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Marine deputies offer free boat checks

Jackson County Sheriff's Office marine deputies over the next two Saturdays will hold their annual dry-dock inspections to give boaters the chance to have their powerboats and driftboats checked for the requisite safety gear.

The free inspections will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7 and again May 14 at the Jackson County Marine headquarters, 620 Antelope Road, White City.

The inspections give fishing guides and other boaters a chance to have their crafts’ safety features verified with the boat on the trailer instead of during an inspection by police on a river or lake this summer.

Those whose boats pass inspections will get a red 2022 examination sticker, which shows law enforcement officers the boat passed and allows boaters to bypass an on-the-water safety inspection.

The dry-dock inspections typically draw from 300 to 500 boats.

Different safety requirements are in place for different-sized boats and motors. For details about exactly what safety equipment is needed for your boat, see www.oregon.gov/osmb/title-registration/Pages/Title-and-Registration-FAQs.aspx.

Sheriff's deputies generally conduct more than 4,000 boat inspections annually.

Boaters whose crafts fail the dry-dock inspections are told what items they need, such as better life jackets or a new state registration. An encounter on the Rogue River or a local lake without the requisite gear could lead to a citation.

It is illegal in Oregon to launch a boat with any aquatic species on it. At the inspections, marine deputies will pass out literature about the inspection program and the dangers of invasives.

Veterans’ trout derby set

The Middle Rogue Steelheaders will hold their 11th annual trout derby May 21 to honor veterans on Armed Forces Day.

All veterans need to take part is a fishing license as well as sun protection and snacks for the day’s fishing. Boats and gear will be provided by club members.

Participants will meet at 7 a.m. at Day Use Area C at Stewart State Park at Lost Creek Lake, where parking costs $5.

Club members will clean participants’ fish, which will be measured for awards for the largest trout as well as the youngest and oldest participants.

Fishing will be followed by a free barbecue at 2 p.m.

Preregistration is required. Call or email Cole Tidwell at 541-531-7219 or Pozo02@msn.com, or Greg Clark at 801-698-5773 or clarkegw@comcast.net.

Signs of spring at the Table Rocks

The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management are continuing a program that started last year to provide an opportunity for hikers to connect with nature in a different way at the Table Rocks.

Signs of Spring @ the Table Rocks plays off the traditional guided hikes that TNC and BLM held each spring before the pandemic derailed the popular program. Signs posted along the trails on Upper and Lower Table Rocks offer a self-guided discovery of the unique aspects of the flora, fauna and physical and cultural characteristics of these iconic landforms.

“This year’s signs are a collaborative effort not only between TNC and BLM, but also with a local organization, Pollinator Project Rogue Valley, as part of its Pollinator Anthology project,” said Molly Allen, environmental education specialist for BLM, in a press release. “We also involved Shady Cove Elementary fourth- and fifth-grade classes who study the Table Rocks as part of their curriculum. They created some wonderfully imaginative signs that are posted on the Upper Table Rock trail as part of their research project.”

Signs will be posted along both Upper and Lower Table Rock and will display a variety of original poetry and artwork by members of the community. Signs will rotate during May and June.

Hikers should check out the bulletin board at the trailheads for information about the signs.

Reach outdoors columnist Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or email him at mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com.