The snow is melting fast. As of Thursday, April 28, the Snotel site at Schneider Meadows north of Halfway (5,400 feet elevation) reported 15.8" of snow/water equivalent in a 32" snowpack, while last week it still measured 22.9" of snow/water equivalent in a 44" snowpack. Last week's heavy rains brought the accumulated precipitation since October 1 to 40" from last week's 38.3".
Check the recent weather and snowpack reports from Schneider Meadows SnoTel site and the Sparta Butte RAWS site for updates. More information is also available from the Wallowa Avalanche Center. The WWNF also has snowmobile trail maps and condition reports available on their website.
Permits are required to park in a Sno-Park between November 1 and April 30. There are three types of permits available: a $25 seasonal permit; a $9 permit good for three consecutive days, and a $4 daily permit. Oregon Sno-Park permits are also valid in California and Idaho.
Permits are sold at all DMV offices, permit agents at winter resorts, sporting goods stores, and other retail outlets. They may also be obtained by mail by sending a written request with a return address, phone number, and check or money order to DMV, Vehicle Mail No. 1, 1905 Lana Avenue, Salem, OR 97314.
A list of permit agents is available under the "Travel Center" menu at the TripCheck website.
If you are going to spend time on the water, the Baker County Sheriff's Office would like to remind boat operators and passengers to pack extra supplies and be prepared for water-related outings. Weather can change drastically in a matter of hours, and water rescues are especially dangerous at night due to decreased visibility and often high winds on the reservoir.
Be sure to make friends and family members aware of your plans, including departure times and specific travel routes or destinations. This will significantly decrease rescue time if something happens. Plan ahead, be prepared, and enjoy your boating activities.
Annual Audubon Bird Count
Tuesday, December 27
The second annual Christmas Bird Count for the Pine Valley/Panhandle circle is scheduled for Tuesday, December 27. The information gathered by local CBC participants will become part of the long-term data set for Audubon's 117th Christmas Bird Count.
All participants arrange with the local coordinator in advance, then will count as many birds and species as possible on the day within the 15-mile diameter area. Each participant then reports their findings to the local coordinator, who will submit them to Audubon.
If you would like to participate or would like more information, contact Margaret Durner at 541-742-4375 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snow Pack Information
As of May 23, the Schneider Meadows SnoTel site, elevation 5400 feet, is reporting a snow depth of 27" with a total precipitation accumulation of 53.4" since October 1.
Check the recent weather and snow pack reports from Schneider Meadows SnoTel site and the Sparta Butte RAWS site for updates. More information is also available from the Wallowa Avalanche Center. The WWNF also has snowmobile trail maps and condition reports available on their website.
Halfway Forest Service Office Hours
38470 Pinetown Lane 541-742-7511
The former Pine Ranger District Office in Halfway is open with an Information Receptionist available Monday through Friday from 7:45 to 4:30pm with a lunch break in the afternoon.
Wood tags, maps, Forest passes, and other permits may be purchased at the office, and general information about the area and current conditions is also available.
More information regarding fire danger may be found at the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch website.
Stay in luxury at the base of the Wallowa Mountains
Since 1985, Clear Creek Inn has made guests feel right at home in its five large bedrooms, each individually decorated in turn-of-the-century style and complete with its own bath. A complete family suite is also available for your vacation or destination event. The Inn features a large dining room, commercial kitchen, a sitting room, and a library for your leisure enjoyment. Relax on the wrap-around porch and enjoy the majestic view of Pine Valley in any season.
For recreation, we offer snowmobile rental, horseback riding, canoeing and much more.
The Inn is open all year 'round and available for private getaways or group vacations and events.
53945 Highway 86, Oxbow
"Just BE here..." Daily specials to enjoy after a day on the river, watch the big game with your friends in the bar, or take a drive down for their famous Mexican specialties on Thursdays or smoked prime rib on Fridays. Hours vary seasonally. 541-785-3383
Branch Library Hours
Tue 1 to 4pm
Thur 4 to 7pm
Fri 9am to noon
1 to 4pm
Sat 9am to noon
Mon 10am to 2pm
Tue 8am to noon
Fri 10am to 2pm
Sat 9am to noon
Toxic Algae Advisory
A health advisory has been issued for 15 river miles of Brownlee Reservoir on the Snake River from the Canyon Creek/Swede's Landing area to Idaho Power's Woodhead Park. People are urged to use caution when recreating in or near the water. High levels of toxin-producing cyanobacteria (toxic algae) can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.
During this time, the public is advised to avoid swimming, wading, or other activities, and ensure children and animals are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with river water. Boiling and filtering the water can actually increase the risk. Wash hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a toxic algae bloom. Thoroughly wash and clean any fish caught in contaminated water and dispose of any internal organs before consumption. Filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking. Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.
Symptoms of toxic algae exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, contact your healthcare provider.
Check the skating rink's Facebook page for
current conditions and updates.
Ice Skating Rink
The Ice Skating Rink in Halfway, co-sponsored by the Halfway Lions Club and the Pine Eagle Charter School, is located on the school tennis courts. There are skates available in all sizes, a warm hot-house in which to put them on, and lights for night skating thanks to Idaho Power.
Hours of operation vary depending on weather conditions and volunteer monitor schedules. To be informed of openings, leave your email address at this link. Times will also be posted on the UCP website, the community chalkboard in downtown Halfway, and the skating rink's Facebook page. Groups may also arrange special skating times by calling 541-742-2985.
There is no charge for use of the rink, which is located on the north side of the school campus.