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The "painted rocks" or petroglyphs as they are called are just outside the interpretive center. These rocks were moved to this location in 1963 from an area several miles downstream, saving them from the rising waters with the completion of the Wanapum Dam. Photo by Kaspar Megert

Last Parks free day of 2020 set for Saturday

Day users won’t need a Discovery Pass at State Parks this Saturday.

It’s the last of 12 free days offered this year, designated as “Autumn Day.” The Discover Pass exemption does not apply to overnight stays at parks or day trips to other state lands, such as those managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

App created for viewing public lands

Washington’s Recreation and Conservation Office has introduced a new way to see public lands online.

The Public Lands Inventory Web App features more than 18.8 million acres of public lands used for recreation or wildlife habitat in Washington. Information on the app includes type of use, owner, legislative district, year of acquisition, purchase price and acreage.

The Legislature requested this update to the Public Lands Inventory and provided the necessary funding. It can be accessed at wa-rco.maps.arcgis.com.

Input to be sought about Ginkgo/Wanapum plan

Washington State Parks will seek input from the public for the next phase of recreation planning at Gingko Petrified State Forest Park and Wanapum Recreation Area near Vantage.

A virtual public meeting will be held Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. via Microsoft Teams. Anyone can watch the presentation and comments, questions or suggestions can be written and submitted during the meeting or through Dec. 31.

Can’t recall when your school won that state title? Need to settle a bet? One place for decades of Valley sports.

More information on the project and instructions on how to join the meeting can be found online at j.mp/GingkoPlan. Anyone needing special accommodations for the meeting can call Melinda Posner at 360-902-8671 or email planning@parks.wa.gov.

BIRD ALERT

Some of the smaller ponds in Yakima County can be very productive and good places to brush up on your waterfowl ID skills. One of those, the Central Pre-Mix Pond on Riverside Road, is a good example. This week it not only held a good number of Canada goose and mallards, but it also had a Barrow’s goldeneye and a rare Eurasian wigeon mixed in with nine American wigeons.

At Randal Park birders spotted Canada goose, American wigeon, mallard, three common goldeneyes, and a couple of female buffleheads. Even a pond as small as the Costco pond can be rewarding to check out. This week it held nine mallards, six ring-necked ducks, a pied-billed grebe and a couple of American coots.

A local birder birded along Pumphouse Road near Toppenish and tallied a good mix of birds. Highlights included Eurasian collared-dove, great blue heron, northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, northern flicker, American kestrel, northern shrike, black-billed magpie, dark-eyed junco, white-crowned sparrow, golden-crowned sparrow, song sparrow, Lincoln’s sparrow, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird and Brewer’s blackbird.

Email your bird sightings to kdturley@embarqmail.com and be sure to like us on our Facebook page or visit yakimaaudubon.org.

CALENDAR

Wednesday: The Hard Core Runners Club will meet for its weekly fun run at 6 p.m. at Franklin Park, where they run either on the track or the street.

Runners must break into multiple groups if more than 10 people show up. Those wanting to run on the street should bring headlamps and reflective/illuminated clothing.