Hiker Headlines: Digging Out, Peregrine Falcons, St. Helens Permits and Good News for Badger Mountain
It's Jan. 31. Federal land managers are trying to recover after losing 10 percent of their work year. A section of Cape Horn trail seasonal closure begins to protect nesting peregrine falcons. And some good news for love, fun and Tri-Cities hikers.
It's Jan. 31. Federal land managers are trying to recover after losing 10 percent of their work year. A section of Cape Horn trail will be closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Mount St. Helens climbing permits won't go on sale until March. Plus: Some good news for love, fun and Tri-Cities hikers.
Here’s some hiker news that you may have missed while out on trail this week.
Digging out: Literally and figuratively, federal employees are shoveling out after the government shutdown. Snow and work has piled up to alarming heights. Crews at Mount Rainier have been plowing roads and parking lots to make Paradise accessible again — at least five feet of snow and ice built up over the shutdown. Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is expected to resume normal operations this weekend.
Overall, things remain far from normal. Public lands agencies are scrambling to make up the loss of 10 percent of the working year. One of the key tasks they’re behind on is hiring vital workers for the spring and summer seasons. It’s a vivid reminder that public land agencies are chronically underfunded and understaffed — and this loss of time only made things worse.
A plan for the Teanaway: In December, a recreation plan for the Teanaway Community Forest was completed. The plan is a supplement to the larger Teanaway Community Forest Management Plan. Now, the Teanaway is beginning the 15-year implementation phase guided by the plan. A big thank you to the WTA community for submitting more than 200 comments in support of the final plan! Your input helped make this all possible.
Dams in Alpine Lakes: The dam on Eightmile Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is back in the news this week on the front page of the Seattle Times. We've been closely tracking and working on this project. Sign up for our Trail Action Network to stay up to date and get alerts on this and other important projects.
Want to climb Mount St. Helens? Be patient. Permits usually go on sale Feb. 1. But due to the government shutdown, permits likely won't go on sale until mid-March.
A 4,000-mile vision: The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has big plans. The group announced that it is committed to making a trail that stretches all the way from Washington, D.C., to Washington state — where the route would use the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail.
Respecting rare raptors: Starting Friday, the lower section of the Cape Horn Trail on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge will be closed for nesting peregrine falcons. Each year, the trail closes from Feb. 1 through July 15. Peregrines, which have bragging rights for being the fastest animal in the world, often nest on cliffs and are very sensitive to humans being near their nests. The Cape Horn area is essential for breeding falcons — and the area is closed annually to give them the best chance for success.
Ranger-guided snowshoe trips: With the government working again, ranger-guided snowshoes with the Forest Service are filling up fast. If you’d like to get out on a trip, schedule one now. Or check out our tips for getting out in the winter.
Good news for Tri-Cities hikers: A donation to Friends of Badger Mountain will help to expand a network of trails on Little Badger Mountain. The group will be able to acquire more land, which will allow for additional trails in the popular hiking area.
Good news for love: The tiny and much loved post office in Bridal Veil in the Columbia Gorge will soon be open for business again. The building was vandalized on Christmas Eve. After repairs, the tiny structure will be ready to accept mail again on Monday. It’s a popular spot for engaged couple to send out wedding invitations, so that they have the postage mark of “Bridal Veil.”