OLYMPIA -- The newest loop of Audubon Washington's Great Washington State Birding Trail will connects areas of Benton, Walla Walla, Grant, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat counties.
The Sun and Sage Loop was unveiled Thursday in Olympia by state Sens. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, and Jerome Delvin, R-Richland.
The route encompasses different habitats that feature more than 200 of Washington's 346 annually recorded bird species, according to Audubon.
"Birding trails are big business all across the country," said Hewitt, an avid bird photographer and sponsor of the 2006 legislation that helped develop and complete the trail. "The trails and their birds attract visitors to mostly rural locations, which spurs economic development and gives residents increased incentive to safeguard natural acres around their communities and regions."
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The birding trails program started with the opening of the Cascades Loop in 2002, said Audubon Washington spokeswoman Hilary Hilscher.
Oregon man leaves bighorn meat to waste
An Oregon man's hunting privileges were suspended for two years after he admitted taking only the head and horns of a bighorn sheep he killed legally and leaving the rest of it to waste.
Ronald Edward Cecil, 49, of the Gresham area, pleaded guilty Feb. 12 in Gilliam County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor waste of wildlife crime.
He was ordered to pay restitution of $6,800 -- $5,300 was suspended -- and forfeit the head and horns, according to Oregon State Police.
In November 2008, Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Trooper Sean Carothers was off-duty when he contacted Cecil near the John Day River, who was hiking out of the area with the head and horns of a bighorn.