New Carty Unit Pedestrian Bridge Open!
Official Dedication Ceremony at BirdFest
Saturday, October 3rd at 10 am
Its official! The new Carty Unit Pedestrian Bridge is fully operational, making the Carty Unit truly open for all of our visitors. With its wide, gently sloping pathways, people with strollers, walkers and wheelchairs can easily access the Cathlapotle Plankhouse and Oaks to Wetlands Trail. Art installations and interpretive panels will be added over the next weeks and months to connect visitors to the history, culture, and wildlife of the Refuge.
The official bridge dedication will take place October 3rd at 10 am as the kickoff event for BirdFest. Note that the bridge and the Carty Unit will be closed in the morning in preparation for the ceremony.
Ridgefield NWR Hunt Program Modification Announced
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge offers a richness of public use experiences, both for non-consumptive and consumptive users. One of those consumptive uses is our waterfowl hunt program. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act passed by Congress in 1997 identified hunting as a wildlife-dependent, priority public use for the National Wildlife Refuge System. At the Refuge, the waterfowl hunting program is managed and operated in a manner that is consistent and compatible with the Refuge’s purposes and goals and provides a quality experience for the hunter. The program is designed to maintain hunt quality by regulating hunter density, while affording equal opportunity to all participants.
The Refuge operates box blinds and pit blinds within its hunting area. The hunt days currently run on a three-days-per-week schedule during the regular state waterfowl hunt season (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). Since the establishment of the hunt program, measures have been to improve hunt quality, safety, and equality. Recently, Refuge staff and the Western Waterfowl Association have had ongoing discussions on how to improve access to certain areas of the hunting area. Currently, access to the hunting blinds is on a network of seasonally mowed trails. This trail network attempts to utilize secondary maintenance roads and internal dikes to reduce annual trail maintenance efforts. Of focus was improvement of access to Blinds 10, 11 and 13A. These blinds are currently accessed from Parking Lot B, and users have expressed concern over the distance to get to these blinds, especially during wetter periods in the season in which sections of the trail from Parking Lot B are inundated and the hardship placed on hunters who are older with limited mobility.
Refuge management assessed the situation and there exists an opportunity to establish a hunter parking area at the current trail head parking lot of the Kiwa Trail. This would allow better access to hunt blinds #10, 11, and 13A (see map). The walking distance would be shorter than the current access point of Parking Lot B. Management is aware of concerns regarding disturbance impacts on wetlands adjacent to the Kiwa Trail parking lot in the non-hunting area and possibly reduction of wildlife viewing opportunities. It was agreed that a “test pilot” to use this parking area would be implemented this hunting season with conditions that hunters must comply with to insure minimal impacts to other users of the auto tour. In the case of failure to comply with stated conditions or if a noticeable change in wildlife viewing quality occurs, we would terminate use of the parking lot. The conditions are as follows:
- Hunters only with reservations for blinds 10, 11 and 13A may use the parking lot.
- All dogs must remain on leash in parking lot and trails until the party is at their designated blind.
- No littering or cleaning of birds is allowed in parking lot.
- Hunters must exit out of the parking lot and follow the auto tour one-way flow to return to hunter check station and follow posted speed limits.
Ridgefield NWR recognizes that the waterfowl hunt program contributes to the continuation of America's traditions and heritage in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation but must, among other considerations, maintain a careful balance between public use and wildlife conservation.
Waterfowl Hunting Applications are Now Online
The 2015-2016 Hunt Season is just around the corner, with opening day on Saturday, October 17, 2015. US Fish & Wildlife is very excited to offer a new, simpler electronic reservation system this year with one online application to be submitted on October 1, 2015 for the entire 2015-2016 Hunt Season. Hunters can pick up to 30 dates at once during this single application period. This new system will increase efficiency and accuracy of application processing. Additionally, it will be time-saving to both our hunters and staff, all while the cost remains the same to you! Click on this link for more information: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Ridgefield/visit/waterfowl_hunting.html
Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards Hiring a
The Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards are a Friends group supporting our sister complex comprised of Steigerwald Lake, Franz Lake and Pierce National Wildlife Refuges.
Know someone who loves the Refuges as much as they do and is interested in helping the Refuge Stewards grow their volunteer base? Tell them to head to this link to read the description for the Volunteer Coordinator position: http://refugestewards.org/files/VolunteerCoordinator.pdf.
Candidates may e-mail a resume and cover letter to email@example.com .
Lend a Helping Hand to Endangered Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has teamed up with FishBrain — the world’s largest free-to-use app and social network for anglers — to launch a new feature of the app that will help the American public identify and document threatened, endangered and candidate species.
The app enables FishBrain users to log sightings of up to 50 at-risk species during regular fishing trips, which will help conservationists and academics determine where the animals are, the habitat they need, the reasons for their decline, and how the public can help protect and conserve native wildlife.
To download the FishBrain app, visit:
The App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/fishbrain-fishing-reports/id477967747?mt=8
Thank you for visiting the refuge and supporting conservation. If you have any questions regarding activities and regulations on the refuge, call the office Monday through Friday 7:30am to 3:30 pm at 360-887-4106.