Parking Problem | Tickets, Towing as popular North Bend Hiking Trails outpace Available Parking
“If you conserve it, They will come.”
Since 1987 the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has worked to conserve approximately 30,000 acres of land in the Mount Si and Middle Fork Natural Resources Conservation areas.
That conservation land, which begins in North Bend and stretches to the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, boasts some of the region’s best and most beautiful hiking and climbing areas. In tandem, the City of North Bend has worked in recent years to rebrand itself as a premier outdoor destination for all those weekend warriors and outdoor enthusiasts.
Now what the State and local North Bend residents are battling during sunny spring and summer weekends is crowds – and the stark realization that the number of hikers vastly outnumbers the available parking near popular trailheads like Mount Si, Little Si, Teneriffe, Rattlesnake, etc.
The DNR is trying to help at Mt. Teneriffe, where it is working to build a new 70-space trailhead parking lot, but Mt. Si Road residents say it is not enough for the narrow, winding, shoulder-less road. They say sunny weekends cram the road with illegally parked cars – on the roadside and on neighbors’ property. With the roadside occupied by cars, residents say hikers often walk on the road making it dangerous for themselves and drivers. They say the state needs to address the road as well as adding new parking lots.
Saturday, May 7, 2016, resident Brandon Toomey snapped a photo of the parking situation along Mt. Si Road, warning that numerous cars were marked to be towed while their owners were presumably hiking the nearby trails.
Toomey shared his photo on Facebook around 2:30PM with the warning:
“Every parked car in this picture is marked to get towed, and there were more marked for towing behind the camera, further west. Residents have also had to have hiker’s cars towed from their driveways and yards when they parked without permission, and some neighbors are becoming very frustrated.”
Working Toward an Answer
The parking situation got so bad in mid April that overflow hiker parking stretched more than a mile from the trailheads – all the way out to North Bend Way, which according to a city official, resulted in police officers ticketing visitors’ cars
So what’s the answer? The City of North Bend says ‘paid for parking’ might be the solution. At the May 3rd city council meeting, City Administrator Londi Lindell said paid parking lots is “very probable” – one that the city is looking at right now as an effort to remain a welcoming place for outdoor enthusiasts.
Last summer, Compass Outdoor Adventures offered a shuttle service from a city parking lot located on North Bend Way, across from the Pour House. The roundtrip service was $5 per hiker. It’s not known at this time if the service will resume for the 2016 hiking season.
For now, hikers should be aware of the parking situation and make sure to park legally – so your car is where you left it and you don’t find a ticket on the windshield when you return from your hike to the top.
Also, plan ahead, if it’s sunny and warm, parking spots may be gone by 9AM.