Monday, December 24, 2007

Hunters cited for CWD infringements in Oregon

According to the Eastern Oregonian: Recently, Oregon State Police cited six Oregon hunters who brought harvested deer and elk into the state from Montana, a state that has experienced a documented case of CWD. Citations were also issued to hunters who harvested and brought back game from the states of Colorado and New Mexico.

Here is a definition of CWD from the ODFW site: A transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that has been documented in deer, elk or moose in the following states: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Illinois, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, West Virginia and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. It has not been detected in deer or elk in Oregon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Looters boost fossils from John Day Monument

Seattle-PI says looters are stealing fossils from the John Day Fossil Beds. From the article:

In the fossil beds, there are places where scientists have taken pictures of fossils on the ground and come back later to find them gone, said Ted Fremd, chief paleontologist at the monument. And there are other places where people have dug pits or tried to remove bones but did a messy job of it, he said.

John Day Fossil Beds Clarno Unit

We saw traces of similar activity at the Clarno unit on our Central Oregon Roadtrip earlier this fall.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Call for hunters to drop the NRA

If you're a hunter and you support the NRA, it might pay to read this great article from the Washington Post. From the article:

If the threat to honest citizens' right to own firearms ever dipped below the radar, so too would the association's political might. That's why the NRA leadership will never tolerate the give-and-take that makes up real problem-solving. It would be bad for business.

Former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman takes on his old organization for corruption and overplaying the specter of gun-control to rile up its base and bilk $35 from hardworking hunters trying to protect their sport. But it's pretty clear after the Jim Zumbo fiasco that the black-rifle base that the NRA caters to doesn't have anything to do with hunting and actually looks at us as "Fudds". So maybe its time to cancel those memberships.

Bush turns to science on spotted owl?

The Bush Administration has agreed to have a respected scientific panel review the Spotted Owl plan according to The Oregonian.

Pressure mounted, as scientists and Senator Wyden called bullshit on the adminstration's draft plan for the spotted owl which would have dramatically boost logging in old-growth forests and undercut endangered species protection.

Much of the scrutiny focuses on Julie MacDonald, a former deputy assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks that tampered with scientific findings in the Northwest.

For a solid look at the Bush Adminstration's War on Science, check out this article from Wired.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Whale Watch Week starts Dec 26th

Oregon Parks & Recreation are launching "Winter Whale Watch Week" on Dec 26th. According to the Web site: "Gray whales migrate past the Oregon coast during two special times of the year. The southbound migration peaks just around the winter holiday season and the northbound migration has one of its two peaks near the end of March."

An AP report says whale sightings have been running at record levels in 2007.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oregon tells PacifiCorp to stuff its coal fired power plants

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, PacifiCorp has abandoned plans to build three new coal-fired power plants. The utility operates in six states, with most of its power feeding Utah and Oregon.

Energy activists in Oregon have put the plan to build new facilities under a microscope. And Oregon State Representatives like Ben Canon are trying to shut down the practice of buying dirty energy from the Rocky Mountain states.

PacifiCorp whined that it's going to cost more to use natural gas (a cleaner option). But I think Oregonians are willing to pay a little more to preserve what's left of their wild ecosystems and to try to stimey global warming.

Correction: PacifiCorp operates a hydropower dam on the Klamath and this post blamed PacifiCorp's dams for the Klamath's massive 2002 adult salmon kill -- which isn't the case. Nonetheless, they're not exactly blameless. Here is a note from Klamath Wildlife Advocate Jim McCarthy:

Oregon Wild would be the last to praise PacifiCorp for their activities in the Klamath, and their dams have certainly contributed to the steep decline in salmon runs in that river and create huge water quality problems. However, there is no evidence that their dams contributed to the 2002 kill. You'll find the definitive CDFG report on the kill here.

The blame with that kill lies primarily with low flows in the Klamath River as a result of a bad federal water management plan put in place due to political meddling by Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House appointees. Cheney and his cronies suppressed the findings of their own biologists who said that the plan would harm salmon. You'll find that story here.

It is true that many consider PacifiCorp's dams responsible in large part for the juvenile salmon kills due to unnaturally large salmon parasite hot spots that break out on the Klamath in spring. Unnaturally low flows due to irrigation diversions also play a big role in these springtime parasite explosions. These juvenile kills don't get the press coverage like the adult kills do, but many observers believe these kills led to the closure of much or all of the commercial chinook salmon seasons in Oregon in 2005 and 2006.

Shrimpin' ain't easy, but it is sustainable in Oregon

According to the Statesman Journal:

Oregon's pink shrimp fishery has achieved a new distinction that might appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. The industry has received the world's first sustainable shrimp certification under the Marine Stewardship Council certification program.

Apologies to Ice-T for the headline. And oddly enough, I'm not the first one to say "Shrimpin ain't easy"...

Redden slams salmon plan

U.S. District Judge James A. Redden slammed the latest Columbia River salmon recovery plan. According to this article in The Oregonian, this plan is actually worse for salmon than the last one. I can't imagine what the people putting this plan together are thinking -- are they trying to let the salmon go extinct so they don't have to worry about it anymore?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wolves traveling together in Eastern Oregon

According to the Baker City Herald, wolves in Eastern Oregon are traveling together. There is no confirmation that these wolves are a breeding pair, but ODFW has reviewed 101 reports from people who said they saw a wolf or wolves, or tracks, or heard wolves howl -- more than double the 46 reports catalogued in 2006. Most of the sightings are near the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

Wolves are native to Oregon, and according to ODFW: The last wolf bounty was paid in 1946 and wolves were considered extirpated in Oregon. Between 1974-1980, there were four recorded sightings of wolves in Oregon nevertheless.

