Gifford Pinchot National Forest

National Public Lands Day: Explore for Free!

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 30, one of several fee-free days in 2017 observed by the U.S. Forest Service to encourage everyone to experience their public lands. Fees are waived at most federal day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads, and visitor centers. In Southwest Washington, that means that every recreational site on Gifford Pinchot National Forest land is free for you to explore—as is the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. (Fees for camping and cabin rentals still apply, FYI.) To find a recreation site near you, visit this interactive recreation map.

And here’s a bonus for families of fourth graders: as part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth graders and their families can claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass, which allows free entry into and use of all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for a full year. Fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into and use of all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, from now through Aug. 31, 2018.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses over 1.3 million acres of land owned by the American public. For more information about National Public Lands Day, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

National Public Lands Day: Explore for Free!

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 30, one of several fee-free days in 2017 observed by the U.S. Forest Service to encourage everyone to experience their public lands. Fees are waived at most federal day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads, and visitor centers. In Southwest Washington, that means that every recreational site on Gifford Pinchot National Forest land is free for you to explore—as is the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. (Fees for camping and cabin rentals still apply, FYI.) To find a recreation site near you, visit this interactive recreation map.

And here’s a bonus for families of fourth graders: as part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth graders and their families can claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass, which allows free entry into and use of all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for a full year. Fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into and use of all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, from now through Aug. 31, 2018.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses over 1.3 million acres of land owned by the American public. For more information about National Public Lands Day, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

Above image: a hiker walks through Indian Heaven Wilderness. Photo courtesy of Gifford Pinchot National Forest; see more on its Facebook page.

Free Kids Fishing Events in June

June is here and it’s time to grab a fishing pole! Gifford Pinchot National Forest and local partners will host free fishing events for kids and families on Saturdays, June 10 and June 24. Fishing rods and tackle may be available for kids to borrow and volunteers will be on hand to show kids how to fish. Fish cleaning will be provided. No need to sign up in advance—just show up! Here’s what’s happening, when, and where:

Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Mount St. Helens Kids’ Fishing Derby
The Mount St. Helens Kids’ Fishing Derby will be held at the day use area in Merwin Park east of Woodland.  This fun-filled event has 1,500 large rainbow trout in a netted-off section of Lake Merwin, waiting to be caught by kids. There will be loaner rods available for kids to use, worms for bait, and volunteers to show kids how to fish. Activities include a parade, storytelling inside a 40-foot-long inflatable salmon, face painting, an aqua-aquarium, boater safety, Gyotaku-Japanese fish printing on t-shirts, and button-making. Call 360-449-7800 for more information. Everything is free, including lunch!

Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Lewis County Kids’ Fishing Derby
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a proud sponsor of the Lewis County Public Utilities District Kids’ Fishing Derby. Located at Lake Scanewa in East Lewis County, this kids fishing event has been encouraging new anglers over 20 years. Kids can fish for trout, have their faces painted, learn how to clean fish, and participate in a number of games and fish competitions.  or more information, call Lewis County PUD at 360-740-2449.

Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Kids’ Fishing Day at Goose Lake
The Mt. Adams Ranger District’s Kids’ Fishing Day will be held at Goose Lake along Forest Road 60. Bring your own rods and tackle to fish from the shore, although there will be some loaner rods, tackle, free bait, and fish cleaning provided for kids aged 14 and under. Volunteers and staff will help teach kids and their families how to fish and clean the trout to take home. Learn about fish and fishing during this great family day in the outdoors. Parking is very limited, so bring a friend and carpool. For more information about Kids’ Fishing Day at Goose Lake, contact Stephanie Caballero at 509-395-3419.

Kids age 14 and under can fish year-round without a fishing license, but teens and adults aged 15 and older must have a Washington State fishing license on their person while fishing and all state fishing regulations must be followed during these events. Washington freshwater sport fishing rules can be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington.

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 24, one of the five fee-free days in 2015 observed by the U.S. Forest Service to encourage everyone to experience their public lands. Fees are waived at most federal day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads, and visitor centers. In Southwest Washington, that means that every recreational site on Gifford Pinchot National Forest land is free for you to explore—as is the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. (Fees for camping and cabin rentals still apply, FYI.) To find a recreation site near you, visit this interactive recreation map.

And here’s a bonus for families of fourth graders: as part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth graders and their families can claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass, which allows free entry into and use of all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for a full year. Fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into and use of all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, from now through Aug. 31, 2017.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses over 1.3 million acres of land owned by the American public. For more information about National Public Lands Day, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

Above image: a hiker walks through Indian Heaven Wilderness. Photo courtesy of Gifford Pinchot National Forest; see more on its Facebook page.

National Public Lands Day: Explore for Free!

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 24, one of the five fee-free days in 2015 observed by the U.S. Forest Service to encourage everyone to experience their public lands. Fees are waived at most federal day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads, and visitor centers. In Southwest Washington, that means that every recreational site on Gifford Pinchot National Forest land is free for you to explore—as is the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. (Fees for camping and cabin rentals still apply, FYI.) To find a recreation site near you, visit this interactive recreation map.

And here’s a bonus for families of fourth graders: as part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth graders and their families can claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass, which allows free entry into and use of all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for a full year. Fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into and use of all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, from now through Aug. 31, 2017.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses over 1.3 million acres of land owned by the American public. For more information about National Public Lands Day, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

Above image: a hiker walks through Indian Heaven Wilderness. Photo courtesy of Gifford Pinchot National Forest; see more on its Facebook page.

Get Outdoors, North Bank-style

Although some of you broke out the camping gear the moment the temperature rose above 50 degrees, for most Southwest Washingtonians, Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of the outdoor recreation season. Fortunately, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest gives us so much to choose from: 40 campgrounds, 102 trailheads, nine horse camps, and 17 picnic and boating areas—just for starters. In addition to the traditional campgrounds and trailheads, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest also has Johnston Ridge Observatory on the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument for you to explore.

Some campgrounds require reservations  (go to www.reserveamerica.com) and some trails require a pass to help us keep them maintained (see Recreation Passes and Permits)—but every acres of National Forest lands belong to you and beckon you to come visit. Unlike some public lands, you can camp nearly anywhere in your national forests. There are three fee-free days and a fee-free weekend left this year, with two coming up in June. Here they are:

For more information about having fun in your local national forests, visit Discover Your Northwest. For information about the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/giffordpinchot.