Camping to Be Eliminated at Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is preparing a new management plan for the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Washington, which could mean changes for campers, hunters and anglers, The News Tribune, Tacoma, reported.
It has released a draft of a 15-year management plan for the 29,596-acre refuge just south of the Potholes Reservoir in Grant and Adams counties. The refuge includes wetlands that attract birds, including Sandhill cranes.
Fish and Wildlife proposes three alternatives for management of the refuge in the draft plan, and the final plan is expected to be a combination of alternatives two and three. The first alternative is to keep management the same, although all three alternatives would end overnight camping at the refuge.
Camping is proposed to be discontinued at Soda Lake Campground, which is not far from the Potholes Reservoir, and at Bluebird Campground to the south.
Camping longer is no considered an appropriate activity at the refuge because good roads and nearby communities make camping unnecessary to enjoy the six activities defined as priorities in 1997, she said. In addition, the refuge is closed at night.
Under the second management alternative, the two campgrounds would be restored to wildlife habitat. Under the third alternative, Soda Lake Campground would be converted for day use and Bluebird Campground would be available by permit for day use as an educational site.
Comments about the draft management plan are due by Aug. 28. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dan Haas, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 64 Maple St., Burbank, WA 99323.
A final draft is expected in the winter.