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The 2013-14 recreational coastal razor clam season was one of the best in more than three decades, and the outlook looks bright in the near future.

“The harvest totals surpass anything we’ve seen since 1982, and those were pre-tribal sharing days when the season was open nine months out of the year,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.

The season coastwide estimate total from Sept. 19 to June 1 was 451,046 diggers with more than 6.2 million clams harvested.

At Long Beach the season total was 181,240 diggers with more than 2.3 million clams for an average of 12.7 clams per digger (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit); at Twin Harbors, 119,872 with more than 1.6 million for 13.8; at Copalis, 75,198 with more than 1.05 million for 14.0; and Mocrocks, 74,736 with more than 1.02 million for 13.5.

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In the 2012-13 season a total of 420,000 digger trips were made with 6.1 million clams dug for an average of 14.5 per person.

For comparison, in 2011-12 a total of 194,976 digger trips produced 2.5 million clams for 13.2 per digger average; and in 2010-11, a total of 244,500 produced 3.2 million for 13.1.

When the season wrapped up on June 1 the average size of clams was a plump 4.9 inches at Long Beach; 5.0 at Twin Harbors and Copalis; and 4.8 at Mocrocks.

“Some of the clams were pushing 6 inches, and they were just some big fat healthy-looking clams,” Ayres said.

State Fish and Wildlife shellfish managers have already started their summer assessment work, which began in early June.

“Now we wipe the blackboard clean, and (start to) collect new numbers and data for the next season,” Ayres said. “I can’t wait to see the results. We’ll see what we’ve got available once we finish our assessments.

“Just by looking at the first best low tide series in the fall, it appears the best ones will not occur until the second week of October.”

New lift coming to Summit East

Work on the new fixed-grip quad Rampart chairlift began last month at The Summit at Snoqualmie, and is part of a major facelift at the four ski areas located less than an hour from Seattle.

“This will be the fourth lift installed in the last six years, and we’ve been doing something to improve the hillsides every year with hopefully more to come,” said Guy Lawrence, the marketing director at The Summit at Snoqualmie.

The new easy conveyor loading system lift built and installed by SkyTrac Inc., based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is part of about $3.5 million in improvements for the upcoming winter season at The Summit at Snoqualmie.

Summit East, formerly known as Hyak, was nearly wiped out in January 2009 when an avalanche took out homes and damaged a chairlift, but has always been one of the most diverse areas at Snoqualmie.

“Getting this lift in will definitely make that mountainside work a lot better, and will spread the load from the other lift (East Peak Chalirlift) as we’re starting to see some pretty decent crowds there,” Lawrence said.

The Rampart chairlift, located on the northern facing slope at Summit East, will boost uphill capacity substantially, and opens up a good amount of glade skiing in the area, plus several new runs will be cut into the hillside.

“It extenuates the accolades of what Summit East has to offer, which is a very family-friendly and diverse hillside so it’s no mystery why a lot of people go there,” he said.

This past winter The Summit at Snoqualmie opened the Silver Fir Lodge at the base of the Silver Fir high-speed quad chair, which is part of the recent improvements in the Silver Fir/Summit East zone.

“This (Rampart lift) is one of the last pieces as far as lifts go, although we’ve got more things coming up in the master plan,” Lawrence said.

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