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Volunteers aid lactating elk in High Cascades

PROSPECT — Two-dozen members of the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association spent Saturday erecting a relatively harmless yet powerful line of defense in the woods to help Roosevelt elk in the woods near here.

The volunteers strung about a mile of wire fence around a precious highland wetland called Crawford Meadow, a haven for lactating cow elk during the driest of times atop the High Cascades.

The seasonal fence, which will be removed in the fall, helps keep cattle grazing in this Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest parcel from entering the spring-fed meadow.

"It's pretty sensitive and can get really trampled over," says Vince Oredson, a habitat biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The fence is strung so elk can easily jump it and take advantage of the lush grasses and forage, particularly during the dry weeks of mid and late August, Oredson says.

The meadow is a respite for lactating cow elk, who often struggle to find enough high-quality forage while milking their calves, Oredson says.

"Cow elk really need that green, nutritious forage in late summer," Oredson says.

Volunteers from the Medford-based chapter also felled a few conifer trees encroaching on the meadow, according to chapter member Patti Kaiser.

The meadow, which spans about 200 acres, is off Forest Service Road No. 60 near Huckleberry Campground.

Rogue Valley residents looking to put a little bang in their coastal Fourth of July celebrations just had a little water thrown over them.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department reminds beachgoers that all fireworks, including sparklers, are banned in state parks and on Oregon's ocean beaches year-round — including this weekend's holiday.

The ban is in place to curb fireworks-related injuries and fires in beach grasses susceptible to quick burns, parks officials say.

Coast visitors will find notices about the ban posted this week at major beach-access points. Only fireworks managed as part of Fourth of July community events with pre-approved permits are allowed.

For a list of major community fireworks displays, visit www.traveloregon.com.

An Applegate Valley man is one of three Oregonians to receive special volunteer awards from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Bob Ettner of Williams earned the department's Dave Liscia Award for his service as a board member and technical specialist on the Williams Creek Watershed Council.

Ettner has worked extensively with ODFW biologists on a fish trap on Williams Creek. It since has become a showpiece to area residents about how valuable the creek is as a fish-producer.

Joining Ettner in the awards are Bob May of Warrenton and Derward (Woody) Merrill of Lake County.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission each June presents the award in honor of Dave Liscia, a former ODFW employee and volunteer coordinator killed in a car accident in 2002 while returning home from the agency's Clackamas office.

Burn alters July elk-viewing hours at Dean Creek

REEDSPORT — Visitors to a popular Roosevelt elk-viewing area off Highway 38 east of Reedsport will see some temporary closures into early July during a controlled burn meant to improve elk habitat.

The Bureau of Land Management is burning more than 120 acres within the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area to improve elk forage and habitat, according to the BLM.

The effort is part of a continuing program by the BLM to improve grazing conditions so the wild elk herd will continue to use the area, which is a popular wildlife-viewing location.

The viewing area and bathrooms might be closed temporarily during portions of the burn to protect visitors, according to the BLM. Smoke from the burn also may cause traffic delays, depending upon the direction and intensity of winds.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.