Wild River Restoration Night! Hollywood Theatre May 13th…

29 04 2010

Local film provides first hand look at unique dam removal and restoration project in the Wind River watershed in the Columbia River Gorge – The Wild River Restoration Night.

On Thursday, May 13th Crag and Gifford Pinchot Task Force will host the Wild Rivers Movie Night at the Hollywood Theater.  The evening will feature the Portland Premiere of Trout on the Wind, a locally produced documentary about the removal of the Hemlock Dam from Trout Creek in Washington.  Trout Creek is a tributary of the Wind River in the Columbia River Gorge, and in the summer of 2009 salmon and steelhead made their way up the creek without the aid of a fish ladder for the first time in decades. The Forest Service worked with local organizations, contractors and citizens to joined forces to remove Hemlock dam and restore over 20 miles of prime habitat for Columbia River Steelhead.  This film provides a first hand look at how this successful restoration project was accomplished from start to finish.

Three additional selections from the Wild & Scenic Film Festival will be shown, including John Waller’s Ascending the Giants, the Good Life Parable: An MBA Meets a Fisherman and a short called SalmonsKin by Thomas Dunklin.

All proceeds from the showing will benefit the Crag Law Center and Gifford Pinchot Task Force. Crag is a public interest environmental law center that supports community efforts to protect and sustain the natural legacy of the Pacific Northwest.  Gifford Pinchot Task Force supports the biological diversity and communities of the Northwest through conservation and restoration of forests, rivers, fish, and wildlife.  The two organizations have worked together for many years on projects in Washington, played a role in the removal of Hemlock dam and restoration of Trout Creek.

May 13th, 2010, Doors 6:30 PM at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd – $7

Here Comes the Judge: Jury Duty!

28 04 2010

Today I sit in the jury room at the Multnomah County Circuit Court. I dread the thought of being picked to sit on some long trial! The judge came in, and a couple of lawyers, and they gave us their talk about civic duty and the justice system.

Citizens' lives in limbo...

Sounds like the ‘collective brain’ of a jury is a really good way to come to a decision. The speakers said that in some countries the “chief justices” said the jury system is inefficient. But no matter. Other countries are studying how we do things and they’re trying to duplicate what we do here.

One thing I don’t understand is the ‘random’ system for picking jurors. I’ve been sent jury duty notices three times since 2000. This time I got out of the first notice (December) but I have to come this time. I know it’s good for the judicial system, but it’s totally inconvenient. I’m trying to figure out the job scene and this just isn’t a good time for jury duty!

Passing time...all in this together!

So we sit. And sit. And sit. One group got called this morning, a small group.

Then before lunch, they made a big cut. They called about 30 people INCLUDING ME, and told everyone else to go home! Drat drat drat.

In the meantime, we sit. And sit. Some read. Some watch TV. Many sleep, and some play board games like scrabble. It’s fairly quiet in the jury room – so I can actually get some work done!

Alder Creek Paddle Festival 2010!

28 04 2010

Demos line the beach at Vancouver Lake

This past weekend I volunteered to work at Alder Creek’s Paddle Festival. Every year Alder Creek kicks off the season with a late  April event – at this event novice and experienced paddlers alike can enjoy free demos of kayaks, paddles, gear and even get instruction all FREE. It’s held at Vancouver Lake, Washington.

I like working paddle events, so I volunteered about tw0 weeks before to help. Suzi Elle, one of the owners of the store, put me on as a coordinator for “First Strokes,” which is the class introducing people to paddling. I worked with Paul Kuthe in helping coordinate, and there were a number of instructors teaching groups of beginners all weekend long. Jerry, Annette and Josh were there all weekend introducing people to the wonderful activity we know as paddling. Saturday, we had both instruction and lots of paddling industry companies on the beach with demos to try.

Feelfree and P&H Kayaks on the beach.

So not only was I helping coordinate classes, but during lulls I went down to the beach to help people find a boat that fit them best. This was lots of fun. To the untrained eye, kayaks kind of look alike. But once sitting in the cockpit, people realized there are noticeable differences. I guided folks to boats most likely to fit

them. It’s lots of fun watching someone return to shore with two thumbs up!

The event got pretty packed about lunch time. I was told to go ahead and take lunch. But right before, in the midst of one of the busier moments, some guy asks me, “do you know if they have any Feelfree Kayak brochures?


My jaw almost hit the ground. I wrote the last Feelfree kayak brochure a couple of years ago. What was this guy talking about?

Well, at the other end of the beach, there was a Feelfree kayak flag flying from the Pyranha tent. Damn! I had to get down there. Jamie, the rep, said yep he was going around the country to events like this and the folks in Asheville had him bring all three brands. There were people on the beach trying Mokens, Moves, a Corona and a Gemini. I made a point to bring back a catalog next day.

For We Love Clean Rivers, and for myself, I was also networking. I spoke with Josh Hoopes, the rep from Confluence Watersports, and Cindi Sherrer, of Confluence (who used to own Alder Creek) as well as with Jim Miller of Werner Paddles and Carl of Kokatat. Looks like I can get dona

tions. Also it was nice that Cindy had read my article on the Clackamas River Cleanup in Sea Kayaker Magazine!

