February Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

February 26
Willamette River, Social Sec. Park to Salem – Class A+ – length 7 miles
Wide vistas largely define this trip, with a few interesting backwaters, and Rickreal Creek thrown in. We will stop for lunch, so bring ample provisions.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

March 2
Monthly Meeting – 6:30 p.m. – Boon’s Treasury – 888 Liberty St. N.E.
Spring paddling! (Need I say more?)
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Bills Seek to Put Fees on All Boaters 
At least two bills expected to come before the Oregon Legislature this year are aimed at imposing fees on all boats and boaters. One, HB 2320, is aimed at imposing registration fees on all non-motorized boats. The other, HB 2321, has the intent of expanding the Aquatic Invasive Species Permit program to boats under ten feet in length. Both bills are Oregon State Marine Board initiatives.

This is hardly the first time the board has attempted to impose registration on paddle craft. One significant difference this time around is the agency has made an attempt to identify ways in which it might serve the paddling public. Unfortunately, it is hardly clear that public was well represented in the process. The advisory committee formed by the board was heavy on members with commercial interests in paddlesport, and very light on private boaters. The interests of the two groups often intersect, but far less commonly are they in harmony. The result of this imbalance seems to have left the concerns and welfare of many, if not most private boaters in the margins.

The board has invested heavily in trying to remain relevant as motor craft use has declined. While their efforts appear to be in good faith, the approach these bills take is heavy handed and overly broad. For instance, rather than focus fees on facilities users, like a Sno-park permit, they seek facilities fees from every boater. The idea behind “pay-to-play” is paying for your own play, not someone else’s. And, of course, all of it runs contrary to the mandate given the State of Oregon upon statehood, by the federal government, to maintain our state’s waterways as “freely navigable”.

Of course, many predicted that the AISP fees would prove to be the camel’s nose in the tent. HB 2321 seems to confirm that view. While the statistics I’ve seen on the boat inspections suggest that non-motorized boats over 10′ comprise a fraction of 1 percent of the problem, such boaters pay for their permits at a rate 200 percent that of their fuel-burning peers. Now, with no apparent factual evidence to support the action, we see an attempt to force the smallest of boats into this inequitable arrangement.

While it makes sense for the Marine Board to realign its thinking with the new realities of 21st Century boating, the agency’s approach this time around relies on the same big-government thinking of the past. The benefits the agency can provide the paddling public are nuanced and limited. Any programs to serve that public need to reflect this fact. Instead, these two bills try to indiscriminately pull revenue from every boater, and offer little but vague justifications and with little specification as to how the money will benefit Oregonians. Indeed, parts of the proposals make it sound as if the board wishes to turn our waterways into fun parks, with the OSMB as gatekeeper and concessionaire.

Of course, you are welcome to come to your own conclusions about this legislation. If, though, you feel as I do, I would suggest you make your legislators aware of your position. Otherwise, you may soon be paying for someone else’s fun.

The text of HB 2320 can be found in this PDF: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2320/Introduced

HB 2321’s text is here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2321/Introduced

As the session proceeds, the status of the bills will change. To fully follow their progress, you can find the main tracking page, here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/citizen_engagement/Pages/Find-a-Bill.aspx

Festival of Sail Dates Set 
The festival brings historic sailing vessels to coastal ports, which includes Coos Bay, June 1-4: http://festofsail.com/

Minto Island Bridge Opening Delayed to April 
The bridge is now expected to open in April for foot and bicycle traffic, it will close again in summer for the removal of the construction support structures. The final completion of the project is expected in July. The Statesman has more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2017/01/19/minto-island-bridge-open-april/96722680/

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Experiments Implicate Roundup in Liver Disease 
Glyphosate-based herbicides, including the popular brand Roundup, appear to cause liver disease in low, environmentally-relevant concentrations. Nature published the study: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39328

Reuters Investigates the Drug-resistant Pathogen Crisis 
In this multi-part series, Reuters shines a light on a growing, though often hidden, medical crisis in America: http://www.reuters.com/investigates/section/usa-uncounted/

Rates of Dementia Found Higher Near Busy Roads 
A recent study in Canada suggests that proximity to major roads could be a complicating factor in dementia. The research indicates that the risk increases with proximity, and may be responsible for an 11 percent higher rate of dementia in those living closest to roads. The BBC explains: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38506735

Flashing Lights to Treat Alzheimer’s 
A study at MIT had promising results using blinking lights to treat mice induced to exhibit the symptoms of the disease. The Smithsonian has the details: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/could-flickering-lights-help-treat-alzheimers-180961762/

Possible Caffeine Benefit for Age-related Inflammation 
The Stanford University School of Medicine reports that caffeine appears to be of benefit in counteracting age-related inflammation: http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/01/caffeine-may-counter-age-related-inflammation-study-finds.html

 

 

Nature and the Environment

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Federal Land Transfer Proposal Sparks Access Concerns 
Efforts underway in congress to transfer federal lands to the states is leading to concerns on the part of outdoor enthusiasts over access to those lands. The Oregonian elaborates: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2017/01/proposal_to_transfer_federal_l.html#incart_river_index

