STEVENSON, Wash. — March 6, 2018 – To address safety concerns along State Route 14 in the Columbia River Gorge, the U.S. Forest Service is launching a new permit system at the Dog Mountain Trailhead for weekends during the peak use season, along with partners at Washington State Department of Transportation, Skamania County, and the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce.
As visitation at Dog Mountain has increased in the last decade, so have safety concerns. On weekends and holidays during the wildflower season, hikers often park and walk along SR 14, where high-speed traffic, narrow shoulders, and limited site distances create challenging situations for pedestrians and motorists alike.
“We’re trying this new approach to enable people to connect with this cherished trail while reducing safety challenges,” said Lynn Burditt, area manager for Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, “We worked in partnership with local organizations to come up with this solution.”
To encourage shuttle use and prevent overflow parking in unsafe areas, each hiker will be required to obtain a permit to Dog Mountain Trail System on weekends from March 31 to July 1.
Those parking in the lot at Dog Mountain Trailhead will also need to pay a per car recreation fee of $5 per day or display a valid Northwest Forest or Interagency Pass which is an existing requirement.
There are two ways for hikers to obtain permits. All visitors riding the shuttle service operated by Skamania County on weekends from March 31 to July 1 will receive a permit. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis, at a cost of $1 per trip, or $2 roundtrip. More information about the shuttle schedule can be found athttps://www.facebook.com/SkamaniaTransit/Shuttle. Bus drivers will provide trail system permits to visitors upon arrival at Dog Mountain Trailhead. Each permit will be good for one individual on the day it is issued.
There will also be 165 permits available per day through the national online reservation system atwww.recreation.gov, costing a $1.50 non-refundable reservation fee per permit. However, parking is limited at the trailhead and a permit does not ensure a parking spot.
“We’re hoping this new approach will offer a win-win by encouraging visitors to use the county shuttle service while also making SR 14 safer for visitors,” said Skamania County Commissioner Chair Tom Lannen, on behalf of the Skamania County Board of Commissioners.
Hikers should carry a printed permit or electronic copy of their permit, as Forest Service will check for permits at the trailhead.
For more information, call 541-308-1700 or visithttp://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/crgnsa/hikedogmountain.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.)
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with the Gorge Commission, states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection. Learn more about Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area at www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa or follow us on social media atfacebook.com/crgnsa or www.twitter.com/crgnsa.
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