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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: Funding, National Park Projects, Pro-Crew, Sno-Park Fee Increase

Mar 25, 2021

It’s March 25. Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund will go to important conservation projects in Washington. North Cascades National Park announced plans to reroute a section of Stehekin Road, and in Olympic National Park a new entrance station will improve traffic flow. WTA is hiring for our first paid, pro trail-work crew. State Parks announced that Sno-Park fees will increase starting next winter. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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'You Belong' Washington-Based Film Centers the Stories of Women of Color

Mar 25, 2021

A new film seeks to build community in the outdoors for women of color — and help reshape the narrative of who belongs in outdoor spaces.

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UW's Nature and Health Group Talks Time Outside

Mar 22, 2021

What researchers are discovering about how and why being outside is so good for us.

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Hiker Headlines: State Parks Re-open, Advocacy Updates, Trail Closed, Maritime Washington

Mar 18, 2021

With two free days coming up for state parks, they’ve announced the re-opening of many facilities. Deb Haaland was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Interior. WTA’s biannual Hiker Rally was a success. Most of the Spruce Railroad Trail will be temporarily closed. The Maritime Washington National Heritage Area is looking for public input. And, you could name WSDOT’s next snowplow. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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5 Big Take-Aways from WTA's First Virtual Hiker Rally

Mar 17, 2021

2021 brought a new twist to our biannual Hiker Rally Day — like many other events have been for the last year, it was all-virtual. WTA staff learned a lot about what it takes to move to an online format. But more importantly, we were inspired, as always, by our hiker advocates who showed up to speak out for our trails and public lands.

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Five Land Managers Get Real on the Pandemic and Public Lands

Mar 16, 2021

A year after COVID-19 pandemic began to change our lives in innumerable ways, including in how we get outside, WTA sat down with our land manager partners to talk about the last year. We discussed the opportunities and challenges from the pandemic and the key role that public lands played in people’s mental and physical health. We also talked about the impacts of unprecedented visitors to public lands when agencies were underfunded and trying to keep their staff safe during a public-health crisis. Everyone we talked to was grateful that public lands could be there for people who desperately need exercise, escape and restoration. Our partners also have real concerns for the long-term management of public lands — and they hope to help everyone see how they can ensure that these special spaces so they will be there for generations to come.

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Youth Volunteer Vacations: What You Need to Know for 2021

Mar 16, 2021

At WTA, we know that the disruptions, stress and social isolation of the previous year makes outdoor opportunities for teens more important than ever. WTA is excited to resume our Youth Volunteer Vacation program in 2021, where youth ages 14-18 build trails and community together in beautiful places across Washington state.

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Hiker Headlines: Snowpack, Park Directors, Land Swap, Culvert Replacement

Mar 11, 2021

Mountain snowpack may take longer than normal to melt out this summer, and a new tool will help you track it. Two new park directors lay out their plans. The Colville National Forest is considering a land exchange. A culvert replacement project will take place in the Black Diamond Natural Area this summer.

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From Awe to Ah-Hah!: 4 Advocates Realize the Power of Their Voices for Trails

Mar 11, 2021

When did you realize that trails don’t just appear in the woods? Or that your favorite trail probably exists in part thanks to hikers like you? If you haven't had that "ah-hah!" moment yet, it's understandable. The path towards establishing and protecting trails is winding (much like those trails we love so much). But in the same way that you can lay the foundation for memorable summer adventures by tuning into permit season each year in February, hikers like you can help build a lifetime of adventure by consistently participating in advocacy work.

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Volunteer Crew Leaders Step Up to Help WTA and Each Other

Mar 09, 2021

In addition to WTA’s regular seasonal staff, 27 volunteers stepped up to lead trail work parties this past summer — making space for 2,200 more volunteers to engage in trail work.

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Hiker Headlines: Stay Off Muddy Trails, S&R Drill, Free Day, Climbing Closures

Mar 04, 2021

It’s March 4. In Eastern and Central Washington it’s important to stay off of muddy trails during the freeze-thaw cycle. Kittitas County Search and Rescue will be performing a practice drill on Hex Mountain this weekend. Entry to State Parks will be free on March 19. Two climbing areas in North Cascades National Park will be closed to protect peregrine falcon nesting habitat. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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GAOA Provides Vital Funding for Public Lands

Mar 03, 2021

The Great American Outdoors Act was a huge win for the outdoor community. Here’s some of the ways it will help Washington.

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Change Your Perspective -- Photos Just for the Fun of It

Mar 02, 2021

Can you capture the giddy, silly feeling of hiking in a photograph? From catching a waterfall in the palm of your hand to flying over the Cascades, these photographers put the fun in our photo contest.

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Meeting The Need: Investments on the Mountain Loop Highway

Feb 26, 2021

With more people discovering a love for trails, it's important to ensure the trail system can manage the increased needs. Here's how WTA is working on that goal in one part of Washington.

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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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