Save Our Wild Salmon Photos

Wild & Smart, originally uploaded by Save Our Wild Salmon.

The peeps at Save Our Wild Salmon now have a Flickr page.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Unexpected ally: Shamu pitches in to save our wild salmon

Here at Oregon Outdoor Journal we've been pushing for the removal of the four lower Snake River Dams for a while, mainly because we're salmon crazy. But there is a constituency out there that is even more salmon-crazy than we are -- and potentially more popular than us: Orcas! A post in the Seattle P-I blog addresses the problems Puget Sound orcas are facing:

The connection has been made and the science is clear: If we hope to recover the iconic orcas of Puget Sound, we need to find them more salmon to eat, and fast.

RIP: Klootchy Creek Giant -- Oregon Sitka blows down

My pal BP has a great post about the giant Oregon Sitka Spruce that blew down in the storms last weekend:

This is one of the oldest living things in Oregon, and one of the biggest trees in the state as well. The tree was coming to the end of its natural life cycle, and showed signs of wear long before this storm finally snapped its trunk.

Here are a couple of other great blog posts about The Klootchy Creek Giant:

Travels With A Muse got to spend some time with the tree last month and took some photos before it fell. And The Grumpy Forester has an amazing retrospective on the Klootchy Creek Giant.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wyden, Devaney investigate political influence on engangered species science

According to The Oregonian, the Interior Department's inspector general will expand an investigation into the alleged political manipulation of decisions on 18 endangered species, including the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.

From the article:

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. requested the investigation and Inspector General Earl Devaney will look into whether "improper political influence" by department officials led to reduced protections for those key Northwest species and others

Devaney is primed to dig deeper into the activities of Julie MacDonald, a former deputy assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks who was found to have bullied biologists and altered scientific findings.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Steens Little Blitzen makes BLM's 10 best hikes in the west

The American Hiking Society named its top ten hikes on BLM land in the West. Thanks to Tom Mangan at Two-Heeled drive for the heads up.

In Oregon, the Little Blitzen Gorge hike in Steens Mountain made the cut.

From the site: This well-maintained trail follows Little Blitzen Creek, in the shadow of the headwall of the 10,000-foot Steens Mountain. There are numerous shady campsites, and thousands of wildflowers cling to the nearly vertical walls of the gorge. Lucky hikers might see elk, and early risers could even catch a glimpse of a mountain lion! The trail itself is well graded and not strenuous, but the remote location and possibility of extreme weather present unique challenges.

Here is a roundup of the five days I spent at Steens Mountain last August.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Central Oregonians turning Deschutes into poop-chute

I know some of us on think the sprawling development in Cetral Oregon is a pile of shit, but this is ridiculous. According to a study from the U.S. Geological Survey:

The Deschutes and Little Deschutes Rivers in southern Deschutes and northern Klamath Counties, which receive part of their flow from ground water, are vulnerable to contamination by wastewater from conventional on-site wastewater treatment (septic) systems, according to the findings of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS investigation was a part of efforts by Deschutes County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to assess environmental impacts in a 250-square-mile area near La Pine, Oregon, where increasing residential development has led to increases in nitrate concentrations in ground water that drains to rivers.

Nitrates from people's home septic systems are leaching towards Oregon's blue ribbon trout stream. Nitrates promote excessive growth of aquatic plants and algae, causing large variations in dissolved oxygen concentration and pH that can be harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Deschutes County is battling the problem by trying to establish new rules, including the requirement that new construction projects adopt the highest performing nitrogen removal systems available and all existing systems need to be upgraded in ten years. So why not a closed loop sewer system? County officials say it would take too long.

Audubon: Oregon birds spiraling toward extinction

The Oregonian wrote up a survey by the Audubon Society that says more than 50 birds that spend part of the year in Oregon are spiraling toward extinction:

While the list includes some species such as the spotted owl and marbled murrelet that have received wide notoriety because they are in trouble, it also includes lesser-known species such as Lewis' woodpecker (pictured), the willow flycatcher and varied thrush.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cabela's real estate arm betrays hunters?

Thanks to Tony Heckard at BHA for passing this on: According to a column in New West, Cabela's is getting itself in trouble in Montana for promoting the privatization of hunting land through its real estate marketing arm, Cabela's Trophy Properties LLC.

From the column: Cabela's doesn't actually buy and sell land. Instead, it licenses its brand to local real estate brokers and allows them to market prime hunting and fishing properties under the banner of Cabela's Trophy Properties. The brokers pay Cabela's for the license, probably with a license fee and a slice of the commission on property sales... Licensing your name to realtors who use it to market property definitely makes you part of the real estate biz--and not just any real estate biz, but the worst kind.

The article goes into depth explaining how Cabela's exacerbated the problem in Montana. But it's not just the Rocky Mountain states that need to worry about this public access issue. Cabela's is marketing prime wildlife habitat here in Oregon and it could drive the loss of public hunting access on private land in other states.

