Avalanche center offers clinics this weekend

    The U.S. Forest Service's Mount Shasta Avalanche Center is offering another round of free clinics in Mount Shasta, Calif., on avalanche awareness and how to operate transceivers and beacons used to locate people buried in snow.

    The avalanche-awareness presentation will begin at 7 tonight at the Mount Shasta Ranger Station, 204 W. Alma St., and the transceiver clinic will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at Fifth Season, 300 Mt. Shasta Boulevard.

    Topics will include recognizing snow and weather factors that create avalanche conditions, identifying terrain most prone to snow slides, warning signs of pending avalanches and what to do if you or your group gets caught in an avalanche.

    Forest Service experts also will demonstrate how the beacons and transceivers work.

    At least some of the workshops will be outside, so plan for the weather.

    This is the 13th year of the avalanche center's operations at Mount Shasta, where visitors often head into avalanche country. The center typically begins issuing avalanche forecasts for Mount Shasta after Thanksgiving.

    Last winter was a big year for avalanches around the world, especially in North America, Europe and central Asia. The United States had its second-highest number of avalanche fatalities in the past 60 years.

    Almost all of the avalanche accidents in the United States involve snowmobilers, skiers, snowboarders or climbers, according to the center.

    To learn about the center, updated mountain weather and avalanche information, visit the center's website at www.shastaavalanche.org or call 530-926-9613 for recorded updates.

    The Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex has begun a new review of wildlife, habitat and public use of three of its Bandon Marsh areas and two other coastal refuges.

    The review kicks off creation of the complex's new Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Bandon Marsh, as well as the Nestucca Bay and Siletz Bay national wildlife refuges.

    The plan will have an expected shelf-life of 15 years and will guide refuge management decisions, as well as identify long-range goals, objectives and strategies for achieving them.

    Three public open house meetings will be held in communities along the Oregon Coast to explain this process and seek comments about concerns and opinions about refuge management of the habitat, as well as management of the wildlife and people there.

    The Bandon meeting will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at the Bandon Community Center, 1200 11th St.

    Other meetings are planned for Lincoln City and Pacific City.

    Written comments on the issues will be collected through Friday, Dec. 31.

    Comments can be mailed to Roy Lowe, Project Leader, Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 2127 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365.

    Comments can be faxed to 541-867-4551 or e-mailed to Oregoncoastccp@fws.gov.

    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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