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Signpost Blog

"This little newsletter has been an experiment so far, testing a hunch I've had that such a means of communication among walkers is needed." — Signpost magazine, 1966.

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Hiker Headlines: Clean Boots, Permits, Interior Secretary, Volunteer Safety

Feb 25, 2021

It’s February 25. Permit applications for many of Washington’s most popular recreation areas are either open now or will be soon. Confirmation hearings for Interior Secretary are ongoing. Learn what hikers can do to stop the spread of invasive species. And, it’s a good time to revisit safety guidelines if you’re thinking of volunteering on trail.

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1 Trail, 2 Decades, 15 Stories

Feb 25, 2021

WTA started as a way for hikers to share their experiences on trails, and those decades of stories (now shared as trip reports on wta.org) compose a collective memory of Washington’s hiking community. We’ve gone back through nearly 1,000 trip reports for Goat Lake along the Mountain Loop Highway to highlight the variety of experiences that this trail has supported over the years.

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Shoring Up the Neighborhood Trails that Provide Everyday Escapes

Feb 24, 2021

WTA is hard at work making sure urban parks all over Washington are getting the love they deserve, including a recent project in Tacoma.

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Hiking Alone in Winter, Finding Peace and Quiet on the Trail

Feb 19, 2021

Even those of us who relish this season can get mired in it, despairing that going outside will never be fun or easy again. In these doldrums of winter, one of the cures for finding joy is, counterintuitively, hiking alone.

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Hiker Headlines: Permit Changes, Snow Closures, Outdoor Jobs

Feb 18, 2021

It’s February 18. Mount Rainier National Park announced changes to their backcountry permitting system. Some popular trailheads are temporarily closed due to heavy snow. Many land managers are hiring for summer seasonal positions. Last weekend’s lowland snow transformed nearby parks into winter wonderlands. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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Mount Rainier Tries Out New Backcountry Camping Permits Process in 2021

Feb 18, 2021

Here's what you need to know start planning your summer adventures in Mount Rainier National Park and on the Wonderland Trail. The early access lottery starts March 2.

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Ask WTA: How Are Bear Cans Tested?

Feb 17, 2021

If you’ve ever hauled a bear canister along on a backpacking trip, you know they’re sturdy. And, if you’ve ever tried to open one while tired or in the dark, you know they can be tricky to get into. But how do the manufacturers of approved bear canisters actually know that a bear can’t get into them?

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Hiker Headlines: Weather Advisory, Lunar New Year, Backcountry Trips, LWCF

Feb 11, 2021

It’s February 11. This weekend promises to bring extreme winter weather. Lunar New Year is tomorrow. Registration for WTA’s backcountry trips goes live this Saturday. There are new changes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We have valentines for that special hiker in your life.

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Nature on Trail: Cougar and Licorice Fern

Feb 08, 2021

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the cougar and licorice fern, and where you can find them.

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Hiker Headlines: Marmot Meteorologist, Permit Planning, Face Masks, New Statue

Feb 04, 2021

It’s February 4. A groundhog forecasts 6 more weeks of winter. Applications for backcountry permits will open soon with some changes due to the pandemic. The National Park Service announced a mask requirement in buildings, facilities and outside where physical distancing is not possible. A statue of Billy Frank Jr. may replace the current statue that represents Washington State at the National Capitol.

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See Wildlife on a Hike? Your Observations Help Conservation Researchers

Jan 29, 2021

Spot a bat, Pacific marten or Prairie falcon on your hike? After the ecological damage of recent wildfires, conservation researchers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife need your observations from the trail more than ever.

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Hiker Headlines: New Sno-Park, Backcountry Trips, Take Action, Climate Plan

Jan 28, 2021

It’s January 28. A new Sno-Park was just announced. Sign up for WTA’s volunteer backcountry trips is almost here, with a few changes. New ways to take action for trails. And, the President lays out a plan for climate and conservation. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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WTA's Hiking Guide is Coming to Your Neighborhood

Jan 27, 2021

Having trails close to home is an important piece of the puzzle to create an extensive and accessible trail network. That's why we’ve added over 100 local parks and trails to our hiking guide. These descriptions include details like transit directions, park facilities, and parking information.

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Speak Up to Protect the Enchantments & Wilderness

Jan 26, 2021

The Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is an iconic hiking destination in Washington. A proposed dam project on Eightmile Lake and other water projects have a new open comment period through Feb. 1. Join WTA in speaking up to reduce impact and ensure the project doesn't set new precedents for activities in wilderness areas.

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Get Ready for WTA's 2021 Backcountry Trips

Jan 26, 2021

Join WTA this summer. Backpack to a gorgeous place, do some trail work, and feel good about helping Washington's trail be some of the best.

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Hiker Headlines: Snow-Free Hikes, Wildfire Help, Changes to LWCF, Mask Up, Trail Closure

Jan 21, 2021

It’s January 21. Lowland hikes offer hassle-free winter outings. An executive order reinforces mask-wearing on public lands. House Bill 1168 offers help for wildfires. WTA is tracking and responding to last minute changes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. And, the Snow Lakes Trail will be closed for several weeks this winter. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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Hiker Headlines: In Remembrance, MLK Day, Busy Slopes, Legislative Priorities, Public Planning

Jan 14, 2021

It’s January 14. We remember Leonard Sauer. A fee-free day is coming up on Monday in honor of MLK Day. Snow play areas are now open at Paradise, but busy slopes make alternate plans necessary. WTA has announced our priorities for the 2021 legislative session. And, check out two opportunities to provide input for public land planning. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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It's All Online: Legislative Session and Hiker Rally 2021

Jan 11, 2021

The 2021 legislative session is now underway. Learn about WTA's budget priorities and how to use your voice to support trails and public lands.

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Thank You, Land Managers!

Jan 08, 2021

Without our agency partners, we wouldn’t have trails to work on.

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Hiker Headlines: Sno-Parks, Highway 20, Gorge Trails, Winning Photos

Jan 07, 2021

It’s January 7. Review tips for visiting Sno-parks. The North Cascades Highway closure boundary moved farther east. Trails in the Eagle Creek area have reopened. Check out the winning photos from WTA’s Northwest Exposure contest. And, a website where you can listen to forests from around the world. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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Creating a Refuge for People of Color in the Outdoors

Jan 05, 2021

How Chevon Powell built an event for people of color in the outdoors — and why that’s more important than ever right now.

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