Low snowpack brings crush of hikers to Washington trials - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Low snowpack brings crush of hikers to Washington trials

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Federal land managers have been caught unprepared for the rush of visitors after a low winter snowpack cleared Washington's mountain roads and trails weeks earlier than usual. Federal land managers have been caught unprepared for the rush of visitors after a low winter snowpack cleared Washington's mountain roads and trails weeks earlier than usual.
TACOMA, Wash. -

Federal land managers have been caught unprepared for the rush of visitors after a low winter snowpack cleared Washington's mountain roads and trails weeks earlier than usual.

The News Tribune reports that national parks and forests in western Washington typically bring on hundreds of seasonal employees - many of them college students - to handle summer crowds. But this year the seasonal crews are already needed, and many are still in school.

Steve Johnson is the acting district ranger of the Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. He says the trails along Interstate 90 are seeing crowds they wouldn't usually get until June.

Tracy Swartout is the acting superintendent at Mount Rainier. He says some trailheads and parking lots will be snow-free before the park's water systems and wastewater treatment plants have been dewinterized, meaning visitors will find no drinkable water or working toilets.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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