Outdoor Fun

I found a couple of really great resources for people who, like me, never let a little spring time NW rain spoil their adventuresome spirit.  While I am smart enough to come in out of a real hum-dinger of a rainstorm, a lot of the rain we have here is slightly more than a heavy mist.  So, I am placing a few more great ideas here for cold-wet-weather OUTDOOR fun!

(Picture courtesy of http://www.NPS.gov)

Nisqually Bird Walk

Each Wednesday, Phil Kelley leads a walk through the Nisqually National WIldlife Refuge. The walk is almost 4 miles and starts at 8am. Call 360-459-1499 or email scrubjay323@aol.com for more information $3 entrance fee for adults. http://1.usa.gov/uVLq5F

Take a Hike

There are plenty of lower elevation hikes that can be found, from the 6mile drive at Point Defiance, or the walk along Ruston Way or even an afternoon at Dash Point state park. Remember, if you are using a state or federal reserve there are usually admission fees or you can buy a discovery pass. If you are going in December, ask when the passes expire! Also, the Tacoma News Tribune has great hike ideas. One here can be found at: http://bit.ly/u8VqVV

Additionally, there are several Volksmarch Clubs in the area.  Yes, I said Volksmarch.  Volksmarch is a great German sport that is basically a hike through the woods.  Im pretty much a wuss, so I like lower levels to accommodate the baby’s stroller.  But there are clubs based out of Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia, Seattle, Lacey and Federal Way.  Most of their events are free, and you only pay if you want to record the walk for the American Volksmarch Association.  Check out http://www.ava.org/gen3/data/clubsbystate.asp?EVState=WA for details of the club near you, then get outdoors and WALK!

Go play in the mountains!

You can drive up to Mt. Rainier or Olympic National Park. There is a $15 vehicle fee at both locations. See www.nps.gov/ or  www.nps.gov/olym Both parks offer great, lower cost options for hikes or activities. And, if you are active duty military, you can receive a FREE park pass! http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Also, I’ve found a list if dates where entrance into Washington State Parks is FREE! (No Discover Pass required)

Washington State Parks has announced the following “free days,” when the Discover Pass will not be required to visit a state park. A Discover Pass will still be required to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Following are the 2012 State Parks “free days”:

Free days at state parks: Visit Washington state parks for free March 30 in recognition of State Parks’ 100th birthday on March 19. The Discover Pass is not required to visit state parks on free days. The remaining State Parks free days for 2013 are:

March 30: Recognition of State Parks’ 100th birthday on March 19
April 27 – 28: Recognition of National Parks Week
June 1: National Trails Day
June 8 – 9: National Get Outdoors Day and WDFW Free Fishing weekend
Aug. 4: Peak summer season free day
Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day
Nov. 9 – 11: Veteran’s Day weekend

America’s State Parks First Day Hikes are occurring across the country. The National Association of State Parks Directors organizes the nation-wide effort. For more information about First Day Hikes, visit www.americasstateparks.org/first-day-hikes.

Also, if you plan to visit state parks, consider volunteering for one of the parks agencies! After you volunteer for more than 24hrs, turn in your volunteer vouchers for a FREE discover pass! You do something great by volunteering, and you get to enjoy the great outdoors.

(From the Discover Pass FAQ page)
Q. Where can I get information about eligible volunteer projects that count toward a complimentary Discover Pass?

A. More information is available at:

Washington State Parks information line — (360) 902-8844.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Volunteer Program Coordinator — (360) 902-2802.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources — http://www.dnr.wa.gov/volunteer. (Follow the link to the volunteer calendar.)

Q. Do volunteer hours donated to fulfill requirements for purposes outside of State Parks, DNR, or WDFW count towards a complimentary Discover Pass?
A. No. Volunteer hours donated to fulfill requirements for outside purposes such as school credits, graduation, or court-ordered community service are not eligible.

Hike Local

The Washington Trails Association has several links and and articles about the best local parks and hikes farther afield.  So, if you plan to use a city park, like Point Defiance or Snake Lake in Tacoma, the website and map can direct you to the locations in your town as well as tips and tricks for hiking with the littles.  www.wta.org 

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