Washington State Department of Transportation specialists out of the Methow Valley and Stevens Pass on their annual recon of the North Cascades Highway, Tuesday, March 5, found the accumulated winter at virtually all checkpoints (avalanche chutes and the passes) along the route less than last year by several feet of piled-up depth.
They conclude somewhat optimistically that their efforts to remove the snowpack burden from the right of way and get it reopened for spring traffic might take less time and perhaps, just perhaps, first-day eastbound motorists could be eating cinnamon buns (courtesy of Clark's Eatery at Marblemount) at Happy Flats before May Day.
The WSDOT public information office hastens to add that maintenance crews aren't making any predictions or guarantees for the opening day of 2013 fishing season (Saturday, April 27) just yet, so please don't ask. Snow removal is slated to begin, avalanche conditions willing, Monday, March 25.
SPRING RAZOR DIGS POSTED
With a four-day razor clam dig in the works next week to close out March, state shellfish managers have put on the calendar another 13 days of potential personal use gathering opportunity in the form of two April digs, one six, the other seven days in length.
These beach openings, on morning tides and contingent to the clams themselves clearing marine toxin checks, involve four of the five razor clam management sectors. Would-be April diggers are reminded that the purchase of new 2014 digging licenses is required as of the first of April.
For more details about the North Cascades Highway spring unburdening, spring razor clam digs plus additional fishing and hunting news, read Sunday's Outdoors Column.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoors.