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The Observer 05/01/15

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Outdoors & Rec

Search and rescue volunteers hone skills

Daarla Klages of the Wallowa County swift water rescue team dives into the Wallowa River during certification training at Minam State Park.

Three-day swift water rescue training covers all aspects of water safety, recovery  

MINAM — Wallowa County’s rivers from the Imnaha to the Snake draw thousands of visitors each year. For those who choose to recreate next to or in great bodies of water, safety is a must.

Every three years, Wallowa County Search and Rescue hosts a three-day certification for swift water rescue. This spring, eight team members, along with two search and rescue volunteers from Baker County, a Nez Perce Fisheries technician and a Winding Waters Rafting Expedition guide underwent a high intensity training led by Nate Ostis of Wilderness Rescue International.

Free fishing at Morgan Lake

Expect a lot of excited chatter out on Morgan Lake this afternoon.


The La Grande Grande Ronde Child Center is putting on its third annual free fishing event Friday at Morgan Lake. Its a joint project with the Grande Ronde Fly Fishers club to teach kids at the center the basics of fly fishing.

Road construction continues in Wallowa Mountains

Forest Road 66 now free of snow and available for passenger vehicles

BAKER CITY — Construction continues on the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road connecting Wallowa and Baker counties through the Wallowa Mountains.

A 13-mile stretch of the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road, also known as Forest Road 39, is under construction into the fall. The North Pine section under construction begins at the junction of Highway 86 and heads north for 13 miles on Forest Road 39 to the junction of Forest Road 66. This section of the road is closed through June 15. 

Taking the time to plant for wildlife

Conifers are a good choice for backyard plantings as they provide year-round cover. Rocky Mountain juniper is a multitask selection. It’s incredibly hardy, offers cover for roosting and nesting birds and provides blue berries relished by birds all year long. (JIM WARD photo)

Spring in Northeast Oregon is when green thumbs begin to twitch. Gardeners cruise the aisles of local nurseries, start sprinkling seed here and there, dreaming of scrumptious salads, corn-on-the-cob and rhubarb pies to come. Many spend a good deal of time tilling, fertilizing and watering their gardens.

Spring Chinook fishing opens June 21 on Imnaha, Wallowa rivers

The Imnaha and Wallowa rivers in Northeast Oregon will open to hatchery spring Chinook fishing June 21.

Spring Chinook fishery on Powder River

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to release approximately 200 spring Chinook salmon into the Powder River to create a unique fishing opportunity.

Fisheries use dead steelhead in creeks

JOSEPH — Imitating nature is tried and true in the world of natural resource science.

The Native Americans taught early settlers to bury fish heads when planting corn, and fishermen throughout the ages cleaned their fish and returned the entrails to the stream. The nutrients left behind are just how nature would have it. 

Celebrating a historic milestone

The National Wilderness Preservation System, which was established by the Wilderness Act of 1964, turns 50 years old this year. As part of the celebration, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is introducing many opportunities for backcountry enthusiasts to honor the wilderness’ 50th anniversary. (Rochelle Danielson photo)

Wilderness Act turns 50 this year with plenty of events to mark the occasion

The Wilderness Act of 1964, which established the National Wilderness Preservation System, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. 

The United State Forest Service manages 440 wilderness areas and is hosting a variety of local events and celebrations in honor of the golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act. 

Learning the right way to go fly fishing

Les Henderson, right, watches closely as expert fly fisherman Duane Thompson demonstrates some proper form for effective casting during a Grande Ronde Fly Fishers activity at Pioneer Park. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

With summer fast approaching, the Grande Ronde Fly Fishers comprise a club of men seeking to expand local interest in fly fishing.

On May 21, former national fly fishing champion and La Grande resident Duane Thompson held a tutorial at Pioneer Park on how to correctly cast, while also correcting common fly fishing mistakes.  

Galloping into spring

Kim Hilton leads her horse, Marvin, over poles during a March 29 class on using trail obstacles to build horse and rider confidence taught by Elaine Case and Tracie Wick at Case Farms in La Grande. (KELLY BLACK photo)

Sierra arrived on Thanksgiving eve from a ranch in Keating. 

A retired reining horse, Sierra had been doing ranch work. She came to me loaded with experience, wisdom and ticks. 

BRUSH BEAT: Wildlife talks set for April

SALEM— The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will co-host the 2014 Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference on April 5, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at LaSells Stewart Conference Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

New Cycle Oregon ride may take root

The new Cycle Oregon CO3 ride set to debut in Northeast Oregon in late June could briefly take root in this region.

The CO3 ride may be conducted in Northeast Oregon each summer through 2016, according to Cycle Oregon Executive Director Alison Graves.


Red-tailed hawks usually attack prey from trees or power poles. T-perches can be a great substitute in large open areas. Redtails will take game birds, so if that is a concern, don’t mount perches in game bird habitat. Fortunately, ground squirrels prefer open, short-grass areas that game birds usually avoid. (JIM WARD photo)

Evidence of wildlife passion on display at Larson’s ranch home

Bob and Sandi Larison love wildlife. There’s evidence of that all around their small ranch just south of Ladd Marsh.

Blue bird boxes line their perimeter fences; a bat house clings to a barn wall; and barbed-wire has been replaced with collapsible gates where elk move through their pastures.  

You won't believe what your .22 can do

I was at the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Convention last year and met Brian Hamm and his wife. The first night we were setting around shooting the bull after concluding the days events and he told me that their company had invented the Optimizer Horizon (OH).

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