Articles

Fitting in Japan

“He’s a monster!”

That’s what my father-in-law said when my wife warned him how tall I am via phone prior to our first meeting. As a six foot five, 250 pound American, I am big in the U.S., but in Japan I am gigantic. To a Japanese family like my wife’s, I look like I can take on Godzilla.

I lived in Japan for eight years, and I can’t say I ever fit in – literally. The traditional doorway in Japan only comes to the bridge of my nose, and at the school I worked at they ended up removing some door frames that had sharp edges after I almost scalped myself on one. Read More.


Examples of Electric Charging Stations

Examples of Electric Charging Stations

Electric Vehicle? How does the thing go?

During your summer travels have you passed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station? If you’re unsure, take a look around.A major push to make electric vehicles more accessible for consumers began October 2009 through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE). These charging stations began popping up in Oregon and Washington in the following years in major cities and along popular transportation corridors. The project’s current infrastructure covers eight states and the District of Columbia. Read More.

White Salmon River Fest

Rafting over Husum Falls on the White Salmon River

This year marked the 10th annual White Salmon River Fest event. “The White Salmon River Fest & Symposium [Fest] celebrates the White Salmon River, the communities, and the natural and cultural history that surrounds this watershed. This river is an invaluable social, recreational, agricultural and economic resource to those who call it home.” Read More

Fitting In Japan

“He’s a monster!”

That’s what my father-in-law said when my wife warned him how tall I am via phone prior to our first meeting. As a six foot five, 250 pound American, I am big in […]

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Electric Vehicle? How does the thing go?

During your summer travels have you passed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station? If you’re unsure, take a look around.

A major push to make electric vehicles more accessible for consumers began October 2009 through funding […]

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TerraCycle: Outsmarting Waste

Paper coffee cups, sandwich bags, cigarette butts, chip bags, and toothbrushes. We’ve all had that moment holding an item trying to figure out how to dispose of it. Throwing it away doesn’t seem right, you […]

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Mary Sparks: The Queen of Spunk

Just east of the dense forests and flowing rivers of the Cascades lies the Columbia River Plateau, a land of heat, dry grasses, rattlesnakes, and vultures. This essay explores the history of Eastern Oregon through […]

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74° and Sunny. Bad News for Fish.

Paddle boarding to the very lowest part of the White Salmon River Friday evening, July 17, Margaret Neuman counted about 31 dead and 70 live sockeye. The Executive Director of Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group writes: “These […]

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Housing Conservation Continued

“There are two coal burning plants in the Northwest, and both are scheduled for closing over the next ten years.” That’s John Harrison, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council information officer. […]

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Stop Watering Your Lawn

Interested in an easy way to use less water this summer? Stop watering your lawn. Nationally, landscape irrigation makes up about 30% of household water use. Not watering will allow more water to be left in-stream, which can help Hood River crops, fish, and other aquatic species through this drought. During this low water year, every drop counts. […]

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Presenting Development

Development. It’s where we live, what we use daily, how we attempt to impose control over the uncontrollable, and visible in the change we’ve seen in the region. […]

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Conserving the Dream

How long can Pacific Northwest energy production stay ahead of consumption?

What if two million more people lived here? […]

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The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth

Sometimes it feels like acceptance and dispersal of renewable energy technologies has taken a lifetime. Because it has. In the hippie-flavored 1970s, thousands of people tinkered with hundreds of potential technologies like this umbrella-powered truck. From the confusion emerged a very few that could be scaled up enough to make a dent in the fossil fuel juggernaut […]

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Clearing the Air: The Power of Methane

Everything about Threemile Canyon Farms is supersize. It covers 40,000 acres near Boardman, Oregon; raises 25,000 dairy cows which produce 130,000 gallons of milk—every day; grows 230,000 tons of potatoes a year; and 8,000 acres of organically certified vegetables. It may be the only gated farm in the Northwest and one that has a security guard station at every gate. […]

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The Wild West of Waste Vegetable Oil

