Outdoors

Outdoor briefs for Aug. 23

Marine life

Explore Owen Beach during a low tide

Naturalists from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will lead a low-tide beach walk Friday at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.

People wanting to take part in Explore the Shore should meet at Owen Beach at 9:30 a.m. The walk will take about 11/2 hours, but participants are welcome to explore after the event.

During the walk, participants will learn to identify tide pool animals and record their presence and location. That information will be entered into the scientific NatureMapping database (naturemappingfoundation.org). Participants will also learn about the biological diversity of local beaches and how to protect these marine creatures.

Be sure to dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, bring sunscreen and water.

For more information, go to pdza.org/explore-shore.

Conservation

Steelhead gene bank comment period extended

The state has extended the public comment period as it works on selecting Puget Sound rivers where hatchery steelhead will not be released by the department. The comment period will now end Aug. 31. The original deadline was Aug. 13.

Creating wild steelhead management zones or “gene banks” is a management strategy identified in the statewide steelhead management plan to conserve and rebuild Washington’s wild steelhead.

Studies indicate that hatchery steelhead can compete with wild steelhead and that interbreeding can reduce survival rates for wild fish, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The department will designate at least one wild steelhead management zone in three Puget Sound regions: Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca; Central and South Puget Sound; and North Puget Sound (North Cascades rivers).

The candidate rivers in the central and South Sound are the White, Puyallup/Carbon and Nisqually.

The department is accepting comments online at wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/steelhead/gene_bank.

Camping

Cypress Islands camps will be open year-round

Starting in September, state Department of Natural Resources campgrounds on Cypress Island will be available for use year-round. The campgrounds have typically closed for the winter after Labor Day.

The department maintains two campgrounds — Cypress Head and Pelican Beach — on the island, the largest undeveloped island in the San Juan Islands. The island is just north of Anacortes.

Located in the Cypress Island Natural Resources Conservation Area, the campgrounds are only accessible by boat, and offering views of the San Juan Islands. The campgrounds also give visitors access to more than 15 miles of trails. Hiking destinations includes Eagle Cliff, Cypress Lake and surrounding beaches, such as Strawberry Bay, Secret Harbor and Smugglers Cove.

Visitors are able to access the site’s mooring buoys and campsites at no additional fee. Because the sites are not accessible by vehicle, a Discover Pass is not required.

You can learn more about the island at dnr.wa.gov/go.

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

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