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KEEN is open and you are invited: Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe (GISS) happens on May 9. Booths at Helen McCabe State Park and field trips at Umtanum (register now, some trips fill fast); order native plants now and pick up on May 9; the 2020 Yakima Canyon Bird Fest is May 8-10; and the Pond to Pines Summer Camps (K through grade 6) registration is open. Find registration and info for all of these opportunities at www.ycic.org.

Events postponed or cancelled

Twenty-third Annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival is cancelled for 2020. Find more info at www.othellosandhillcranefestival.org.

Razor Clam Festival (14th annual) in Ocean Shores is now scheduled for May 30 and 31. Find out more on the Ocean Shores web page at www.osrazorclamfestival.org.

37th annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is still on, running from April 1 through 30. Birds and raptors to be seen, too, especially at the Fir Island Snow Goose Reserve and the Johnson DeBay Swan Reserve. See www.tulipfestival.org.

Mule Deer Foundation Banquet for Ellensburg has been postponed. Stand by. Info from Dan at 509-995-0819.

Still happening (as of this week)

Olympic Peninsula BirdFest is April 16-21 out in Sequim. This is peak time for waterfowl migration. Everything for the birder from guided trips and boat tours to kayaking, salmon banquet and presentations. You will find more info at www.olympicbirdfest.org.

Clean up of Durr Road and L.T. Murray, April 18 (as always, in honor of Earth Day). Field and Stream Club, Wenas Muzzleloaders, Fish and Wildlife, free donuts and lunch are all involved. Bring gloves, leaf rakes, large magnets and anything else that seems like a good idea for picking up. Start at 9 a.m. and finish by early afternoon. Check out www.kittitasfieldandstream.org.

Other Earth Month events will include (as of now) the annual CWU-sponsored Yakima River Cleanup, the Olmstead and Downtown Cleanups — volunteer efforts which generally include lunch and a T-shirt. Stay current at 509-963-1850 or www.cwu.edu/leadership-engage.

Pheasants Forever Banquet still scheduled for May 2 at the Spring Creek Homestead in Union Gap. Proceeds support the chapter’s efforts on behalf of the “No Child Left Indoors” initiative. For more info or tickets, go to www.yakimapf311.org.

Friends of the NRA annual Kittitas County fundraiser is still on for May 9 at the fairgrounds. See the Facebook page “Kittitas County Friends of NRA,” or call Brian Huss at 509-607-1677.

Plan now

Let’s Go Outdoors! On Saturday, May 23, the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club will kick off its second century with a free day-long expo at the Fairgrounds. Bring the family and help outdoor users begin laying out an outdoor future for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Fishing and seafood

New fishing licenses are due in 14 days. See license vendors or fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

2019 Catch Record Cards must be returned to DFW by April 30, even if you were skunked all year.

Hunting and hunter training

Turkeys open in just under a month. Bird numbers high in northeast counties. Southeast and Klickitat County strong, too, with very good numbers now in Yakima, Kittitas, Chelan, and Okanogan counties, and southwest Washington. Check regs at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/turkey/index/html.

Dave Anderson (509-260-0652) will start his next hunter education class on April 21, at the Easton Community Church. Register online on the Washington DFW webpage (go to the hunter education link and click on “register.”)

Women only one-day handgun classes will continue into May. Check schedules with NRA-certified pistol instructor Marilyn Mason at 509-962-3002 or online at www.kvrpc.org.

Fishing and seafood

Trout are in local waters this month, 8-12-inch and bigger rainbows will be in Easton Ponds, McCabe Pond and other waters, with some much larger trout. Stocking info is at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html.

Basin Lakes: Region 2 Fish Pros report that Lenice, Nunnally, Dry Falls, and Dust are producing nice trout to 20” and that Upper Caliche and Martha started very well. Hamptons, Warden, Park and Blue Lakes ought to open with fair to good fishing.

Westport area seasons for salmon, halibut, bottom fish and tuna are available at Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce, 360-268-9422, www.westportgrayland-chamber.org, with additional info at www.oceansportfishingcharters.com.

Wildlife watch and photo ops

Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area has restricted access and allows walk-ins only (no motorized vehicle access) until May 1.

Blue herons are on their rookery on the south side of the Yakima River, just west of milepost 104 on I-90. Use binocs or spotting scope from some safe spot away from the interstate.

Our ospreys are in, too. Visible birds are on platform nests from the Canyon mouth to Easton.

Build a couple more birdhouses. Then go watch the birds on the river and all the life in our cattail wetlands and swamps. Take lunch, binoculars, kids and anyone else who needs fresh air.

— JH

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