Our car is jerked by the wind as we drive highway I-84 toward Goldendale, Washington. Awaiting us there is Dave Johnson, who’s created a custom waste-oil-fuel-tank for my husband’s Mercedes 190 Diesel sedan. While we talk of which local restaurants may have spare waste oil for the new tank, I watch The Dalles Dam to our left. Water gushes through the gates churning out power. […]

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Use a Reusable

Ditch the paper cup with Envirogorge’s Re-Fill Challenge. Stopping at the coffee shop to get your morning fix, think before you grab that disposable cup. We are challenging you to Use A Reusable. You can have your take away without the throw away. For the month of June, instead of using a paper cup and all its accouterments borrow a house mug or bring your own!  […]

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Columbia River Restoration Act

“The Columbia River has served the people of the Pacific Northwest for eons as a source of food, energy, and a major highway for commerce,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “Dedicating funds to cleaning up the river is critical to ensuring that it is protected from pollution that harms the people and ecosystem that depend on it. It is past time to provide this support for the Columbia River Basin.” […]

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Nature Space Award: Whitson’s Schoolyard Habitat Program

Whitson Elementary’s Schoolyard Habitat program in partnership with Columbia River Gorge National Fish Hatchery (NFH), and Yakama Nation Fisheries (YNF) received Envirogorge’s Nature Space Award on May 14 2015. […]

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Giant Trees of Lost Creek

Article and photographs submitted by Daryl Lloyd.

Hidden in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Willard, WA you’ll find a stand of giant Western Red Cedars. […]

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Anaerobic Digestion: Let’s Ruminate on It

When you visit a dairy community there is one smell in the air: thousands of pounds of poop. It’s a mind-boggling amount of manure, far too much to throw into a compost bin. Because of this overwhelming quantity of dung, dairy farms face the same problem faced by all human communities: what to do with waste. […]

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Honey By The People

Cait Ride’s passion for gardening and love for good food found an outlet in beekeeping. After being introduced to beekeeping while working at a farm in South Carolina, Cait was hooked, and she wants to share her passion through her new project Honey By The People, a community focused beekeeping venture. […]

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Bandel-Ramirez Family wins Nature Space Award

The Bandel-Ramirez family wins the first 2015 Envirogorge Nature Space Award. The family, parents David and Elena and children Maisie and Lolo, won for converting a lawn into an urban garden. It’s shared space. There’s Dano and Truman, two giant (but gentle) dogs;  three chickens, a couple of baby chicks, and a rabbit that would just as soon be left alone. […]

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The Grid You Thought You Knew

It’s the reassuring hum of the refrigerator late at night, the random tumble of laundry in the dryer. It pushes the second hand and the turbine. We call it “power” for good reason, because without it we’d be choppingand pumping and flicking the whip at beasts of burden […]

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Exploring Energy – A Focus on the Gorge

Tim and Keeley Jefferies say they live $90,000 from the grid. Meaning it would cost that much to bring power lines the two and a half miles to their ranch above the Deschutes River. They power their house in the prairie with solar panels, being very mindful of how much they use.  […]

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What is Chugging Through the Gorge?

 

Between 52-72 trains pass through the Gorge every day, all except two carrying freight. These mile-long trains of 90-120 cars transport a range of products from oil, to consumer goods, and rail companies have little say over their cargo. […]

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Imports, Exports, and Huckleberries

In. Out. Movement. That is transportation. Moving the Gorge’s natural resources—lumber, fish, water—affects who gets it and the impacts of the transport. This movement of goods is how we wrap up our Transportation focus. Des Campbell looks at one: huckleberries in the national forests. SEH & EKK […]

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Impervious. Part III. The Rules, The Actions

What Are the Rules?

