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Land Managers Back at Work After Shutdown, But Hikers Should be Patient

The federal government is open again. Here's what hikers need to know right now.

The federal government is back up and running after a 35-day shutdown.

While forest service, national parks and other federal lands agencies are working again, hikers and outdoor recreationists should remember it will take time to get back to normal. Workers need to assess conditions, plow roads and reopen facilities, among other tasks. Consider giving federal land managers a few days. And, when you do venture out to national parks or other federal lands, do so with caution and beware that roads and facilities might not be ready for visitors yet.

Paradise in snow by Robert Bryll
Federal agencies are getting back to work after a 35-day shutdown. It will take a bit of time before areas such as Paradise at Mount Rainier are ready for visitors again. Photo by Robert Bryll. 

updates from around the state

Mount Rainier: Crews are working to get back to normal for winter. Vehicles can access Longmire and the museum there has re-opened. The National Park Inn and restaurant remain open. It will take time for access to Paradise to be opened up. Crews have to clear the road, pullouts and parking lot and ensure that the area is safe for visitors. The Carbon River and Mowich area of the park is also open, depending on snow conditions. Those areas are not maintained in winter.

Olympic National Park: The park’s visitor center in Port Angeles has reopened. Hurricane Ridge will re-open on Friday, Feb. 1. The ski area at Hurricane Ridge will reopen on Saturday. There is storm damage across wide areas of the park, so check status on roads and campground before heading out.

North Cascades National Park: The park is resuming normal winter operations. Highway 20, which runs through the park, is closed for the winter, as usual.

U.S. Forest Service: Forest Service employees are returning to work today. Employees at the state’s seven national forests will need time to take stock and resume normal operations.

National Wildlife Refuges: Refuges are working to resume normal operations. Refuges that were accessible during the shutdown are likely still accessible. Others that were closed during the shutdown will take longer to reopen. There are 25 refuges in Washington state. To find out about a particular refuge, check with that refuge. 

As we learn more about when and how federal lands are re-opening, and our land manager partners get back up to speed, we’ll share that information with our community. In the meantime, let us know what you see if you venture out by sharing a trip report.