OLYMPIA - Learn to dig clams, shuck oysters and appreciate the complex world of Washington's tideflats at the fifth annual Shellfish Shindig scheduled April 19 at Dosewallips State Park on Hood Canal.
Designed to celebrate shellfish and the marine outdoors, the free family event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a variety of demonstrations and activities planned throughout the day. Event times will be posted in the parking lot area north of the Dosewallips River, just south of Brinnon on U.S. Highway 101.
Guided beach walks, clam digging tips and oyster shucking demonstrations are just a few of the new events planned for this year's Shindig, co-sponsored by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington Wildlife Federation/Coalition.
WDFW is joining in the annual celebration as part of its new "Go Play Outside" Outdoor Recreation Partnerships Initiative, designed to sharing outdoor skills and conservation education with youth and families. As part of its contribution, WDFW purchased a special-use permit covering public parking fees for the day.
Scheduled events include one-hour beach walks at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., a Crime Observation Reporting Training session conducted by Eyes-In-The Woods from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a conservation program featuring live birds of prey sponsored by the Northwest Raptor Center at 7 p.m. in the park's amphitheater. There will also be sessions on boating and water safety, crab and shrimp harvesting and shellfish safety.
Clam gauges, oyster knives, a shellfish cookbook and clam-digging implements will be for sale at the site. Participants are advised to wear beach boots or heavy shoes, because the beach is rocky and sharp oyster shells can cause lacerations. Anyone planning to harvest shellfish at the Shindig should do the following:
- Call Department of Health's Biotoxin Hotline at (800) 562-5632 for an update on closed areas.
- Obtain a shellfish license, available in sporting goods stores, including nearby Brinnon, Quilcene and Hoodsport.
- Take care of the beach by filling in any holes dug while harvesting and by shucking oysters on the beach and leaving the shells where they were found.