Here are a few of Oregon's properties listed under Cabela's Trophy Properties:
  • About 600 acres in the Ochoco Creek Valley southeast of Prineville, OR is going for $16.6 million.
  • Or you could pick up the Inshallah Ranch for $12 million. "Tremendous potential for an appreciation of value on this acquisition exists, as demand for quality big game hunting ranches continues to accelerate," the Cabela's site says.

    Is it time to start sending back the catalogues?
  • Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    DeFazio seeks predator poison ban

    According to the AP, Oregon Rep Peter Defazio is petitioning the EPA to ban the use of two dangerous chemicals sodium cyanide and sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known as Compound 1080, on federal lands. The poisons are used to kill predators in the West, but DeFazio says they also end up killing endangered species and injuring humans.

    Monday, November 26, 2007

    Climate change to boost invasive species in Oregon

    The Statesman Journal has a great article about how global warming is giong to impact invasive species in Oregon:

    Invasive species by their nature are opportunistic," said Patty Glick, senior global warming specialist for the National Wildlife Federation. "If you have environments weakened by drought, often invasive species can take advantage of that situation. A lot of invasive species introduced into the United States are limited by some factor, usually temperature.

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Oregon salmon runs continue nosedive: Egg hunters to blame?

    Earlier this year ODFW said the salmon run on the Rogue River was weak. Guides called it the worst season in 30 years. I've been bombing out on salmon(which doesn't mean much, but still).

    And now this, Shane at The Quiet Pool seems to be seeing the same thing, especially on the Kilchis where he blames the egg-gathering bubbas that throw back a bright buck for a ripe hen with eggs.

    We know out of date hydrosystems, ocean conditions and clearcutting are the primary factors in salmon decline, but on small streams, Shane sees another factor:

    While egg hunters are not the biggest suspects in the salmon decline they surely have played a part in it especially in coastal rivers which are primarily wild fish. The commercially sold eggs are generally from hatcheries surplus and are not sports caught. The recognition of the impact of this "egg hunting" is slow in coming but there are some that are now not keeping females and that is a good sign. Hopefully the enlightenment of some will influence others and that can indeed make a difference.

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    Tidal extremes on the Oregon Coast this weekend

    Several news outlets report that the Oregon Coast will have extremely high and low tides this weeekend. Coupled with great weather and calm seas, it should be an excellent time to go beach combing. But watch out for sneaker waves, which can be more deadly during these extreme tidal conditions. Also be on the lookout for giant floating logs that were lifted in the high tide. Nature is going to be rearranging the beach furniture.

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    National Geographic Adventure sells Columbia River salmon short

    In an article in the December/January 2008 issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine, Paul Kvinta illustrates the struggle between protected sea lions and fishermen skirmishing over the last dwindling stocks of Columbia River salmon.

    Unfortunately, Kvinta doesn't address the real problem facing our endangered salmon run until the very end of the article (several pages and jumps into the piece). Kivnta finally gets to it here:

    The government built 14 dams on the main stem of the Columbia River and more than 250 in the basin. The salmon population dropped from some ten million fish to less than 300,000.

    Of particular concern are four dams on the lower Snake River build between 1960 and 1975 to make Lewiston, Idaho -- 465 miles inland -- a port. Until then, Idaho had produced half of the Chinook salmon in the Columbia Basin. The dams generate less than 5% of the electricity used in the Northwest, they provide no flood control, and they supply irrigation to fewer than 20 farms.

    Why couldn't that be in the front of this article? Most likely because Kvinta or his editor John Rasmus made an editorial decision: ODFW agents spraying giant pinnipeds with rubber bullets is way more compelling to the average reader than salmon slowly dwindling to extinction due to beuracratic inertia.

    But nonetheless its a huge waste in my opinion. NG Adventure is a big publication and Kvinta is a very talented writer (his article on Rory Stewart is the best article I've ever read in one of the "outdoors" magazines).

    A: Kvinta is a good enough writer to make this issue interesting to a much wider audience.
    B: Isn't the National Geographic Society responsible to fight species extinction? I haven't read its charter or anything, but I idolized National Geographic writers and photographers since I was a kid and always thought of them as environmental stewards.

    Bottom line: Kvinta and Rasmus dropped the ball. They had an opportunity to raise awareness about a species that is circling the drain and instead they relegated that info to the back of the magazine.

    Luckily, YOU CITIZEN ENVIRONMENTALISTS can affect change where these folks fell short. Send a message to the Federal Government on this issue at

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    New way to drag blacktail and elk out of the Oregon bush

    Here's a video that's pretty much an ad for the people behind HawkeyeBilt, a personal tow-behind trailer unit for deer and elk carcasses in Oregon's backcountry. Getting a big ungulate down miles from a road is one of my worst nightmares.

    Protect Oregon's sea floor

    Robin Hartmann of the Oregon Ocean Shores Coalition makes the case to protect Oregon's ocean floor in today's Regisiter-Guard:

    Our sea floor is the unsung hero of Oregon’s land base. Extending three miles off our coast, it is covered with communities of plants and animals that require and deserve protection, even though these special areas aren’t visible from the shore.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Video: Coastal cutthroat and steelhead fishing in Oregon

    Couple guys dropping egg patterns on coastal cutthroat and native steelhead in Oregon's coast range. Close to home.

    Video: Sturgeon Fishing on the Columbia River

    Yeah dude... it's another keeper. Sturgeon fishing on the Columbia. I got to do it.