Marine Preserves: Do They Work? 
Protected marine areas have grown worldwide, in recent years, with the U.S. leading the push. How effective the preserves have been at protecting species and habitat is, however, still a question. Unsurprisingly, given the spotty knowledge we have of marine ecosystems, the results appear to have been variable. The Smithsonian tackles the issue: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/momentum-grows-ocean-preserves-how-well-do-they-work-180961690/

Helping the Insects That Help Us 
Along with more photogenic species of plants and animals, insects are suffering from the environmental changes wrought by mankind. The Smithsonian has an article detailing steps home gardeners can take to boost beneficial insect populations: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/creating-insect-habitat-ripley-garden-180961898/

Meanwhile, in the Seychelles an experiment in removing invasive plants led to almost immediate results, with bees, butterflies and birds returning to restored areas within six months. The BBC has details: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38800967

 

January Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

January 22
Willamette River, Soc Sec Park to Salem – Class A+ – length 6 miles
A little shorter trip for these shorter days, but a good chance to get some fresh air and feel the water underneath your hull. Dress warm and bring backups and provisions.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

 

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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How Oregon Rivers Got Their Names 
The Oregonian ran an article about river names in the state, and it’s a bit of fun: http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2016/12/how_oregons_rivers_got_their_n.html#0

Kayaking and Canoeing Adventure Talk Jan. 18 
The Loucks Auditorium, at the Salem Library, will host a presentation in the Outdoor Adventure Series regarding the where and how of paddling in the Salem area. The event is scheduled from 7 to 8 pm. [Thanks to Stephanie Hazen for the heads up.]

Legislation Slated to Effect Paddlers 
As the legislature convenes, two bills with implications for paddlers will be waiting to be read. HB 2320 apparently implements a non-motorized boating program while HB 2321 addresses the aquatic invasive species program. Details won’t be public until the bills are read, after which their content may be found at the legislature’s bill tracking site: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/citizen_engagement/Pages/Find-a-Bill.aspx

OSMB Boating Facilities Planning Survey 
Toward formulating a new six-year facilities plan, the Oregon State Marine Board would like to solicit your thoughts on the matter. You can access the survey, here: http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/forms-library/Pages/Six-Year-Plan.aspx

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Gut Bacteria Fingered in Parkinson’s 
Researchers in California believe they have demonstrated causality between the gut’s microbiome and the development of Parkinson’s disease. While their experiments were on animals, some believe this may represent a turning point in understanding this devastating disease. The BBC reports: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38173287

Examining Vitamin Supplements 
The news regarding vitamin supplements has been pretty consistently negative in recent years. The BBC tries to put a little perspective on the whole brouhaha: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161208-why-vitamin-supplements-could-kill-you

 

Travel and Photography

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Nature Photography Award Winners 
The National Geographic 2016 Nature Photographer of the Year awards were nicely covered in a BBC gallery: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-38288359

Earth From a Higher Perspective 
Meanwhile, over at the Smithsonian you can find a video of NASA’s best images, for the year, of Earth: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/check-out-nasas-favorite-earth-images-past-year-180961519/

And in a little more sobering view from above, Google Earth provides us with a time-lapse record of the last 32 years of development on the planet, via the Smithsonian: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/google-earths-new-tools-shows-32-years-changing-planet-180961251/

A Lovely Photo of the BWCA 
The legendary Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the site of a very pretty picture, capturing autumn foliage and canoeist, (with a poorly trimmed load in his/her craft): http://www.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/photo-of-the-day/2016-12-02/fall-treasures-in-the-wilderness/

 

Travel and Photography

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Nature’s Comedians 
The Smithsonian has small gallery featuring the winners of the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. They’re worth a chuckle: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/forget-natures-majesty-these-photos-show-wildlifes-goofy-side-180961063/

Wildlife Photographer of the Year – People’s Choice 
The BBC show us some of the finalists for the People’s Choice Award in the latest Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, now on display at the Natural History Museum in London. http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-38083691

Australia’s Lake Eyre From Above 
Though not exactly a paddling destination, the BBC’s photo gallery of Lake Eyre are quite striking: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-37857598

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Sweeteners Found to Block Weight Loss 
Testing on aspartame suggests that it interferes with a beneficial enzyme, intestinal alkaline phosphatase, necessary to a healthy metabolism, thereby preventing weight loss. Deutsche Welle has the story: http://www.dw.com/en/sugar-free-products-stop-us-getting-slimmer/a-36504096

Gut Microbiome Altered in Dieting 
Researchers in Israel have found evidence that the phenomenon of yo-yo dieting, quick weight loss followed by rapid weight gain, is down to intestinal flora. The researchers found that changes that occur during intense dieting change the intestinal microbiome to make it much easier to regain the weight lost, in the diet’s aftermath. (It might be noted, earlier studies implicate artificial sweeteners in changing the gut microbiome, as well.) The Sydney Morning Herald reports: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/nutrition/scientists-say-gut-microbes-may-play-role-in-yoyo-dieting-obesity-20161127-gsyswk.html

Common Substance Found to Extend Life 
A well-known biological chemical, spermidine, just got a lot more interesting. Known as an essential chemical for living tissues. It had been shown to have life-extending effects on invertebrates, but only now has it come to light, the same effect can be enjoyed by mammals. The implications may well be significant for humans. Ars Technica reports: http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/mouse-lifespan-heart-health-extended-by-common-chemical/