Central Washington is home to a large variety of wildlife, ranging from common critters like deer, elk, squirrels, goats, and marmots to more intimidating wildlife like bears, cougars, wolves, and moose. While viewing is encouraged, it is best to learn about wildlife through quiet observation. Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for “a better look.”
The most important thing to do when encountering wildlife on a hike is to keep your distance.
Remember, wildlife will leave you alone if you leave them alone! Never follow or approach an
animal on a trail, regardless of the animal.
For the safety of both yourself and the wildlife, never attempt to feed a wild animal. It damages their health, habituates them to humans which alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Keep your food and other scented items close at hand and pack out any trash you bring in with you – including organic material like apple cores, banana peels, and orange rinds. Similarly, never attempt to pick up or touch a wild animal. It is stressful to the animal and it is possible that the critter may harbor rabies or other diseases. Furthermore, sick or wounded animals can bite, peck or scratch and send you to the hospital, and young animals removed or touched by well-meaning people may cause the animal’s parents to abandon them.
Remember, this is THEIR home!