Heroes of the trail ‘adopt’ Naches routes

It’s easy to grouse about downed trees and other debris that make traveling trails a less than enjoyable experience. It’s quite another to determine to take on the responsibility of maintaining those trails by “adopting” them.

But that’s what several user groups — motorcyclists, four-wheelers, hikers and horseback riders — have done quite publicly by joining the Naches Ranger District’s Adopt A Trail Program, instigated last year. Their names are right there on the Wenatchee National Forest website for all to see — and to criticize, if the trails they’ve “adopted” don’t live up to users’ expectations.

The adopters and their adoptee trails:

Yakima Valley Dust Dodgers — Edgar Rock (trail 964), Quartz Creek (952) and Crow Creek (963); Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, Wenas Valley chapter — Russell Ridge (1111), Wildcat (1113), Ironstone (1141) and Shellrock (1132); Pacific Northwest 4WD Association — Naches Pass Trail (641); Shindig Wheelers — Leaning Tree (641) and Little Rattlesnake (680) trails; Yakima/Kittitas Forest Watch Association — Divide Ridge Trail (613); Yakima Cascadians — Goat Peak (958c), American Ridge (958) and Bear Creek Mountain (1130); Yakima Kinnikinicks — Twin Sisters Lake Trail (980); Hombres Jeep Club, PNW4WDA — Copper City (654); Jeeping Nomads — Humphrey Butte (661) and Sleepy Park (602, 602a); Yakima Ridgerunners — Divide Ridge West (615) and Blue Slide Trail (621); Jack Staeheli — Fife’s Ridge Trail (954).

For a little background, the Hombres Jeep folks have been reconstructing the Copper City trail for years, the same kind of dedication the Shindig Wheelers have shown to the Little Rattlesnake. And the Russell Ridge Trail adopted by the Backcountry Horsemen folks is actually a motorcycle trail, so that’s a real trail-sharing ethic.

If you see somebody from one of those groups, offer a thank-you — especially if you happen to be out enjoying a trail they cleared.

BIRD ALERT

This has been a great year so far in Yakima County for rare bird sightings. Earlier in the year we had a red-shouldered hawk, then last month we were treated to a willet, and now a tri-colored blackbird has been spotted near Toppenish Creek, where it crosses Lateral C road. This area is always a hot spot for birds, other birds seen here this week included: yellow-headed blackbirds, turkey vulture, great egrets, Loggerhead shrike, and Wilson’s snipe.

You don’t always have to travel to see good birds, as a Granger area resident proved when he observed a good mix of birds visiting his yard this week. Highlights are Townsend’s, yellow, yellow-rumped, orange-crowned and Wilson’s warblers all present, as well as a warbling vireo, red-breasted nuthatch, western tanager, cinnamon teal, evening grosbeak, a possible long-eared owl and black-chinned hummingbird.

Birders who visited the Toppenish national Wildlife refuge this week for International Migratory Bird Day were treated to over 60 species including sora, Virginia rail, blue-wing and cinnamon teal and Wilson’s phalarope.

A reservoir east of the intersection of Highway 241 and Van Belle Road, held a male and female Wilson’s phalarope, a red-necked grebe, and a common loon. A pond between Outlook and Granger held a couple of pectoral sandpipers.

Vaux’s swifts have also arrived in the valley with sighting coming from the Buena and Sunnyside areas. Western tanagers were also observed by a resident in the Terrace Heights.

Please email your bird sightings into the Yakima Valley Audubon at birds@yakimaaudubon.org or leave a message at 509-837-6930.

— Kerry L. Turley

ON THE CALENDAR

THIS MORNING: Two Cascadian groups, the Trekkers and the Free Spirits, will head out from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart south lot on separate hikes, but they’ll be leaving an hour apart. The Trekkers will take off at 7 a.m. for Dog Mountain for a stiff 7-mile trek with nearly 3,000 feet of elevation game; the Free Spirits, who typically don’t go as far, as fast or as steep as do the Trekkers, will leave at 8 a.m. for a 8- to 9-mile hike of Black Canyon that has about 1,800 feet of elevation gain. Jim Brown will be the leader.

WEDNESDAY: Mount Adams Cycling Club’s weekly 21-mile Naches loop ride will take off at 6 p.m. from the Suntides Golf Course parking lot. Road bikes only, 12-15 mph pace minimum.

THURSDAY: The Cascadian Pokies are slated to do a walking tour to enjoy the highlights of Roslyn. For meeting time and place, call Donna Oliva at 509-452-3961 or Mary Belzer at 509-966-7921.

FRIDAY: The Cascadian Trekkers will take off early (7:30 a.m.) from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart south lot en route to the Columbia Gorge for a hike of Dallas Mountain, an 8-miler with 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

SATURDAY: The Cascadians will host a “Saturday Easy Hike” of the Ancient Lakes area in Grant County southwest of Quincy. The group will meet at 8:45 a.m. and leave at 9 from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart lot, and drivers should bring a Discover Pass. The hike itself will be an easy 4 to 5 miles. If you’re new to the Cascadians or aren’t sure what to expect, call trip leader Rudy at 248-7304 in advance.

SATURDAY: If that easy hike isn’t your speed, the other end of the effort spectrum will be the Cascadian Trekkers’ significantly more uphill hike to Edgar Rock near Gold Creek on State Route 410. The views from the top make the perspiration en route very well spent.