just a willingness to lend a hand. On this project the crew is building a new trail reroute that will replace a section of trail that is often muddy. The new trail will shed water better and provide a much nicer hiking experience. Register at: http://bit.ly/1nc1ral

June 28-19 — Silver Star, Mount St. Helens: Join WTA for one or two days of fun-filled digging in the dirt at a unique two-day work party. The Silver Star area has captured the attention of locals for generations due to meadow-lined ridge and nearly 100 species of flowers to entice the senses. Named for its “star-like” ridges, Silver Star Mountain lies less than 25 miles from the heart of Vancouver, Wash.

WTA scopes out the trail project and a group campsite, provides after work refreshments and cooks a main dish for Saturday’s Potluck. Volunteers come for one day or two; bringing a side-dish or dessert to share. Volunteers can earn an annual NW Forest Pass for their service and camping is typically free. Register at: http://bit.ly/1t3AC8k

July 5 — Whipple Creek Park, half-day work party, Clark County Parks: Special half-day event 9 a.m.-noon: The Washington Trails Association seeks youth and families (and hikers of all ages) to participate in a work party right in Vancouver’s “backyard.” Children are welcomed (and inner children) to connect with nature while building a new section of trail for future generations to enjoy.

WTA provides all tools and instruction plus post work party refreshments. No prior experience with trail work needed, just a willingness to lend a hand. On this project the crew is building a new trail reroute that will replace a section of trail that is often muddy. The new trail will shed water better and provide a much nicer hiking experience.

Whipple Creek Park is a 300-acre green oasis in the midst of farmlands to the west of the Clark County Fairgrounds. This hike loops through colossal Douglas fir trees and waist-high sword ferns to provide a primordial experience where you are dwarfed by nature. There is a small meadow for a picnic and the remnants of a grist mill to explore. This hike is a great way to escape urban life and be immersed in a peaceful forest environment. Register at: http://bit.ly/1odKYEH

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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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