    Authorities scale back search for Oregon professor

    The Register-Guard reports: After eight days of combing the dense forests near Cougar Lake, Lane County sheriff’s search and rescue officials called off the active search Monday for Daming Xu, who disappeared Nov. 4 after failing to return home to Eugene from a solo day hike.

    There is a site called Find Our Friend dedicated to updates on Daming Xu's situation.

    Oregon Coast: Stormwatchers beware of sneaker waves

    The winter storm season is upon us and the Oregon Coast is an awesome place to watch the raging Pacific Ocean. But sneaker waves can pose a threat to stormwatchers. Beach Connection offers a set of tips to avoid getting washed out to sea:

    Sneaker waves are common and often catch people off guard while standing onshore. You can't see them and they are impossible to predict. These occur when smaller waves pile up on top each other to form one large wave – sometimes twice as large as the previous sets. Also, they can carry large pieces of debris with them such as logs, which present a whole set of other dangers.

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Fishing bloggers, enviros rejoice over Measure 49

    This week Measure 49 passed in Oregon and the fishing blog community is excited. From the new Fly-blog supergroup Buster Wants to Fish:

    It’s now gonna be way harder to put a huge strip mall, a McDonald’s, a 230 McMansion development, 230 white picket fences that house an overmortaged American “Dream” lifestyle financed on credit and a killshot into the streambottom of our natal salmon and steelhead waters.

    The folks at the Oregon Environmental Council are excited as well. The raised a specter that's near and dear to my heart, the Sixes River:

    A Measure 37 claim has been filed at the mouth of the wild Sixes River—perhaps the greatest natural estuary remaining on the Coast. The claim threatens wild salmon and steelhead habitat with 150 housing units, a 250-room hotel, golf courses, and parking lots on land that is in a beach and dune conservation area.

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    DeFazio responds to my WOPR rant

    Dear Mr. Stansberry:

    Thank you for your message regarding the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR) process. I appreciate hearing from you.

    I share your concern about the WOPR. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency is currently considering several action alternatives that will significantly change how BLM lands in southern Oregon are managed. Reducing riparian buffers, shifting to shorter rotations, and managing owl habitat according to a highly dubious Northern Spotted Owl Draft Recovery Plan (2007) is no way to manage these valuable public lands. Moreover, I am deeply troubled that this process is being undertaken as a result of a "sweetheart settlement" between the timber industry and the Bush Administration.

    Despite these concerns, the BLM is legally permitted to undertake Resource Management Plan revision as necessary, even if the result of WOPR is a return to legal gridlock in the courts. I would prefer that the BLM - and the Forest Service - manage public forests in a more sustainable and ecologically-sound manner. To that end, I have introduced a bill in previous congresses that would direct the Forest Service and BLM to concentrate scarce dollars on thinning fire-prone and overstocked plantations on federal lands, rather than on logging old growth forests that are resistant to fire. I plan to reintroduce that bill again this year, and would like to count on your support for this legislation.

    Thank you again for writing. Please stay in touch.


    Rep. Peter DeFazio
    Fourth District, OREGON

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Give a dam for salmon

    Bobby Hayden and the folks from Save Our Wild Salmon have set up a new public comment page Give A Dam For Salmon where you can send a message to federal agencies and Congress that you'd like to see the lower four Snake River Dams removed.

    From the site: The federal government is allowing four costly, out-dated dams to limit our jobs, our fishing, and our outdoor recreation, and to threaten a healthy food source. Those four dams are destroying a national treasure and renewable natural resource. Wild salmon and steelhead are vital to the culture, economy, and balance of nature that the Pacific Northwest has relied upon for years. If we don’t act - in Congress, the courts, and our own communities - these salmon will disappear forever. The time is now.

    The also have this awesome dancing salmon video, "Buster, the wild Snake River Salmon".

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Oregon Old growth park pops up on the Coast Range

    From the Register-Guard last week: Fergus McLean isn’t bothering with whatever bureaucratic process it takes to create a public park. He’s just gone ahead and declared one in an expansive stand of huge old trees on federal land in the Coast Range.

    Stop the WOPR folks, before it's too late. Contact your local reps and tell them to stop the clearcutting of Oregon Old Growth Forests:
  • Governor Ted Kulongoski
  • U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
  • U.S. Senator Gordon Smith
  • Representative Peter DeFazio

    Also, send a letter to the BLM through The Cascadia Widlands Project’s action site.
  • Cascadia Wildlands presents on Copper River Delta

    EVENT TONIGHT! Gabe Scott, Cascadia Wildlands Alaska field staff, will be presenting tonight at the Eugene library. Gabe will be presenting images from wilderness photographer Brett Cole and talking about his cutting-edge conservation work in south-central AK.

    "At the Edge of the Ice Age: Alaska's Lost Coast and Copper River Country"
    Tuesday, November 6 * 6:30-7:30 pm
    Tykeson Room, Eugene Public Library (10th and Olive St.)
    Join the Cascadia Wildlands Project (CWP) for an informative and stunning slideshow presentation about Alaska's unparalleled Copper River, its rich Delta and threats they face from the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline and commercial extraction interests. CWP staff has spent the past 8 years in Cordova, a quaint fishing village on the mouth of the delta and on the eastern shore of Prince William Sound, working with fishermen and locals to ensure the world-class salmon fishery and surrounding wildlands remain unspoiled for future generations.

