Hiker Headlines: Government News, Glaciers, Fires and Easier Camping
It’s Jan. 25. The federal government is close to a deal to resume operations. The state legislature is in full swing. Now is a good time to start dreaming about state park camping trips. Oh, and the latest in Conconully's outhouse races.
Update, Jan. 25, 2019: After 35 days, the federal government is close to a deal to resume operations until Feb. 15. Once a spending deal has been agreed upon, land management agencies (like National Parks and National Forests) that have been closed will be able to get back to work. Hikers should remember that it will take time to get things back to normal, including plowing roads and dealing with avalanche control. Consider giving federal land managers a few days to take stock before heading out to hike the parks and other federal lands. (Roads and facilities might not be ready for visitors yet.) We’ll share updates as more information is available.
The state legislature is in full swing. Now is a good time to start dreaming about state park camping trips. And, the government is — as you’ve undoubtedly noticed — still partially shutdown.
Here’s some hiker news that you may have missed while out on trail this week.
Still no deal: Repeating this is getting tiresome, but it’s important. So here goes. The federal government is still partially shutdown. And some of the work that is being missed right now will never be made up. Practically, you should know that the federal lands you love to hike might be inaccessible or have closed facilities. Please take extra care to be a good steward when you’re out hiking. And if you find out an area is impacted, let us know in a trip report.
Government at work: The state legislature has been back in session for a little over a week. We’re keeping track of what’s going on — and encourage you to do the same. To have a front-seat role in shaping the future of our state’s trails, come join us for Hiker Rally Day.
Science says: Glacier are shrinking — that’s not news. It is news, however, that for Washington things could have been even worse in the last 18 years. A pattern of weather that pointed a “firehose” at the state helped limit how much glaciers have receded. But scientist fear that trend will change.
Up in smoke: In recent years, Washington summers have been alarmingly smoky — as hikers have undoubtedly noticed. Hilary Franz, Public Lands commissioner for Washington, is asking the legislature to fund a strategy to help combat fires. It’s a 10-year-plan that would add more firefighters, more training and more helicopters to the state’s resources.
Plan your fun: After going offline briefly to allow for upgrades, the State Parks reservation system is back up and running — and it’s now easier to book your camping trips. Also, now’s a good time to mention that state parks are open, even if the federal government isn’t. (And while we’re talking about fun, did you know we have a calendar for hikers?)
These racers are No. 1: What do you do when the weather's kinda crappy? Compete in an outhouse race of course! Conconully has been holding the races for 36 years — and we've never been prouder of our state.