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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

Category: state parks
April 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Free days at Mount Rainier, but still winter in Paradise

America’s national parks will be fee-free on April 19 and April 20, including Mount Rainier National Park. (Washington state parks are fee-free on April 19 and on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day) But don’t go rushing up to Paradise, the visitor area at  5,400 feet on Mount Rainier, expecting to take a hike or…

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0 Comments | More in national parks, state parks | Topics: fee-free days, lowland hikes, Mount Baker

March 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Happy birthday, state parks: Get in free Wednesday (or buy a pass and help save them)

Help celebrate the 101st birthday of Washington State Parks on Wednesday. Admission to all state parks is free for the day, a nice thing if you can’t afford a Discover Pass, usually required for entry. But here’s another idea. You know how fire departments have made the change to daylight saving time into a “replace the…

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0 Comments | Topics: Discover Pass, state parks anniversay, state parks budget

January 7, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Low snow stymies snowshoers, Sno-Park users and sledders — but there’s hope

Will the snow-play hill at Paradise open soon? Even Mount Rainier has less snow than usual this year. (archive photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, 2006)

Here’s what the snow-play hill at Paradise looks like in a normal year. So far this winter, low snow levels have prevented it from opening. But a snowy week could solve that. (photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, 2006)

While the Polar Vortex screws with the rest of the nation, the Pacific Northwest continues the Great Snow Slump of 2013-’14. And it’s not just downhill skiers and the owners of the Summit at Snoqualmie who are tearing their hair out from under the ear flaps of their winter hats. Snowshoers and cross-country skiers, too, are starting to feel picked on because of the lack of snow on many of Washington’s mountains.

For example, The Mountaineers club has been forced to cancel this Saturday’s Winter Trails Day event, an annual free demonstration and tryout of snowshoes at the club’s Snoqualmie Pass campus.

“We have barely any snow at all and we have forecasted rain at Snoqualmie for the coming week and we just don’t have anything to snowshoe on,” bemoaned Tess Wendel, a member services representative for the club. The snowshoe event is part of a national event aimed at encouraging winter recreation.

Likewise, the Washington State Parks Sno-Park program is

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0 Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, snow sports, state parks, State Route 410, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: low snow, paradise, Sno-Parks

October 23, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Celebrate stars, and the state’s big telescope, in Goldendale

Combine a fall-color drive over Satus Pass or up the Columbia River Gorge this weekend with a celebration of the night sky and the state observatory at Goldendale. Goldendale Observatory State Park celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, with a farewell to retired longtime interpretive specialist Stephen Stout and a welcome to Troy Carpenter, who took…

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0 Comments | Topics: astronomy, fall drives, Goldendale

September 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Free admission, and maybe free lunch, at parks Saturday

Get free entry to Washington’s state parks this Saturday, and maybe a free lunch while you’re at it. In recognition of National Public Lands Day, a Discover Pass will not be required of visitors to any state park on Saturday, Sept. 28.  The pass usually costs $10 a day or $30 a year and is required…

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0 Comments | More in state parks | Topics: Discover Pass, state parks free day, Washington state parks

August 15, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Grab the marshmallows! Campfires OK in state parks west of Cascades

Shame on you if you’re reading this on your smartphone from a campsite at Deception Pass or Cape Disappointment state parks, but the good news is this: Go ahead and light that campfire. Washington State Parks on Thursday lifted its 16-day-old campfire ban in parks west of the Cascade crest, effective immediately. Campers on the state’s west…

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, Outdoors, state parks | Topics: campfire ban, campfires, fire danger

August 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

State parks campfire ban continues, despite recent rain

Campfires such as this one at this one at Kitsap Memorial State Park are still banned in all state parks because of fire danger and limited firefighting resources. (Archive photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times, 2006)

Campfires such as this one (from a prior year) at Kitsap Memorial State Park are still banned in all state parks because of fire danger and limited firefighting resources. (Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times, 2006)

Yes, we’ve had some rain around the state in recent days — even damaging deluges in places such as the North Cascades — but campers should be aware: The two-week-old ban on campfires in Washington’s state parks continues.

That’s puzzled some campers in places such as the Washington coast where it hasn’t seemed very dry. Here’s an excerpt from an email that came to me Friday night from a California visitor to a coastal state park:

“Tonight I write you from Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington, where it is 57 degrees at 98 percent humidity. According to another website, the fire danger is rated as ‘very low.’ Five hours inland, large wildfires may be raging, but you wouldn’t know it here, where mist-caused water drops pellet my van’s roof. Which prompts my question: Under what authority does Washington State make the idiotic demand all campfires cease?”

The authority comes from the Washington Administrative Code, Section 352-32-125, governing fires and campfires in state parks (boldface is my addition):

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, Parks, state parks, wildfires | Topics: campfire ban, campfires in state parks, state parks

July 31, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Campfire ban extended to all Washington state parks

Campfires are banned in state parks and on many state lands because of dry weather across the state. (photo by Joel Hawksley / The Seattle Times)

Campfires are banned in state parks and on many state lands because of dry weather across the state. (photo by Joel Hawksley / The Seattle Times)

Because of wildfire danger, campfires are banned in all Washington state parks until further notice, the Washington State Parks Commission announced Wednesday morning, and more restrictions are on the way for national forests.

Use of charcoal briquettes is also prohibited in state parks.

Campers will be allowed to use devices that allow for control of combustion, including propane and liquid gas stoves appropriate for camping and backcountry use; propane barbecue devices that do not use solid briquettes; propane or pressurized white gas warming devices that have a shield or base; and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.

State parks are following the lead of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which Tuesday prohibited all outdoor burning on lands protected by DNR. That agency has

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, state parks | Topics: campfire ban, campfire ban in Washington, forest-fire danger

July 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM

State parks birthday bash slated Aug. 3 at Deception Pass

A family walks the rocks at Deception Pass State Park. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

A family walks the rocks at Deception Pass State Park. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Washington State Parks continue to celebrate the park system’s 100th birthday, and the next big “signature” event to mark on your calendar is an Aug. 3 bash at Deception Pass State Park.

The 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday event will include music all day, model sailboat races, park tours, crafts, food vendors, a Volkssport walk, and

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, state parks | Topics: Deception Pass State Park, state parks centennial, state parks centennial celebration

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