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Northwest Traveler

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

Category: U.S. Forest Service
February 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Free entry to national parks, forests, refuges this weekend

Celebrate this Presidents Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, Feb. 15-17, with a free visit to a national park, national forest or wildlife refuge. All three days are included as fee-free days for 2014 for parks, museums, trails and other facilities operated by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. In Washington, that includes Mount…

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0 Comments | More in Fees, national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: fee-free days, mount rainier, national forests

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 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Recreation, economic blues as federal lands stay closed

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park's Elwha  Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown.

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park’s Elwha Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown. (AP/Keith Thorpe)

Washington’s national-park  gems — Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades — remain closed, thanks to the federal shutdown. Locals can, with some effort and confusion, figure out other places to go for scenic drives, hikes and other recreation.

But for out-of-state and foreign visitors, the national-park closures are ruining long-planned trips and have local businesses near the parks worried about lingering economic impacts.

“People come from China, Germany, everywhere to see Mount Rainier,” said

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0 Comments | More in federal shutdown, national parks, Northwest, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: federal lands shutown, mount rainier national park, Mount St. Helens