Outdoors

Dispatches for Dec. 20

Millersylvania

Park’s learning center to close for work

The environmental learning center at Millersylvania State Park will be closed beginning Jan. 1 while the building is renovated.

The work will include updating and restoring sleeping cabins, and updating the restroom facilities to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The work is expected to be completed by April 30.

The center is one of 10 statewide that provide rustic facilities for groups to meet in an outdoor environment.

Millersylvania is an 842-acre park 10 miles south of Olympia. The park has 6 miles of trails, old-growth cedar and fir trees, and features camping and 3,300 feet of freshwater shoreline on Deep Lake. The center’s lodge and cabins sit on the lake shore. 16 cabins each have eight beds, while three other cabins have six beds and restrooms.

Fishing

Beginning fly-tying class offered in January

If the winter weather, or work, will keep you off your favorite fly stream or lake, consider taking up fly-tying.

The Puget Sound Fly Co. will be offering a beginner fly-tying class next month.

The classes, to be taught by Ray Miles, will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. every Sunday in January at the shop. Class includes all tying materials used during the class, but participants will need their own tools and vise.

The cost is $80 for all four sessions; space is limited.

The shop is at 6001 Tacoma Mall Blvd., Suite B2, Tacoma. For more information, call 253-472-2420 or go to pugetsoundflyco.com.

Wildlife

State feeding deer to reduce orchard damage

State wildlife officials are temporarily feeding deer to protect orchards in the Pateros area, but have no plans at this time for widespread feeding of Okanogan County mule deer.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s north-central regional director Jim Brown said most deer are doing well thanks to mild weather and below-average snow cover, despite the largest wildfire in state history in July.

The Carlton Complex fire affected tens of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, including areas where mule deer typically overwinter. But the mild, rainy fall produced good forage for deer inside and outside of the burn area, Brown said in a news release.

During the winter, deer often concentrate near Pateros’ fruit tree orchards and cause damage, Brown said. “Until more deer fence has been repaired, wildlife managers are using feed to draw deer away from the orchards.”

The feeding effort is designed to limit orchard damage without disrupting the deer’s normal diet or causing health problems.

In general, wildlife managers discourage the public from feeding deer and other wildlife over the winter, said Kristin Mansfield, state wildlife veterinarian. Deer must eat a wide variety of plants to maintain a balanced diet. Mansfield noted that some well-intentioned people have been feeding deer fruits and grains, but this can harm the animals.

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

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