Mount Rainier National Park has announced a new permit process for 2017. Users will now be able to request wilderness camping and climbing permits online. In an effort to preserve the quality of hiker experiences as well as fragile ecosystems from overuse, the permits are for sites along the extremely popular Wonderland Trail, as well as other backcountry camps. Day hiking does not require a permit.

Park officials concede this is a new system, and it doesn’t include all of the features they want to give to hikers. However, it will save rangers from sorting through hundreds of mailed and faxed requests. It also meets new Department of the Interior security requirements. The website also stresses, “those wishing to climb above 10,000 feet or onto any glaciers must purchase a Climbing Pass. Climbers who wish to camp overnight must also get a Wilderness Permit in order to acquire a campsite.”

Roughly 70 percent of the available wilderness permits can be reserved while the remaining 30 percent are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, it’s important to remember that winter snows and storm damage can impact which campsites will be available. This is especially true for early season itineraries, so be sure to check the latest updates from the park before submitting your request starting March 15. More info at Nps.gov. //