As part of the Recreate Responsibly Coalition, we are able to share these updates with you to help guide you through your plans to get outside and enjoy the bounty of our public lands.
Please remember to follow the Recreate Responsibly 7 guidelines: Know Before You Go, Plan Ahead, Stay Close to Home, Practice Physical Distancing, Play it Safe, Leave No Trace and Build an Inclusive Outdoors.
National Park Service – www.nps.gov/state/wa/index.htm for updates. Nationally, they’ve updated their #RR Tips to include the new national guide: “Keep it Inclusive”. You can check them out here: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/recreate-responsibly.htm
- Mount Rainier: Check here for updates. There have been lots of Search & Rescue instances recently. Users are surprised and many were not prepared for 9-10 feet of snow. There are 3 ongoing right now, one fatality, and two missing for more than a week. We are pushing a message of needing to be prepared. The Recreate Responsibly at Mount Rainier video can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/covid-19-visitor-guide.htm
- North Cascades: Check here for updates. All seasonal areas are open. Campgrounds and backcountry are open as well as wilderness permit offices.
- Olympic: Check here for updates. Yesterday, Clallam County lifted a variance that prevented camping, so now frontcountry and backcountry campgrounds are open. Day-use trails/roads/recreation areas open, but visitors’ centers/entrance booths remain closed.
Forest Service – Currently, they are preparing for 4th. Almost all campgrounds open, with a couple of exceptions.
- If you have members looking for Forest Service passes: Some sites are not charging day use fees because not all usual services are available, but we haven’t been advertising that (prefer it be a happy surprise) due to heavy visitation and the fact that the status of sites is constantly in flux. We have a vendor pass search to assist people looking for a place to buy a pass while our offices are closed. Unfortunately, it’s still important to call ahead since not all vendors sell all versions of our passes: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=fsbdev2_027026
- Wildfires season is here. The Ad Council / Forest Service / National Association of Safe Foresters summer 2020 PSA campaign has assets that include responsible recreation messages ref physical distancing and know before you go, as well as fire prevention. There are some graphics and short web clips here: http://smokeybear.adcouncilkit.org/beoutdoorsafe/social/
- July 13 – July 19 is National Forest Week.
- Check this interactive map out for the latest.
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest: A couple of items from the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF:
- Increase in the number of abandoned campfires, especially in dispersed recreation areas. Remind folks to make sure their campfires are cold before leaving camp.
- Stiliko Lookout rentals are closed for the remainder of the summer; building repairs are occurring.
- People are leaving bags of pet waste alongside trails. Please remind people to dispose of these poo bags correctly. In Yakima County, travel is still restricted. They are seeing an influx of motorized users still coming in from other places which is violating the county’s restrictions.
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: Visit the forest website for the most updated information.
- State Parks: Roofed accommodations are open for new reservations today (July 1). They are restarting the camp host program slowly. There are no burn bans on beaches and therefore, there is concern about the park beaches for the 4th. On July 1, they restarted their volunteer program with groups of 5 or fewer. Primitive camping owned by State Parks is open along the Palouse to Cascades trail. Burn bans are starting in Central WA (level 3).
- Fish & Wildlife: The agency is doing furlough days for every Friday in July. They are still figuring out the 15% budget cuts. Regional offices/main officers/hatcheries are still closed to the public. They now have standard operating procedures and PPE available for volunteers so there is now a process for that. Fire danger in eastern WA is moderate to high and so they have eliminated target shooting, campfires, smoking etc. Look for a press release today.
- Dept. of Natural Resources: Clallam County campgrounds will be open for the holiday weekend. Teanaway Community Forest campground will continue to be closed. It is still under construction. Furloughs have happened for the agency in July. They are close to getting volunteers back online, but capacity constraints have made things difficult.
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.