    Check out this video on commercial fishing in the delta:

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Make the pledge to Switch For Salmon

    Trout Unlimited is rolling out a new pledge for salmonid conservationists in the Pacific Northwest. TU wants customers who buy the power produced by the Northwest's dams send a strong message that we're willing to use less of it. "Perhaps then the dam operators will hear us, and decide they too, can change for fish."

    Sign the pledge today and you can save on your energy bill and send a message to the hydrosystem folks. Here are the changes you would have to make:

    Switch out just three-quarters of my light bulbs to compact fluorescents: save 5%
    Switch to running only full loads in the dryer: save 2%
    Switch off lights when not in use: save 3%
    Switch to air drying half my washed clothing: save 3%
    Switch to running only full loads in the dishwasher: save 1%

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    The State of the Rogue River fishery

    The Mail Tribune ran an interesting article recently on the manual labor involved with sampling anadromous fish runs on the Rogue River. ODFW and volunteers have been seining the river at Huntley Park, about 8 miles east of Gold Beach off Jerry's Flat Road, since the early 1970s.

    Unfortunately, the Rogue fishery has taken a nosedive. Local guides say it’s the worst season for Fall Chinook salmon fishing in thirty years, in an article in the Seattle P-I. This collapse seems especially hard after the 2002 and 2003 fish counts over Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River included record-breaking numbers for two runs of steelhead and two runs of salmon.

    The Rogue River is one of the last places in Oregon to catch wild fish in a wild environment. I am concerned about threats to the Wild and Scenic section of the river. The agencies that manage public land and water should be managing the land to preserve the wild and scenic qualities of the region, but instead they are looking to clear cut regions around the Rogue River tributaries. The problem clear cuts pose to the spawning tributaries for coldwater fish like salmon and steelhead are the potential to raise stream temperatures and bury eggs in sediment. Check out this league of environmental groups, guides, local businesses and concerned citizens to learn about saving the Wild Rogue River.

    Diamond Lake fishing is back in business

    According to ODFW, the rotenone project on Diamond Lake to get rid of invasive tui chub has been a huge success.

    The trout are back in large numbers (thanks to heavy stocking), and so are anglers. And the removal of chub has helped the lake in other ways:

    From an article in the Grants Pass Daily Courier: The chub had eaten the insect population down to 6.2 pounds per acre in August 2006. Last month, the lake bed sported 127 pounds of insects per acre. As for water clarity, it was so poor last year that visibility at times measured less than one meter. In late June, the visibility measured 12.5 meters.

    Monday, October 29, 2007

    Chetco River Hogs are in

    Larry Ellis at the Curry Pilot says the ground is saturated and water levels are fluctuating nicely on the Chetco -- and fishermen are banging big bright Chinook. Ellis offers tips for bank fishermen and an outlook on crabbing and fishing the Rogue.

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    Lazy Oregon hunters blow chukar hunting with ATV abuse

    According to Pat Wray of High Country News, there are right and wrong situations for ATVs. Right usage scenarios included search and rescue for his son, and helping to tow his elk carcass out of the Wallowas on established trails. But Wray says too many hunters rely on ATV use, and he lists separate experiences where chuckar hunting and habitat were impacted on the Owyhee River and Malhuer River valleys.

    From the article: Hunters using ATVs were busting through the desert, creating their own trails so they didn’t have to walk while they hunted some of the best chukar ground in North America. And it was flat! What incredible laziness!

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Oregon Hunters Association publishes Chukar tips

    Veteran chukar junkie and Oregon hunting celeb Gary Lewis published a funny sidebar in Oregon Hunter this month about 10 things not to do on a chukar hunt. Here is the abbreviated list of how to do it right:
    1. Bring a topo map, GPS and compass.
    2. Hunt into the wind (for your dogs to catch the scent).
    3. Keep your yap shut -- no yelling at dogs or buddies.
    4. Buy No. 6 shells rated at 1,300 fps.
    5. Assume more birds are in the covey than the ones that first flushed.

    From the article: If there is one great “everyman’s hunt” left in Oregon, where a hunter can walk his own (public) ground for miles, it’s the pursuit of the Himalayan import called the chukar. All it takes is a shotgun, a bird dog, and a pair of boots.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Register-Guard says scrap BLM WOPR

    A brand new editorial in the Register-Guard hammers the BLM and Dirk Kempthorne for risking our watersheds and rolling back protections on endangered species. The EPA and a cadre of scientists have bashed the plan for being politically influenced and scientifically unsound as the BLM blindly plods on.

    It's bad for spotted owls, bad for rivers and bad for fish. How much more information does the U.S. Bureau of Land Management need before it yanks its plan to dramatically increase logging on 2.2 million acres in Oregon?

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Bubbas: Pick up your trash or we lose timber land hunting access and shoot each other in the face

    Shane Ullrich at the Sweet Home News says he’s seen the garbage and vandalism on the timber lands that cause these companies to lock down access to hunting. Ullrich says the game animals flee public lands for the protected private land, which is bad enough, but he also notes that it bottlenecks hunters onto public lands and there is more opportunity for a nasty accident. “A lot of lead will be coming and going,” Ullrich writes.

    I have to ask, because I hunt some timber lands near the Smith River drainage, why the hell would you haul an entire range and stove out into the woods to shoot holes in it? Beer cans, sure -- you’re a piece of shit, but I get it: Drink beer, throw it in the dirt and shoot the gun. But the oven? Why? Why?

