Permits now needed to hike Dog Mountain on weekends due to safet - KPTV - FOX 12

Permits now needed to hike Dog Mountain on weekends due to safety concerns

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Visitors to Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge will now need a permit to hit the trails on the weekend due to safety concerns.

The U.S Forest Service announced that visitors to Dog Mountain, located on the north side of the Gorge and known for its wildflowers, will no longer be able to go permit-free.

Starting from March 31 to July 1, the U.S Forest Service will require hikers to have a permit during the weekends.

Visitors to the Gorge such as Tom Noonan told FOX 12 he thinks it's a necessary nuisance.

"It is kind of an annoyance for me,” Noonan said. “But I can understand why they'd do it because it gets so busy up here you obviously got to do something."

“I'll show up here at sun-up and show up at four or five in the morning before the crowds,” he added

Yet, the reason for the permits is safety concerns especially during the wildflower season when hikers often park and walk along SR-14 because the parking area fills up early.

“You never know if you're going to come around the corner and see a car or a person in the highway,” said Tamara Greenwell of the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Visitors to Dog Mountain can obtain a permit by riding the shuttle service operated by Skamania County costing $2 roundtrip or 165 permits will be available online per day costing $1.50 to purchase.

Officials hope more hikers will use the county shuttle making SR-14 safer for hikers and drivers.

“It’s a small highway that hugs cliffs, and curves around and you can't see and we've seen a lot of unsafe situations,” said Rachel Pawlitz from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Route. 

Shuttles leave from the Stevenson Fair Grounds and drop hikers off at the trailhead.

"First and most obvious tip, come out and hike during the week,” Pawlitz added. “Monday through Friday you're not required to have a permit, and second, head out early, go to Stevenson and take the shuttle to enjoy a day in the Gorge that way”

Officials say Forest Service workers will check for permits at the trailhead.

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