Oregon Caves expansion expected to boost tourism

Oregon Caves expansion expected to boost tourism
FILE -- This Aug. 9, 2005 file photo shows Fran Mainella, then director of the National Park Service, looking at a feature of the Oregon Caves National Monument outside Cave Junction, Ore., highlighted with a flashlight by tour guide Chas Davis. (AP Photo by Jeff Barnard)

You won't see a different cave or a new chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument. But some are calling the expansion of the landmark, with legislation attached to a defense spending bill signed recently by President Obama, a monumental change.

Oregon's Horse Butte attracts winter mountain bikers

Oregon's Horse Butte attracts winter mountain bikers
In this Dec. 13, 2014 photo, Kent Benesch, of Bend, Ore., rides the Swamp Wells trail near Horse Butte east of Bend, Ore. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Joe Kline)

Thanks to drier areas east and north of Bend, mountain biking is a year-round pursuit in Central Oregon.

Tips for dog safety during the winter months

Tips for dog safety during the winter months
In this Dec. 18, 2012 photo, dogs run in the snow on Hyalite Canyon south of Bozeman, Mont. “If it is below zero, you might want to really think about being outside with your dog,” said Dr. Spencer Anderson of Baxter Creek Veterinary Clinic in Bozeman, Mont. (AP Photo/The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Ben Pierce)

On a recent cross-country ski trip in the Bridger Mountains, I noticed my dog was walking a little funny. It was a frigid day and close to a foot of snow had fallen the night before. Kato, who burst out of his kennel with his usual exuberance at the car park, was looking chilly on the trail.

Skiing bounces back; Idaho resorts upgrade

Skiing bounces back; Idaho resorts upgrade
FILE - In this photo taken on Dec. 17, 2010, Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho, makes snow in preparation for its opening day. Not long after the recession put the skids on skiing like an unwaxed board in heavy crud, Sun Valley, Brundage and Tamarack resorts are applying a fresh coat and hoping to slide into a smoother future.(AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Katherine Jones, file)

Not long after the recession put the skids on skiing like an unwaxed board in heavy crud, Sun Valley, Brundage and Tamarack resorts are applying a fresh coat and hoping to slide into a smoother future.

Oregon retriever earns Hall of Fame credentials

Oregon retriever earns Hall of Fame credentials
In this Nov. 11, 2014, Gem, a Labrador retriever, gets a work out at the Kenneth Denman Wildlife Area in Oregon. on November 11, 2014. Gem nailed the six series of three-bird retrieves to earn her third master nationals honor in five years. It not only earned Hall of Fame status, but the win will see the names of Gem and her owner Elaine Goodner engraved on the Women's Challenge trophy as three-time Masters champions. (AP Photo/The Medford Mail Tribune, Jamie Lusch)

Elaine Goodner stood nervously next to her aging Labrador retriever Gem in a Northern California field knowing the next few hours would determine their legacy.

Hot springs offer warm respite from winter

Hot springs offer warm respite from winter
This photo taken on Sept. 27, 2012, shows a rustic bathhouse at Bagby Hot Springs in the Mount Hood National Forest about 70 miles east of Salem, Ore. The hot springs in the Beaver State vary considerably. Some are wild outposts with naked hippies running around, others are pricy retreats and some are little known secrets. (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Danielle Peterson)

Geothermal activity creates pools of relaxing glory that are particularly welcome when the temperatures dip and the rain falls across the mountains.

Nez Perce Trail siting gets another look

Nez Perce Trail siting gets another look
In this July 26, 2014 photo, participants take part in the annual Chief Joseph Days Parade in Joseph, Ore. The Nez Perce Trail running from Wallowa Lake to 40 miles from the Canadian border in Montana commemorates the months-long flight for freedom of Chief Joseph and his people. This fall, the U.S. Forest Service invites public comment on the siting of the 1,700-mile trail. (AP Photo/The Observer, Katy Nesbitt)

The Nez Perce Trail running from Wallowa Lake to 40 miles from the Canadian border in Montana commemorates the months-long flight for freedom of Chief Joseph and his people. This fall, the U.S. Forest Service invites public comment on the siting of the 1,700-mile trail.

Oregon spotted frog to be protected as threatened

Oregon spotted frog to be protected as threatened
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servce shows an Oregon spotted frog, which was listed Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 as a threatened species. Once common across Oregon and Washington, the frog is only found in scattered and isolated wetlands amounting to 10 percent of its former range. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish its decision on Friday in the Federal Register. It takes effect 30 days later.

5 of Washington’s most beautiful waterfall hikes

5 of Washington’s most beautiful waterfall hikes
Cedar Falls. (Image Courtesy: Washington Trails Association. Photo by Bob and Barb)

So far, summer in Seattle has brought us lots of hot days and clear skies: The perfect recipe for hiking. Watching (or swimming in) a waterfall is one of the best ways to end a hike, especially when it’s sweltering. Here are five of Washington’s most beautiful waterfall hikes to enjoy this summer.

 

New photos show wandering wolf OR-7 has 3 pups

New photos show wandering wolf OR-7 has 3 pups
One of OR-7's pups in an image made July 12 by remote camera in Oregon's Cascade mountains

New photos show that Oregon's famous wandering wolf, OR-7, has at least three pups that he and a mate are raising in the Cascade Range of southern Oregon.

Studies: NW orcas among most contaminated marine mammals

Studies: NW orcas among most contaminated marine mammals »Play Video
A female resident orca whale breaches while swimming in Puget Sound.
Scientists studying southern resident killer whales for the past decade now know they are among the most contaminated marine mammals, with pollutants particularly high in the youngest whales, according to information released Wednesday.

Viewer photos: Vivid Pacific Northwest sunsets

Viewer photos: Vivid Pacific Northwest sunsets
Summer may have officially started June 21, but most of Western Washington has been enjoying gorgeous sunsets and sunny days. These viewer submitted photos were shared with us on Facebook, and truly capture some of the month's best sun-setting moments thus far. (Facebook.com/KOMONews)

New state park tries for old ranch feel

Visitors to Cottonwood Canyon State Park can learn about the history of early settlers by walking a storyboard fence line.

Latest federal plan for Columbia salmon challenged

Latest federal plan for Columbia salmon challenged
FILE -This June 3, 2011, file photo shows the Dalles Dam along the Columbia River, in The Dalles, Ore. Conservation groups and salmon advocates have challenged the Obama administration's latest plan for making Columbia Basin dams safe for salmon. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Conservation groups and salmon advocates have challenged the Obama administration's latest plan for making Columbia Basin dams safe for salmon.