    Agencies improve central Oregon coastal stream habitat

    Newport News-Times reports that several agencies are teaming up to improve coastal stream habitat for anadromous fish on the Central Oregon coast. The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are teaming up with private land owners and watershed councils to fly large logs into the coast range watersheds with a helicopter.

    The 100-foot logs will provide habitat and help create deep pools to support salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout. Wood will be flown into the Beaver Creek Basin on North Fork Beaver Creek, Petersen Creek and Elkhorn Creek. Trees will also be placed in the Alsea Basin along Horse/Meadow Creek, Lobster Creek, Little Lobster Creek and Preacher Creek.

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Cape Perpetua Sitka Spruce designated Oregon Heritage Tree

    Last month the Oregon Travel Information Council designated a giant Sitka Spruce on Cape Perpetua an "Oregon Heritage Tree".

    The Salem Statesman Journal wrote up an article last week about the hike and the tree. "The two-mile round-trip hike from the Cape Perpetua visitor center to the Sitka spruce is a great winter walk, even if it's raining sideways, because it's in a protected canyon along a gurgling creek through a carpet of ferns and mosses."

    It's not the biggest Sitka Spruce though. The biggest is in Klootchy Creek Park and was damaged in the 2006 storms. The heritage tree program is taking donations to help save the tree.

    Monday, June 25, 2007

    New Site + Archiving Oregon Outdoor Journal

    Well, I'm all jazzed up about the new version of this site. Against all better judgement from readers, I'm giving up the Oregon Outdoor Journal Google Juice and nice number of monthly visits to continue my Wordpress blog.

    I'm not shutting the doors on this site, since there's a lot of work here. But give Upstream in Oregon a shot. You won't be disappointed if you liked this site.


    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Blogger versus Wordpress

    My blogger account has been jammed up for a couple weeks. I could post content, but it wasn't moving on to the home page. I got pretty frustrated so I started an experiment on Wordpress. Now I'm considering switching over fulltime. I'd like to get some votes on moving readers over to the new site versus keeping this Blogger account running.

    PROS of moving over to WordPress:
  • Some of my favorite blogs recently moved from Blogger to Wordpress and they look really good. I think the new "test" blog looks better than this one already, and I haven't done much to it yet.
  • I've been more happy with Flickr than Picassa as a photo site, and Flickr (owned by Yahoo) and Blogger (owned by Google)don't get along. The Flickr photos don't size right. Flickr photos fit correctly on Wordpress.
  • I'm familiar enough with the Wordpress dashboard and I can get moving pretty quickly on it. I'm also inspired to most more often in the new deal.

    CONS of moving from Blogger to Wordpress:
  • I lose all of the search engine goodwill I've built up so far.
  • Everybody has to update their Oregon Outdoor Journal URLs to the new site.
  • I'd still have to keep my blogger account for a couple other blogs I maintain.
  • I might shift my focus on the new blog to more personal/navel gazing style, rather than trying to keep up with Oregon Outdoor news and controversies. I'd still talk about fishing, environmental news -- but I'd also post more about what I'm reading, what I'm doing at work, etc.

    Looking for feedback. What do you think?

    PS: Special thanks to Ron Southern for helping me kickstart this thing and get it displaying again.
  • Redwoods photo trip

    Lots of photos from our Redwoods National and State park trip.

    Coastal California Elk

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Pressure DeFazio on Snake River Dam study

    Last week, the Eugene Register Guard published a letter from my bud Karl Mueller. Karl is advocating for a study of the dams on the Snake River, which Representative Peter DeFazio has declined to endorse. From Karl's letter:

    Snake River sockeye are already extinct, as are Snake River coho. Snake River chinook continue an inevitable slide toward extinction, yet there is still time to act. A bill in Congress would fund nothing more than an objective study of the costs and benefits associated with these dams. It seems prudent to examine the situation and act on the basis of the best available information.

    This bill has broad support in the House including the support of Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Rep. Peter DeFazio, who in his last campaign received $27,000 (one of his largest supporters) from a political action committee titled Action Committee for Rural Electrification National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, does not support the act. His position reeks of Bush-like special interest pandering.

    Do your part and contact DeFazio and let him know where you stand on this issue.

    In other Oregon Outdoor news, I was mauled by rampaging ground squirrels on top of Spencer's Butte yesterday. For the first time in my experience, wildlife outnumbered smarmy undergrads on the summit. The sound of the zipper on my camera case brought them in -- must sound a lot like a backpack full of cheez doodles opening.

    Ground squirrel gets frisky

    Squirrells on Spencers Butte

    Spencer's Butte

    Top of the Willamette Valley

    Also, Big Al took me out to a sweet spot on the Middle Fork, above Dexter and Lookout reservoirs. Easy access, but tricky to get to. I'm not blowing this spot on a blog post, but it rocked. You have to go with me if you want to check this one out -- drop me a line. We hooked about ten fish apiece, landed only a couple, but that's a different issue. Bad hands yesterday. They were taking my Madam X, green -- once again proving my saying -- OREGON TROUT LOVE LEGS. I can't say it enough. I'm getting it on a T-Shirt.

    We saw elk, a bald eagle and an otter. Check out the big image of the otter on Flickr.