Most industry manufacturers left to do another demo day in Bend, OR for Sunday. Sunday’s activities centered less around demos and more around free instruction. I expected there’d be fewer folks. But it seemed even busier. By late morning we’d run out of paddles, pfds and we had more students than instructors. When an instructor came back after a lesson I had to just throw them at the next class! It was OK, as they seemed to take it all in stride.

There were other classes – wet exits, rescues, towing, paddling destinations, rolling and more. Weather had improved. Like Saturday I found myself down by the lake helping people find boats that might work for them. To me, it’s not work, it’s all about helping people have fun!

Later on, Neil Schulman paid a visit. He asked me if I’d like to try rolling the NDK Triton – a tandem. I’d never rolled a tandem so I figured, why the heck not! So I grabbed a dry suit and got ready. But unfortunately two girls had taken off with the Triton! And they stayed out in it the rest of the day. Fun foiled.

Time to clean up. Today’s activities were over. Kayaks, gear, tables and tents had to be removed. All hands on deck to haul the stuff out. This is where the hard stuff happens. I was told that because of my recovering shoulder, I didn’t need to worry about lifting boats. But I knew my right shoulder was OK – so I went ahead and moved a lot of boats. We were all working pretty hard! Then the boats had to be loaded onto trailers. Once the trailers left it was all about tearing down tents. We set about that task.

I think my paddle is backwards?

Well, it seemed like time for me to head home. Paul said I ought to see Suzi – she might have something for me. So I went over to say good bye. Yep she did have something! She took me over to one of the Alder Creek vans. She told me they had a meeting and decided to give the best volunteer the grand prize from the weekend raffle…and that volunteer was me! She gave me a really nice snap dragon touring spray skirt. That was really nice! I also earned more than a couple hundred bucks worth of store credits. All fun!

Nature’s Power in an Image

22 04 2010

WOW – This has got to be the photo of the month – Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull Volcano (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)!

Lewis River to Ridgefield Paddle April 2010

22 04 2010

The week before this paddle I noticed the forecast for Sunday was sunny! What better reason to schedule a paddle with Paddle NW, my Meetup group. The paddle from Paradise Point Park to Ridgefield is a nice transition from forested land and the East Fork of the Lewis River to the mighty Columbia River and then to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.

I scheduled the paddle and quickly had a group of 11 paddlers. The day broke bright and promised to be pretty. We met up by I-5 exit 14 Ridgefield, set some cars at the take out and others headed one exit north to east fork of the Lewis River at Paradise Point State Park. Well, most. A couple of paddlers got momentarily lost, but they made it back. That was really important for my day because one of them was carrying my boat!

Paddling on the Lewis

We did some pre-paddle fun warm up exercises, then went through the trip and safety talk. The Lewis was at a nice level. It was nice to see my paddling buddies back out there on the water! We also had Katie and Christian along, great to see them!

The East Fork Lewis joined with the main Lewis. As you paddle over the confluence the depth drops significantly.

Further on, there is a decripit old railroad bridge – which is totally in use today! At one time, it could swing open to allow traffic to pass.

Olde Tyme

Today, the gears are totally stuck. It ain’t going nowhere.

Christian at the rusty bucket bridge

Near the confluence of the Lewis and Columbia, we found a beach and lunched. Bald eagles soared overhead, and fishermen passed by. From there, we could easily see the peak (well, blown off) of Mount St. Helens, and if you paddled out into the middle of the Lewis River, Mount Adams, too.

Kayaks on the beach

Then we paddled up past Gee Creek and up the slough toward Ridgefield, viewing the wildlife refuge as we passed.

In all, it was a terrific day on the water. Can’t think of a better way to spend 2010’s warmest day so far!

Lunch on the beach!

Alder Creek kicks off paddling season with Paddle Festival 4/24-4/25

20 04 2010

The do-not-miss paddling event is this weekend! Alder Creek’s annual Paddle Festival starts Saturday and continues through Sunday!

Alder Creek Festival at Vancouver Lake

Whether you have never paddled or you’ve been doing it for years, in a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard, whitewater or flatwater, this event is for you. And it’s FREE. There will be representatives from the major paddling industry to answer your questions and give you a chance to try their products on the water. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the many clinics offered, from first strokes to rescues to expeditions.

Both days offer seminars. Saturday’s schedule is set out more on basics, and how to choose a boat, and Sunday more on the water seminars and learning. There will also be guided tours of Vancouver Lake. So head on over!

Location: Vancouver Lake, Vancouver, WA

For more information, visit the Alder Creek Website.

A sampling of companies represented:

Werner Paddles


Jackson Kayaks

Confluence Watersports (Dagger, Wavesport, Wilderness Systems, Perception, Mad River Canoe)

Current Designs


Valley Sea Kayaks

Pyranha Kayaks

Take advantage of this opportunity! Hope to see you out there.