Rivers and lakes suffer many insults from human activities, but the Clean Water Act sets limits on how much sediment and chemicals they can receive. […]

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Birding Season

From the four-foot tall Sandhill Cranes to the five inch MacGillivray’s Warblers, the migratory birds are returning to the Columbia Gorge this spring. Come join wildlife biologists and amateur birders on guided walks and hikes. Here are a few…. […]

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Impervious, Part II

The Ten Percent.
Scientists and planners say: if ten percent of the surface area of a watershed is impermeable, its stream channels are destabilized and fish habitat degrades. The number of fish species as well as the abundance of their eggs and larvae declines sharply at this level. […]

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Impervious

This is Part 1 of Impervious, an Envirogorge series on transportation. Writer Valerie Brown explores what it takes to create ease of movement in the Columbia River Gorge. SEH & EKK

You’re on a home improvement kick. You pour a new concrete driveway, put on a new roof black asphalt shingles, clean your rain gutters making sure the downspouts feed into the stormwater drains […]

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Challenge yourself to win

Only 17 days for a chance to win lunch for two at Blue Elephant Indian food cart! Test your knowledge. What moves through the Gorge? Take the Transportation Quiz.

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Transportation Quiz

Lot’s of things pass through The Gorge every day.  See if you can guess how many.  We will hold a drawing of top scorers, the winner will receive a gift certificate for lunch for two from the Blue […]

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Mary Lou Soscia and the Columbia River

The Columbia River is a highway for salmon, steelhead, lamprey. The quality of it’s water is critical for them. One of the key players working on just that is Mary Lou Soscia. SEH

Remember that kid who was always talking in class?  Maybe it was you or maybe a friend or classmate. Extroverted and driven to connect with others—they keep talking. […]

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The Walk-Instead Challenge. Are you in?

Transportation: trains, cars, boats, bikes and of course walking–the object of a challenge we have for you this month. Till the end of January 2015, we’re challenging you to walk instead of driving to one […]

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Moving into the New Year

With the New Year we always think of change—what we’re going to do; where we’re going to go. Our theme this first quarter of 2015 is transportation. We’re going to focus on things that move […]

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Gifts, gifts, gifts

Check out our list of enviro-gift ideas. Last year we visited Gorge retailers for ideas. Those items from paper pads to cars are still sold. If you live outside the Gorge, see if the store […]

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Quercus garryana: East Meets West in the Columbia River Gorge

Tradition has it that east and west can never meet. Turns out that’s not true. In the Columbia River Gorge east and west meet in a fascinating blend of ecological features, and there is one […]

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Methane Digestion: A Use for all that Poop

Growing up in Lynden, Washington, ensured that I spent most of my childhood nearly immune to the smell of dairy farms. Cow manure permeated the air throughout the entire town; anyone who couldn’t develop a […]

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Old Growth Growing, an essay by Bonnie New

I meandered recently in a shady old growth forest of the Olympic peninsula and felt the awe of the BIG – the extent of forest, the size of the trees, the arc of time and […]

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Gorge Wilderness Areas: Mount Hood Wilderness

Every wilderness has a story.

This story is told from many perspectives: those of the rocks and their movement within the earth, of trees’ rebirth and growth, animals, human use, and ancient legends.

Native legend tells of […]

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Farmers Fish Screens

The idea of fish screens seemed simple enough. Fish and debris get into man-made diversions on waterways (like canals and irrigation ditches), ruining the water for hydroelectric generators, drinking water, irrigation, and any number of […]

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Nature Space Award: Oak Street Apartments

The vegetable and flower garden at the corner of Oak and 6th Streets is a big part of what makes downtown Hood River so appealing to visitors and residents.

C. J. Wertgen owns Oak Street Apartments […]

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Rosauers’ solar power 3 years in

Owning a business is expensive and energy is often a big part of the cost of doing business.

Three years after installing solar panels on the roof of their Hood River, Oregon store, Rosauers Supermarket is […]

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Rowena Fire

Photos by Jurgen Hess.
Aug. 8. At 9:30 a.m.  Gov. John Kitzhaber flew in and was briefed by Rowena Fire incident commanders.  The fire started Tuesday night and has grown to 3,372 acres. Gov. Kitzhaber […]

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Nature Space Award: White Salmon Community Partners

A narrow garden extends several blocks along Jewett Street separating the shops, restaurants and offices from the street. Julia DeArmond nominated downtown White Salmon, Washington urban street garden.

