Monday, December 13, 2010

Nature Tourism in the Yakima Valley

Nature tourism is defined as the enjoyment of travel through the natural world, its seasonal cycle and events, carried out in a manner that promotes the protection of natural and human communities.

Whether you choose the high desert route (I-82 E) over the sage and grass hilltops to overlook the valley stretching out below, or the route along the Yakima River at the bottom of the canyon, the natural scenery is spectacular. The Yakima River Canyon drive offers opportunities to spot eagles fishing in the winter as well as big horn sheep and mule deer on the cliffs and talus slopes. There are numerous places to pull off the road to view the wildlife and take pictures.

The Oak Creek Wildlife Feeding Station is located off The White Pass Scenic Byway (Hwy 12) Elk migrate from the mountains
when the snow pack gets deep, to the foothills where the station is located. The Rocky Mountain Elk bulls average weight is 450-900 lbs and their antler racks are impressive. During severe winters, as many as 8,000 elk may use feeding areas. The migration affords the opportunity to see these majestic animals up close as they are being fed. You may watch the feeding, which is generally around 1:30 every day and usually the elk stay nearby after the feeding.

Selah Winter Wildlife Tour:
  • The Winter Wildlife Tour is a nature themed getaway on January 22, 2011. You will have a chance to view Bighorn sheep at the Cleman Mountain winter feeding station, where up to 150 sheep congregate during feeding times and the elk that gather at Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Not many have the chance to get this close to the animals for the unique viewing and photographic opportunity. The cost is $45/person and includes breakfast, lunch and transportation. Call 509-698-7300 to reserve your space.

The Yakima Area Wildlife Viewing Guide
is a valuable resource outlining all the Nature tourism areas in the Yakima Valley. This brochure includes a map to all the natural areas and descriptions of the wildlife that one will see. The printed brochure is available at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.

The Wenas Creek Wildlife Area was designated as a bird sanctuary in 1966 in honor of Hazel Wolf, a renown naturalist and Audubon mentor. Every Memorial Weekend, Washington State's Audubon Chapters and their friends gather in the Wenas Valley. There are campfire programs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Field Trips, which include both birding trips and wildflower trips. are scheduled Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This is a free event. The gathering is held in the vicinity of the Larrison Tree along Wenas Creek within the Wenas Creek Campground. The camping is primitive, if you would like to attending the programs and not camp there are many accommodation choices available in Yakima Area . The closest being the North Park Lodge in Selah.
  • The North Park Lodge in Selah is a great place stay with rustic log furniture and over sized rooms, a free continental breakfast, use of arcade, heated indoor pool and evening lounge.
Everyone is welcome to join in this free family friendly outing which is attended each year by around 200 men, women and children.

The Audobon Society produces an excellent series of birding trail maps for all areas in Washington State. The Sun and Sage Loop map features the birds seen in the Yakima Valley Area.

Video update Added 1/2010
Text updated 12/8/2010

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Luminaria Walk at the Arboretum

The 18th Annual Luminaria Walk is a free family event featuring a mile-long candlelit walk through the Arboretum's winter landscape. Follow the pathway lit by luminaria to the 80-foot lighted Norwegian Spruce Christmas Tree, the rose garden gazebo and fountain and more, as you listen to Christmas tunes floating over the landscape. It is a magical experience when the snow is falling.

After your walk, warm up with hot cider, freshly pressed from Johnson Orchards, Christmas carols, local musicians playing favorites and children can make their own Luminaria bags to take home. All this in the Jewett Interpretive Center, December 10th and 11th, 6-9pm.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ski White Pass -Be One of the First on the New Runs

Are you ready for this?
Awesome views of Mt Rainier, back country powder, new runs, new lodge, and new name; Paradise Basin!

O Yeah!

Andy Mahre - First tracks down the brand new terrain at White Pass, WA.

Andy Mahre; Yakima local and acclaimed freelance "extreme" skier whose home mountain is White Pass Washington, makes one of the first runs down the new Coulour Express.

White Pass is now one of the largest ski areas in Washington State. Over 30 years of wishing and waiting by local skiers, lots of hard work and litigation by the White Pass organization and interested volunteers have finally doubled the size of the ski area at White Pass. Adding 3 new lifts, 767 acres of terrain and an additional new 5,600-square-foot day lodge.

Places to stay on the mountain are limited, after your day on the slopes head to Downtown Yakima, only 40 minutes away, where there are many hotels to choose from.
Here are a few offering discounts.

Howard Johnson Downtown Yakima offers a "Holiday" rate of $49 though January 31, 2010. Call direct
(509) 452-6511.
Oxford Suites offers a percentage off your ( 1,2 or 3 night) stay through January 7, with newly remodeled rooms, pool and spa area,
includes a full hot breakfast.

Relax with a great dinner at one of the many downtown restaurants and review your day on the mountain with friends.


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