Mountaineers host open house
Outdoor recreationists can learn about courses and programs offered by the Olympia Mountaineers at the group’s Winter Open House on Thursday.
Members will be on hand to talk about courses in mountain-oriented first aid, alpine scrambling and mountain climbing, as well as activities such as family hikes, sea kayaking and youth programs.
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The free event is 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Martin’s University’s Worthington Center, 5300 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey.
For information, see olympiamountaineers.org.
Look for meteor shower Tuesday
An above-average meteor shower, unhindered by a bright moon, should make for good sky-viewing Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Quadrantids meteor shower is considered an above-average shower, producing up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak.
The shower is thought to be caused by dust grains from an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, which was discovered in 2003.
The shower runs annually Jan. 1-5. It will peak this year late Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving fairly dark skies for what could be a good show, if the weather cooperates. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.
Backcountry Film Festival in town
The Tacoma Mountaineers will host the Backcountry Film Festival on Jan. 18.
The festival is produced each year by Winter Wildlands Alliance, celebrating the human-powered experience and backcountry snowsports. The alliance is a nonprofit organization working at the national level to inspire and educate the backcountry community to protect and care for winter landscapes, according to a news release.
The doors open at 6:30 p.m., and films begin at 7 p.m. The films will be shown at the Mountaineer's Tacoma Program Center, 2302 N. 30th St., Tacoma.
While the event is free, there is a suggested donation of $5. There will be a raffle during the evening. All donations and raffle proceeds benefit the Mountaineers’ youth programs.
Because there will be no refreshments or snacks sold at the event, people can bring their own.
If you’re planning to attend, RSVP at tinyurl.com/zohf3j7.
Free days set for wildlife refuges
Looking ahead to the new year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced there will be six days in 2017 during which admission to national wildlife refuges will be free.
There are 31 refuges from Delaware to Hawaii that normally charge entrance fees, including Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge between Tacoma and Olympia. The Nisqually refuge charges $3 admission per vehicle to help fund their recreation-related projects.
The free admission days in 2017 will be:
Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Feb. 20: Presidents Day.
Sept. 30: National Public Lands Day.
Oct. 8: The first Sunday during National Wildlife Refuge Week.
Nov. 11-12: Veterans Day weekend.
The National Wildlife Refuge System includes 565 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Almosty 500 national wildlife refuges and wetland districts are open to the public, attracting an estimated 50 million visits every year.
Compiled by Jeffrey P. Mayor,