    We also caught some salmon -- little landlocked guys coming up from the reservoir -- really silver with a forked tail. They don't fight as hard as rainbows, but it's cool to see them. They're coming from the fish spawning up on the North Fork and higher on the Middle Fork.

    Trailer-man is still holed up with his rottweiler at the confluence of Salt Creek and the Middle Fork. Forest Service still hasn't done anything about it.

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Oregon outdoors weekend warriors

    I've been back from Alaska two weeks, but I'm having a hard time getting back into the writing swing of things (both here and at work unfortunately). I am making my rounds on the Oregon Outdoors though. Over Memorial Day weekend, I managed to get out on a drift boat with Karl from TU 678 and we covered Helfrich to Ikes and slammed the stocked rainbows. Karl runs a mean drift boat -- wish I'd have had a camera. Most of the fish were up at the beginning of the run and I caught almost all of them on the Mega-Prince (favorite fly of 2007). The next day, the bear climbed over the mountain and so did me and Al. We were on a mission to actually use the Spring Bear tags we bought and we ran up and down every backroad in the Smith River drainage. We got out and wandered a few old logging roads, I made a few squeals on the predator call, but it was a pretty half-hearted attempt. Good times, mostly an excuse to get out of the house. We came out of the mountains in Elkton and tried to hook into the Umpqua Shad run, but nothing happening. Lots of folks out on the banks, but not as many as Al expected. No shad. Then Monday, Sarah and Wild Bill pulled some strings to get KP and I out onto the North Umpqua for a whitewater trip with Destination Wilderness.

    Rafting the North Umpqua

    Rafting the North Umpqua

    Rafting the North Umpqua

    Then this last weekend, Wild Bill and I escaped Eugene to check out the scene on the McKenzie on Friday night. We tried to do the run again that Karl and I did, in my inflatable kayaks. I seem to have forgotten how hard it is to fish out of those things. We did pick up some feisty stockers in a hole at the beginning of the run. I also managed to "test" my new SOSpenders -- see pic below.

    Emergency! Inflatable life vest saves local moron

    We camped out at McKenzie Bridge that night. Pretty sad -- we forgot the beer and I burned my leg. The next morning we checked out Horse Creek though and that was really amazing. I'm pretty sure it's breeding/rearing habitat for the wild fish on the McKenzie. Bill and I caught three juvenile fish -- biggest one about 9 inches or so. We tried back on the McKenzie after that, but the fish weren't biting high up and the crowds were too bad down low.

    River Sandal

    Finally, yesterday I fished the North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette with KP. I really need help with that river. It's one of my favorite places to fish but I haven't had a bite there. After getting discouraged on the NFMF we headed out to the confluence of Salt Creek and the Middle Fork and someone had set up a camper blocking access to the river and had 3 big agressive dogs loose that ran us off. I reported it to the Oakridge Police, but they said it was a Forest Service or Lane County Sheriff issue. We'll see if that gets cleared up.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Alaskan Brown bear hunting and Robert Ruark

    You've seen the photos, now the tale of the tape on the recent Alaskan Brown Bear hunt: My dad shot a good representative male bear -- 8'6" (about 700lbs -- a total guess, based entirely on trying to drag the damn thing). He made a 500 yard stalk on a beach, steadied his rifle across a wobbly Swarvoski scope, and shot high at about 100 yards away. As the bear was turning to run, he refocused and dropped it cold with a shot that broke its neck and shoulder, and kicked it over backwards. Coming off of a double bypass just four months previous, the old man pulled it off without a hitch.

    We stayed aboard The Bear, a fifty foot boat operated by Alaska Master Guide Brad Dennison of Alaska Coastal Outfitters. Brad ran the boat and guided my dad’s friend Nick most of the trip. Chet Benson of Bearfoot Adventures was our guide when my dad shot the bear. I've sworn not to tell where we hunted specifically, but I can say that we hunted the ABC Island area: Admiralty, Baranof and Chicagof.

    I have day-to-day notes on the 10-day hunt that I plan to try to tie into a story I'm going to pitch to magazines at some point in the near future.

    For most of the trip, I was reading Robert Ruark's Horn of the Hunter, a book about his safari in Africa. A lot of Ruark's observations seemed to apply to this trip as well. Selected excerpts below:

    Every man has to brace a lion at least once in his life, and whether the lion is a woman or a boss or the prospect of death by disease makes no difference.

    This one's for you Chester: According to what you may have seen or read, the basic idea of a professional hunter is roughly this: He stands about six foot five, sports a full beard, and is drunk (off his client's liquor) most of the time. He always makes a play for the client's beautiful wife or sister and always scores. He shoots lions with pistols and wrestles snakes and buffalo for fun. When he is not out on safari he hangs around bars in Nairobi, ogling the girls and thumbing the big cartridges he wears in the loops of his jacket. He does all the shooting for the client, while the client sits comfortably in the shooting car. He is always taciturn with a me-Tarzan-you-Jane manner. He has a secret sorrow which drove him to a life among the wild beasts. His business is regarded as butchery and it takes a superhuman man to be a competent butcher.

    The truth: The heavy work for a hunter is not so much the location of game and the supervision of the final kill as the camp routine. He supervises a tiny portable city... He must be an expert mechanic -- he must be able to rebuild a motorcar from the spare parts he carries and improvise those parts he has not... The hunter finally combines the duties of sea captain, a bodyguard, a chauffer, a tracker, a skinner, a headwaiter, a tourist guide, a photographer, a mechanic, a stevedore, an interpreter, a game expert, a gin rummy partner, drinking companion, social equal, technical superior, boss, employee, and handyman.

