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Reports from the field: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife considers a regulation that prohibits the unauthorized construction of roads and trails

Reports from the field: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife considers a regulation that prohibits the unauthorized construction of roads and trails

A proposed bill would make it illegal to build unauthorized roads and paths in certain federal lands.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting public comments on a bill that would prohibit the construction of unauthorized trails, roads and structures on agency-managed lands.

It also prohibits changing or maintaining existing routes without the approval of the WDFW.

In a press release, the agency said user-created trails and roads can damage wildlife habitat, restrict their freedom of movement and cause safety problems for the public.

Heide Andersen, recreation planner at WDFW, said in the press release that the proposal comes against a backdrop of increasing pressure on WDFW lands.

“With the increasing popularity of hiking comes a desire for new experiences and challenges, opportunities to expand into less visited areas or simply faster routes from point A to point B,” Andersen said. “However, when users create or build new routes, the negative impacts on resources and other visitors can be long-lasting and, in some cases, irreversible.”

The proposed rule is similar to those of the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.

Public comments on the rule are due August 15. Comments can be submitted online, by email to [email protected], or by phone at 855-925-2801 and reference project code 8413. Comments can also be mailed to the Wildlife Program at PO Box 43200, Olympia, Washington, 98504.

Documents detailing the proposed arrangement are available on the WDFW SEPA website.

Washington opens public comment on beaver relocation program

Washington state wildlife officials are moving forward with plans to create a program that would allow beavers involved in conflicts with humans to be relocated rather than killed.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said its proposal would create a program to allow “qualified persons” to relocate beavers. Rules would specify which beavers can be relocated and requirements for permit holders in relocation and release sites.

A copy of the proposal is available on the WDFW website. Public comments will be accepted until August 9.

Comments may be submitted online, by email to [email protected], or by phone at 855-925-2801 using project code 7085. Written comments may be sent to the Wildlife Program at PO Box 43200, Olympia, Washington, 98504.

Birds and Brews event planned for July 20

Join the Spokane Audubon Society and Wildland Cooperative in Greenbluff for an event to observe and learn more about birds.

The event is scheduled for July 20 starting at 4 p.m. at Wildland’s Farm Market and Taphouse at 8022 East Greenbluff Road, according to a press release.

There will be short birdwatching walks followed by an unhosted gathering and birdwatching trivia until 7 p.m. Wildland will donate $1 per pint sold to Audubon’s Save-A-Bird team.

Audubon’s press release said the event is suitable for families and birders of all levels, but space is limited.

Participants are asked to register on the Spokane Audubon Society website by July 18.