“I enjoy the planting strips for the feeling […]

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Recycling batteries

If you’ve ever tried to include dead alkaline (or other) batteries in your curbside recycling bin, and had them left behind by the collection crew, you probably share a common frustration.

You think: These things include […]

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Nature Spaces awards: 2014

Every year in the house’s tiny front yard  a profusion of plants and flowers grow. It’s an old-fashion garden. It would be lovely anywhere, but it stands out here because it sits in the middle […]

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The Gorge Wilderness Areas: The Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness

The Columbia River Gorge is home to some of the most diverse and dynamic natural landscapes in the nation.

In it are  basalt cliffs,  grasslands at its east end,  temperate rain forests west,and holds a host […]

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Get your float on with earth friendly gear

When it comes to the environmental impacts – and benefits – of paddle sports products, John Hart has jumped into the river and bobbed downstream with some of the most innovative manufacturers in the industry.

Owner […]

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Wilderness Act. The 50th Anniversary

In 1964, the Wilderness Act was signed into law, creating one of America’s greatest conservation achievements and paving the way to provide 109 million acres of unspoiled lands for future generations.

While the word ‘wilderness’ may […]

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Green chemistry initiative: a slow build

What if fuel had so few pollutants that cleanup and recovery of a spill never made the news? What if waste water was so clean it took minimal processing to become drinkable? What if pesticides […]

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The Gorge Big Year

Miko Ruhlen and husband Zed own Hood River Hobbies. But Miko is also a wildlife biologist (an ornithologist in fact) who leads birding walks in the Gorge. One of the 2014 events will be to […]

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Bald eagles at Waucoma Park

In mid-January, two Bald Eagles flew over Waucoma Park and landed atop firs at the edge of the park. They perched for some time then soared off (slide show below). Waucoma Park is a small […]

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Mt. Adams views

Why we love Mt. Adams.

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Learn about financing home energy upgrades

This time of year heating bills carve into most people’s budgets.  Gorge Owned and Clean Energy Works think they can help some of us lower those energy costs. The two non-profits are hosting an informational […]

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Yesterday & Today: enviro-gifts

Mark Thomas took a life-long interest in music and started Yesterday & Today in downtown The Dalles 24 years ago. The store sells both new and used LP’s, CD’s, and DVD’s. He is a huge […]

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Cannon Packer: enviro-gifts

Step into Cannon Packer and it’s as though you’ve wandered into Portland’s Pearl District. This gift shop on the east side of The Dalles holds surprises in every nook.

Two Epicurian cutting boards–one a soft red […]

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Tum-A-Lum Lumber: enviro-gifts

A perfect gift for someone might be a gallon or more of environmentally responsible paint.  Tum-A-Lum Lumber Co. carries two brands that fit the bill.

Acro Pure paints made by Miller Paint Co. contain no volatile […]

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Oak Street Hotel: enviro-gift

Take an enviro-vacation by staying in one of the many Gorge hotels and B&B’s.  We’re featuring Oak Street Hotel & Vacation Homes in downtown Hood River.

“When you vacation in your own town,”  owner Denise McCravey […]

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Bloomsbury: enviro-gifts

It seems a perfect fit that Bonnie Heemeier owner of Bloomsbury  would create a terrarium ornament.

Her store in downtown Stevenson is filled with flowers, plants and beautiful items from and for the garden and for […]

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Kayak Shed: enviro-gifts

Kayak Shed (Hood River) owner John Hart seeks products that make being on water fun and that are enviro-friendly, like:

NRS wetsuits, hoods, pants made of Terraprene use limestone rather than petroleum/neoprene. For the kayaker, Terraprene’s structure […]

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G. Williker’s Toy Shoppe: envirogifts

Jennifer Hutchinson, G. Williker’s Toy Shoppe in downtown Hood River, has some ways you can make the holidays bright for your favorite kids and be green.

