Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Skiing, RVing combine at Oregon's Hoodoo

If you're a snow skiing fan and an RVer, you can combine your passions at Oregon's Hoodoo Ski Area on Santiam Pass. Catering to both downhill and cross-country skiiers, the Forest Service offers year-around RV sites--just be sure you've got plenty of propane!

Considered by some to have one of the best day lodges in the ski industry, Hoodoo's snowy attributes include a 1,035-foot vertical drop, five chairlifts, two tow ropes, a carousel, and an autobahn tubing hill. For the Nordic fans, you'll find a 7.5 kilometer groomed track, and an 8.3 kilometer Skyliner trail, groomed on weekends and holidays. The trail fee is $14.

What about RV camping at Hoodoo? It's not too difficult to find a spot Sunday through Thursday, but reservations for the weekends are definitely recommended. If you simply want to take your RV up for the day, and not overnight it, there's free parking available. Overnighters will pay a fee, but it includes electric hookups. A standard width site (11') with electric runs $30 a night, while a wider (15') site will cost you $35 to $40 depending on the choice of site. Don't need electric? You can camp overnight for just $15. Die-hard enthusiasts can even pay for monthly, even seasonal camping privileges.

For more information, check out the ski area's web site.

photo: Cåsbr on

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two campgrounds to open In Washington's Tahuya State Forest

Good news for RVers who like to camp in Tahuya State Forest: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will reopen two campgrounds — Camp Spilman and Kammenga — on December 1. The campgrounds were closed in 2009 due to budget cuts, along with about 40 other trailheads and campgrounds across the state.

Now, with the help of grant funding from the Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) program and revenue from the Discover Pass, DNR is able to reopen these popular campgrounds, just west of Belfair in Mason County.

No more reservations: Tahuya Horse Camp
In addition to reopening these two campgrounds, DNR will be doing away with the reservation system at the Tahuya River Horse Camp, beginning January 6.

All three camps will be on a first-come; first-served basis. The horse camp is open for weekends only; Camp Spilman and Kammenga are open seven days a week.

Keep in mind there is no garbage service at Tahuya State Forest. So pack out what you pack in. In addition, the maximum stay limit at these campgrounds is 10 days in a 30-day period.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Future of Lost Lake Resort near Tacoma uncertain. Big problems.

Buyers at Lost Lake Resort on the outskirts of Yelm, thought they were purchasing a little slice of heaven. The resort was pitched as a place where they could spend the summer months of their retirement years living in peaceful seclusion on 130 acres of pristine wilderness.

They could grab a fishing rod and walk to “an 11-acre private lake generously stocked with rainbow trout.” Or enjoy amenities such as tennis courts, an indoor-outdoor swimming pool and spa, or a clubhouse with a pool table, pingpong and shuffleboard.

But several RV lot owners at Lost Lake Resort say dreams of easy living have collapsed because of the resort’s developer, Jeffrey Graham, 48, of Tacoma, and the complications of his financial meltdown.

Some buyers say they still don’t have deeds for properties they paid up to $60,000 for. Others have had to sue to try to get their deeds for properties whose values have grossly depreciated because of the resort’s problems and the sour real estate market.

Graham says he’s done everything in his power to get deeds to buyers and to fix the facilities at the resort. Nevertheless, there is big trouble in what was once billed as a paradise.

Read the complete story in the Tacoma Tribune.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For a $5 permit you can cut your Christmas tree in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

With thoughts of Santa Claus and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer arriving earlier each year, forest officials jumped on the bandwagon also by announcing that permits are now on sale for cutting of Christmas trees in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

The permits, which cost $5, are valid in most of the forest's 4 million acres, except for those areas designated as administrative sites or tree plantations.

You can purchase a permit at the forest headquarters at 215 Melody Lane in Wenatchee or at selected area retail stores. The permits will also serve as parking permits at trail heads until the first snow fall, after which those lots become Sno-Parks, and tree hunters will need a state Sno-Park permit to leave their vehicles there.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time to start planning for Washington camp host positions

It's not too early to start planning for a camp hosting position next summer in a Washington State Park. Some positions are open year round as well.

The host program offers volunteers the opportunity to stay and have fun in beautiful and diverse park settings while gaining experience in park operations and visitor services.

Hosts represent state parks by greeting the public and helping set the tone for a pleasant stay. They assist park staff and perform a variety of tasks depending on the park and the type of host assignment. Hosts receive free camping and hookups in exchange for performing these duties. A typical host assignment is 30 days. This may be extended up to 90 days at the park manager’s discretion. Hosts must provide their own RV and camping equipment. Hosts, whether couples or individuals, should enjoy working with the public, have the desire to accept new challenges and possess the willingness to learn about Washington state parks.

Learn more at the Washington State Park website.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Early Pacific Northwest settlement evident at Ebey's Landing NHR

Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve does not look like your average National Park, since it is composed almost entirely of historic privately-owned properties.

However, it is managed cooperatively with federal, state, and private entities and tells a continuing story of early exploration and settlement in the Pacific Northwest.

The nation’s first historical reserve, Ebey’s Landing surrounding picturesque Coupeville, Washington on Whidbey Island protects a rural working landscape and community on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Much of the reserve, with its rich agricultural prairies, woodlands, shorelines and historic structures, appears to today's visitors much as it did a century ago.

One hundred year-old farms are still active, forests are harvested, and century-old buildings still serve as homes or businesses. The historic waterfront town of Coupeville, located within the Reserve boundary, still serves as the county seat.

You’ll find plenty of recreational opportunities including camping, hiking and biking. Spectacular views of beaches, water and mountains and an abundance of birds and wildlife add to the allure.

Learn more about Ebey's Landing on the National Park Service website.