Program manager to discuss Nisqually steelhead recovery

Christopher Ellings will give a presentation on the management of the Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Program at Wednesday’s meeting of the Olympia chapter of Trout Unlimited. Ellings is the manager of the 10-person salmon recovery program team.

Despite habitat gains on the river made through chinook recovery effort, severe reductions in steelhead harvest and no current hatchery supplementation, the Nisqually steelhead remains troubled. The average run size has dropped more than 85 percent since 1992 with run sizes averaging slightly more than 700 fish the last 10 years.

In order to reverse this trend, the Nisqually Salmon Recovery Plan developed the Nisqually Winter Steelhead Recovery Plan. The plan’s recovery strategy includes a habitat action plan which identifies habitat restoration and protection strategies as well as an inclusive stock management plan, according to Ellings.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. and will be at the North Olympia Fire Station, 5046 Boston Harbor Road NE, Olympia.

Refreshments and a fishing equipment raffle will follow his presentation.

Olympic National Forest

Final road system open house Wednedsay

The final open house in the first phase of developing of a sustainable road system in Olympic National Forest will take place Wednesday in Olympia.

National Forest staffers have already hosted seven open houses gauging which areas and roads the public uses in the forest. This information will help the managers identify a financially sustainable road system that meets diverse access needs, minimizes environmental harm, and is safe and dependable because it is scaled to available resources, according to a forest news release.

The last open house will run from 4-7 p.m. at the Olympic National Forest Supervisor’s office, 1835 Black Lake Road SW.

In addition to attending the open house, the public can comments using a web-based map or online questionnaire at fs.usda.gov/goto/olympic/sustainableroads. Questionnaires are also available at any Olympic National Forest office. Comments will be taken until Aug. 31.

Gifford Pinchot

Historic Willard Cabin moved to new location

The last of the buildings at the former Willard Ranger Station in Gifford Pinchot National Forest has been moved. The oldest at the station site, the historic Willard Cabin was built in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The cabin originally served as a tool house and bunkhouse for U.S. Forest Service personnel at Willard.

On Friday, the cabin was loaded on a trailer and moved to Peterson Prairie, 7miles west of Trout Lake. There it will undergo restoration and rehabilitation for future public use.

The Willard Cabin will replace the former Peterson Prairie Guard Station, an older historic cabin that had served the public for many years as a popular recreation rental cabin, according to a forest news release. The Peterson cabin was destroyed by fire in 2012.

Arsenault LLC of Bend, Oregon, moved the Willard cabin, driving it over 16 miles of Forest Service roads to its new location at Peterson Prairie.

After it is placed on a new foundation, the cabin will be remodeled for recreation lodging use including full wheelchair access, and the exterior will be restored to an original historic 1940 appearance. The work is expected to extend into 2015.

A recreation lodging feasibility study recently completed by the Forest Service showed strong demand for more historic cabin rentals of this kind. The Government Mineral Springs Guard Station, north of Carson, is the only recreation rental within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Compiled by Jeffrey P. Mayor, jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com