STEVENSON, Wash. — March 1, 2019 – The U.S. Forest Service released online permits today at www.recreation.gov for visitors interested in hiking Dog Mountain on weekends from April 20 to June 16 this year.
The permits are required as part of a partnership between Washington State Department of Transportation, Skamania County, and the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce to protect public safety. It began last year as a response to growing safety concerns about congestion and accidents near the Dog Mountain Trailhead.
“Last year’s program was highly successful,” said Lynn Burditt, area manager for Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, “In fact, many people said they hiked Dog Mountain for the first time last year, because they didn’t have to wake up early to beat crowds into the parking lot.”
Permits will be required for all visitors to the Dog Mountain trail system on Saturdays and Sundays through peak wildflower season (this year, defined as April 20 to June 16), as a measure to prevent congestion at the trailhead by encouraging visitors to take a shuttle.
There are two ways for hikers to obtain permits:
· Shuttle riders who take the Skamania County West End Transit bus from Skamania Fairgrounds in Stevenson receive a free permit on arrival at Dog Mountain Trailhead. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis, for $1 per person per trip, or $2 roundtrip. Each permit is good for one individual on the day it is issued. The shuttle runs every half hour from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends from April 20 to June 16.
· Those parking at Dog Mountain Trailhead will need to reserve one permit for each person online at www.recreation.gov and pay the $1.00 non-refundable administrative fee (per person) in addition to paying the recreation site fee of $5 per car. Valid Northwest Forest or interagency federal passes are accepted (but not state parks passes) as a form of paying the recreation fee but are not a substitute for having the per person permit. Only 250 permits per peak season weekend day are available to limit congestion, but the permit does not guarantee a parking spot, so visitors are encouraged to carpool.
Each hiker should carry a printed permit or electronic copy of their permit, as Forest Service employees will check for permits at the trailhead.
For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/crgnsa/hikedogmountain or call 541-308-1700.
“We made a few improvements this year – there are more permits available per day, and the administrative fee for online reservations is down to $1 from last year’s cost of $1.50, thanks to a new service provider,” said Lorelei Haukness, recreation planner for the scenic area.
Back again this year, several businesses in Stevenson will offer discounts to shuttle riders — including Walking Man Brewing, Big River Grill, North Bank Books, Columbia Hardware, and Bits n’ Spurs. Visit Skamania County Chamber of Commerce in Stevenson to learn more about area businesses that are participating.
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.