She stocks a selection of playthings made by Green Toys. […]

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Griffith Motors: enviro-gift

The color is Nautical Blue. It sits in Griffith Motors show room–aToyota Prius.

The Prius is one of several hybrid cars designed to reduce the amount of fossil fuels by-products entering the atmosphere. The less fuel […]

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Waucoma Bookstore: enviro-gifts

Our favorite bookstores (by that we mean independent bookstores) now carry gifts along with books. In downtown Hood River, Waucoma Bookstore owners Muir and Jenny Cohen carry a wide variety of earth-friendly products.

Two companies created […]

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Apple Green: enviro-gifts

Walk into Apple Green House & Garden and you enter a bright, open space filled with  things that make a garden or kitchen a place to linger.

Owner Dani Correa picked Endurance Stainless Steel Compost Pails […]

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Springhouse Cellar: enviro-gifts

You’ll get two enviro-gifts in one when you buy a  1 liter growler from Springhouse Cellar (Hood River) and fill it with their handcrafted wines.

What’s a growler? A re-useable wine bottle. Environmentally friendly? Here are […]

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Farm Stand: enviro gifts

Rob Wright and Dug Aronson are co-owers of the Farm Stand in the Heights area of Hood River.

Want a great hostess gift for holiday gatherings?

Try Lou Gehrig’s baguettes. Lou makes (and bakes) his breads in […]

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Trellis’s enviro-gifts

Trellis owner Lesli Lampe had to think when we asked her about enviro-friendly gifts, but within minutes she filled the front counter with items from around the store–a cheerful place in downtown White Salmon.

For the […]

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Gorge Dog: enviro-gifts

Lisa Wiltsie, owner of Gorge Dog, stocks some eco-friendly gifts for the pet lovers on your holiday list. Pet beds  in various sizes and colors are made from recycled plastic bottles that have been made […]

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Holiday enviro-gifts

Looking for local environmental gifts? Throughout December I’ll post some of my finds. Starting with: Hood River Stationers. Owner Sue Hull stocks 100% recycled/post consumer notepads and copy paper–and it’s great quality paper.

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$200k away from adding Pine Flats Track

The Mt. Adams Resource Stewards began to raise funds earlier this year for the purchase an invaluable 280 acre parcel called the Pine Flats Track. Since then, the organization has raised $600,000 towards their goal.

“We […]

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New contributing writer, Kelsey Alsheimer

Starting this month, Kelsey Alsheimer will be writing articles for envirogorge. We think you’ll enjoy getting to know her. Kelsey was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska where she spent her childhood enjoying fishing trips […]

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News notes

Ann Marie Jelderks found a company that turns what seems to be throw-away packaging into new products. She set up collection sties in places like Down Manor, Providence Hood River Hospital, Get Fit Stay Fit […]

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Animation: Oceans

Amazing as always, animator John Haugse produced this video: caring for our oceans for the Environmental Defense Center. Enjoy.

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Scott Sadil complete Columbia River voyage

Author Scott Sadil arrived Sunday, July 28, at Hell’s Gate State Park, five miles upstream from Lewiston, Idaho, completing a 471-mile voyage up the Columbia and Snake rivers in Tia, his home-built Swampscott dory. Sadil […]

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Mt. Adams hikes Aug. 10

Friends of Mt. Adams will be leading three easy all-day hikes on the mountain Aug. 10. This is prime time to see the wildflowers and waterfalls. Pre-registration is required: email hess@gorge.net Questions: 541-645-0720. Complete information at […]

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New District Ranger on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest selected Mosé Jones-Yellin as the incoming Mt. Adams District Ranger. Jones-Yellin is currently the Deputy District Ranger on the Sierra National Forest in California, but is no stranger to the […]

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Sadil on the river

Hood River author and teacher and avid fly fisherman Scott Sadil is sailing and rowing the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean to Lewiston, Idaho.

He hopes this 430 mile journey will to increase awareness of the health […]

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