Outdoors briefs: 20 kayakers sign up for Chelan adventure

CHELAN FALLS -- More than 20 expert kayakers signed up to paddle the treacherous waters of the Chelan Gorge today and Sunday, according to the Wenatchee World.

The gorge is a one-third mile section of whitewater toward the end of a 4-mile river channel between Lake Chelan Dam and its powerhouse, near the Columbia River.

The PUD will be spilling water into the channel this weekend at about 300 to 450 cubic feet per second, a Chelan County PUD official said in a news release.

The test spill and kayaking event are part of the PUD's 50-year license requirements to operate the dam and create recreation opportunities.

Agencies to discuss large land exchange

The Washington Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will meet in Ellensburg on July 16 to update the public about a proposed land exchange between the two agencies involving thousands of acres.

The goals of the proposed transaction, known as the DNR-WDFW Exchange, would consolidate state trust land ownership, increase wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities, and provide long-term revenue to help build public schools, universities, and other public institutions, according to the state.

Up to 84,000 acres of state trust lands managed by natural resources would be exchanged for up to 38,000 acres of wildlife-managed land.

The exchange may involve properties in Franklin, Asotin, Chelan, Columbia, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Okanogan, Thurston, Whatcom, and Yakima counties, according to the state.

New maps highlight wildlife viewing areas

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has completed two new nature maps pinpointing prime wildlife-viewing areas along two key routes to the Canadian border.

Both color maps -- one focusing on the I-5 corridor, the other tracing Highway 97 through the Okanogan Valley -- are available free at department regional offices and at visitor centers and ranger stations along both routes.

Chuck Gibilisco, department watchable-wildlife coordinator, said the two nature maps are part of an effort by state agencies to publicize tourism opportunities in Washington in conjunction with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games that are to begin in February.