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Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Little Snowy Top lookout abused by wilderness visitors

In 1988, when this photo was made, the Little Snowy Top lookout in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness was being refurbished over several years with help from the Forest Service, Washington Back Country Horseman, Spokane Mountaineers and a donation from the proceeds of the guidebook 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest. (Rich Landers)
In 1988, when this photo was made, the Little Snowy Top lookout in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness was being refurbished over several years with help from the Forest Service, Washington Back Country Horseman, Spokane Mountaineers and a donation from the proceeds of the guidebook 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest. (Rich Landers)

WILDERNESS -- Grandfathered at the time the Salmo-Priest Wilderness was designated, the Little Snowy Top Lookout is a piece of history and a rare shelter in a storm for a wilderness traveler.

But some buttheads are trashing it.

It sickens me to think that people I'd generally admire for hiking miles away from the nearest road would leave their trash and junk, carve names in the wood, leave the door open to water damage, leaving the shutters up so windows are broken by wind and hail.  Unbelievable, really.

After hiking the 18-mile Salmo Loop trails last week, Holly Weiler posted a mostly glowing and detailed Washington Trails Association trip report.  But one section of the report is disturbing, especially to me and others involved in the 1988-1989 work parties to refurbish the lookout.

Says Weiler:

I was disappointed in the poor-choicers at the Little Snow Top Lookout, where I was sad to see damage to the structure. I was unable to hike the Loop last summer due to trail closures and wildfires (I was scheduled to hike it two days after the closure went into effect last year); in the 2014 the Lookout was in good shape. This year the outer door is broken and on the ground outside, someone left the inner door standing open (and it was possibly open last winter, as there was water damage to the floor inside the door), people haven't been closing the shutters when they leave (and I was unable to close two of them, so they're still open), several windows are either cracked or broken, and people left trash both inside & out (I packed out as much as I could carry, but there's still more). This is why we can't have nice things. It makes me especially sad since the lookout was repaired through a grant from the sales of the 100 Hikes in the Inland NW book, where this hike appears as #15. See page 19 of the book if you have the 2nd edition. We should all work harder to keep it nice: LNT and all that good stuff.

On the bright side, she also says:

Okay, enough of the downers. Here's why you should hike it now: I have never seen the Loop looking so green, and I've hiked it almost every year since 2001 (and sometimes twice for good luck). We have been blessed with some mid-summer rainfall to make up for last year, and the wildflowers are responding with fantastic blooms. Go now, it's gorgeous! Maybe bring a trash bag for the stuff I missed at the lookout.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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