    Possibly the best argument for trophy hunting I've ever read: You are not shooting to kill. You are shooting to make immortal the thing you shoot. To kill just anything is a sin. To kill something that will be dead soon, but is so fine as to give you pleasure for years, is wonderful. Everything dies. You just hasten the process... I can understand killing something that you want so badly that you are willing to go to weeks of trouble and great expense to collect it, so that you will have it and enjoy it and remember it all your life.

    This rings of Timothy Treadwell: I'll never make another one of these things where the first object is the camera, with nothing but dirty work to be done with the gun, mopping up after the humanitarians.

    On coming home from a long trip: All the excitement and dangerous security were finished. Now it would be work and civilian frustration again. All the feeling of complete fatalism was gone. Now the future was in my hands again.

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Old man and the bear -- Alaska homecoming

    Hunting from shore, originally uploaded by mattstansberry.

    Back to the real world. Check out more photos from the Alaskan Brown Bear hunting adventure.

    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    Greetings from Sitka

    On Alaskan safari for grizzly bear this week with my old man and his buddy Nick, so I will be incommunicado. We landed in Sitka yesterday and here are today's pics. See you all May 21st... I hope.

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    Saturday, May 05, 2007

    Oregon turkey hunt turns into wildflower safari

    I never got to detail last weekend's Oregon Outdoor Journal Fest. It started out with a trip down to see Mike Kaiser, a turkey hunting guide in the Medford area. Mike and I headed out at 4am to stalk Southern Oregon's booming turkey population. We hunted a private plot of oak savanna just east of town. As we were getting out of the truck, we could hear 10 turkeys, at least, gobbling up in the trees around us. We walked about a half mile, picked a good spot and sat there, listening. Mike started making some hen noises with a mouth call and a box call, and we were listening to the toms gobbling back at us. It seemed pretty much inevitable that I was going to shoot a bird that morning. Unfortunately, we misjudged how far away the turkey we were focusing on was. It was practically on the next ridge over, but its call was carrying pretty far. Once we realized that the bird wasn't getting any closer, we pulled up stakes and moved. We hiked back and forth across miles of rolling hills, stopping to call periodically. We had a lot of birds responding to us, but none coming in. The closest we came was a pair of jakes (juvenile male turkeys) that seemed to be shadowing us, but eventually they ran off over the next ridge, still calling at us the whole time. During the course of the morning we saw tons of wildflowers and had great views of Mt. McGloughlin. Pictures below:

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    April fly fishing around Eugene Oregon

    I never got back to explaining what was working on the Middle Fork of the Willamette a couple weeks back like I promised. Well, here it is. We spent most of the morning banging the bottom with a two-nymph rig -- couple leggy stoneflies and mega-princes. Our guide had a cool way of tying the indicator to the butt section of the leader and another knot directly to the indicator to make sure it drifted straight down. Picked up a lot of fish in deeper runs -- seams near the bank. Later in the day we were swinging soft hackles across the middle, brownish size 12s. Two flies per rig, and fish hit on both flies. The upper fly was attached way up, using stiff 2x to make it stick out and avoid tangling with the leader. Big day.

    From MattStansberry

    Then the next day we headed to the McKenzie River with Big Al and posse from Trout Unlimited Chapter TU 678. We saw a ton of bugs, some steelhead smolts and not much else. We caught about 6 cutthroat trout that collectively measured about 30 inches. Check out the full monty on the TU Chapter 678 blog.

    Monday, April 30, 2007

    Oregon fishery news

    A lot of recent Oregon Fishery news out there.

    First, "fish friendly hydro" is all the rage out here in Cascadia. The latest news comes from, with an article touting the benefits of Oregon's Pelton Round Butte Hydro Project on the Deschutes River, operated by Portland General Electric Company (PGE) and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS). The project was certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) for fish passage measures, including a claim of 96%survival rate for downstream migrating fish. It seems pretty interesting, but I haven't seen any independent info on these LIHI people. Are they just the marketing arm of the hydro industry? Something much more positive? Who knows? I checked out Trout Unlimited to see if they had any info about them, but the site is impossible to navigate.

    I can bash TU's Web site all I want, but they are doing something interesting with the new "Why Wild" campaign for getting people to eat wild salmon. Go on over and sign the Wild Salmon Bill of Rights. They can explain why eating wild salmon might be the best thing that could happen to this struggling fishery.

    Lastly, Oregon State University scientists have produced a study that shows commercial trawling is destroying biodiversity off the Oregon Coast's Continental Shelf. But not enough to make anyone want to stop it. According to the AP story, areas showing roller tracks in the mud from bottom trawling nets had 20% fewer fish, 30% fewer species of fish and six times fewer invertebrates, such as crabs and seapens.

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Mt. Pisgah comes alive: Oregon wildflower pics

    The last few weeks on Mt. Pisgah have been pretty sweet for hiking. Nice wild flowers, good weather. Here are some recent pics:

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    From MattStansberry

    PS: Nikon was Waaaay too backed up for orders on the D-80 I wanted to buy. I ordered it almost two months ago and it didn't look like it was going to come in before I leave for Alaska May 9. My local camera shop, Dot Dotson, worked out a better deal on a Canon Digital Rebel XTi.