Northwest Digest

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2007

Deer trapped on Kodiak Island mountains

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KODIAK - More than 100 deer are trapped by heavy snow on Kodiak Island mountains, unable to move down to the beaches to forage because of heavy snowdrifts.

Larry Van Daele, wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said Thursday he plans to continue monitoring the deer from a helicopter.

There are about 70 deer, mostly adults, on top of Old Womens Mountain and another 40 atop Pillar Mountain. A few hundred younger deer made the trip down the mountain and are on the beaches.

"The adults to this point do not look overly stressed, but if the cold and snow continue, there will be winter kill," Van Daele said.

The Sitka Blacktail deer would die from starvation, freezing and hypothermia, he said.

"They have been stranded up there from the last two or three heavy snows on ridge tops becoming wind-blown," Van Daele said.

The snow has become so deep the deer are unable to physically maneuver through 2 or 3 feet of snow, he said.

More than 50 percent of the island's deer population of about 75,000 was lost during the last hard weather in 1998-99. Van Daele said the population rebounded.

"It has doubled since then back to about 65,000 to 75,000. In the 1980s, there were about 150,000 deer on the island," he said.

"Winters are one thing that can wipe out a herd," Van Daele said.

John Selman, weather technician for the National Weather Service, said the cold snap is not expected to let up and snow flurries will continue through the weekend.

Borough imposes rabies quarantine in Barrow

BARROW - North Slope Borough officials have imposed a month-long rabies quarantine in Barrow.

The quarantine follows confirmation that a red fox shot by a borough police officer last month had rabies.

Borough Health Director Rosie Habeich said the quarantine will continue until Jan. 27.

Habeich said it could be extended if additional rabies cases emerge.

During the quarantine, all animals must be indoors or on a chain or leash outdoors.

Habeich said loose dogs may be killed during the quarantine.

The owners of any dog or cat leaving Barrow must have written permission from the borough veterinary clinic.

New recreation multi-passes available

HELENA, Mont. - New passes that cover entrance fees for federal recreational sites are now available.

The "America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass" combines the benefits of existing passes from five federal agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service.

The pass applies to federal recreational sites with entrance or standard amenity fees, and replaces the Golden Eagle and National Parks Pass, the BLM said in a news release. Access to most public lands will still be free.

The Golden Age and the Golden Access Passports will be replaced with the Interagency Senior and Interagency Access passes.

Existing passes remain valid until they expire or are lost.

Revenue from passes sold at federal recreation sites will benefit the selling agency, with no less than 80 percent of the revenue staying at the site where the pass is sold, the news release said.

The new interagency program features four types of passes:

• An $80 annual interagency pass for visitors to multiple federal sites. This pass offers unlimited coverage of entrance and standard amenity recreation fees for a year. It does not cover campground fees.

• A $10 lifetime pass for U.S. citizens age 62 and older.

• A free lifetime pass for citizens with permanent disabilities.

• A free annual pass for volunteers acquiring 500 hours of service on a cumulative basis.

The new passes are good at vehicle entry sites for all occupants in a single, noncommercial vehicle. At walk-up sites, the pass is good for the pass holder and three adults.

Passes are available at federal recreational sites, through the U.S. Geological Survey Web site at or by calling 1-888-275-8747.

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