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Sunday, September 15, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Outdoors

Outdoors -- Oldest Park Will Be Closed This Winter

Seattle Times Outdoors Reporter

Washington's most venerable state park is getting a winterlong face lift.

Larrabee State Park, the state's oldest, will close the second week of October for renovation. All day-use and camping areas at the park, seven miles south of Bellingham on Chuckanut Drive, will be closed until April.

The renovation project at Larrabee, which became a state park in 1915, will include construction of a new entrance road, restrooms and other facilities.

Winter visitors to the spectacular Chuckanut Drive/Samish Bay area won't be totally locked out, however. Clayton Beach day-use area, just south of Larrabee along Chuckanut Drive, will remain open. A state DNR parking lot along the highway provides access to a trail to the beach.

Cleator Road and most of the state park area on Chuckanut Mountain, east of the main park, also will remain open. The Fragrance Lake Trailhead across from the park, however, will be closed during construction.

Larrabee's other popular day-use area, a boat launch at Wildcat Cove, will be open during most of the renovation. The boat-launch area also is popular among kayakers and rock climbers. For more information, call the park at (360) 676-2093.

Outdoor notebook

-- Jean Ellis of Billings, Mont., recently became the first African-American climber to summit one of the world's 8,000-meter peaks.

Ellis, 49, of Billings, Mont., was part of a U.S. team that recently summited 26,906-foot Cho Oyu, the world's sixth-highest mountain.

The summit team was led by guide Eric Simonson of Ashford and included Heather MacDonald of Ashford and Ed Leas and John Race, both of Seattle.

-- The Seattle Parks Department seeks public comment on a proposal for a new education center near the Volunteer Park Conservatory, Sept. 25, 6 p.m., at the Volunteer Park Growing Greenhouse meeting room. For details, call (206) 684-7049.

-- The Washington Trails Association need volunteers to repair damaged trails. Next: Monday, Clearwater/Carbon off Highway 410; Sept. 21-22, Granite Mountain off I-90; Sept. 27, Pass Creek Trail off Highway 2. For details, call (206) 517-7032.

-- Two Washington wetland conservation projects were awarded $490,000 in federal grants by the U.S. Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, according to Ducks Unlimited.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources will receive $450,000 for the Trout Lake Wetlands project in Klickitat County, which is an important area for migrating waterfowl and contains one of the largest populations of pale-eyed grass, a plant species considered threatened.

The Skagit Land Trust will receive $40,000 to acquire conservation easements protecting wetlands associated with Barney Lake in Skagit County. The Skagit River Delta has been identified as the highest wetland priority area in the Pacific Coast Joint Venture Area of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

-- The free 1996 Washington WaterWeeks program guide is available by calling the US Environmental Protection Agency Seattle regional office at (800) 424-4EPA.

The guide lists water activities happening through Oct. 6, and includes: nature watching; canoe/kayak trips; festivals; nature hikes and walks; clean-up projects; sailing and boat trips; diving; and planting.

-- The gate to Oak Creek Road 1400 remains open, but the road will be closed at milepost 4.8 due to severe flood damage. The area and roads beyond this point are unsafe for travel.

The only access to Bear Lake and upper Oak Creek area is by Bethel Ridge 4X4 route 1500-325. From the Bethel Ridge route there is no access to U.S. 12.

For details, call the Naches Ranger District at (509) 653-2205.

-- Anglers fishing for steelhead in the Snake River in southeast Washington must release all salmon, including chinook bearing jaw tags. The hatchery steelhead run peaks in October and November. Also, all wild steelhead must be released.

Anglers finding jaw tags on dead salmon are urged to return tags to the department's Snake River Fish Lab in Dayton.

-- The Agate Pass Power Squadron boating course begins Wednesday, at North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo. For details, call (206) 842-3958.

Notes compiled by Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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