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SEATTLE — Hiking season is underway in the Pacific Northwest and there’s a new app for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore some of central Washington’s most popular trails.

“We had this pandemic that created this need to go outside,” said Mat Lyons, president of Trails, Recreation, Education, Advocacy, Development, or TREAD, a non-profit that connects people with public lands.

Together with the Washington Tourism Alliance and Dharma Maps, the group has released its TREAD Map App pilot program. It will provide real-time trail and recreational data through spring and summer 2021 in central Washington.

The app is currently functional in Kittitas, Grant, Douglas, Chelan, and Okanagan counties, where heavy public lands use is expected during the summer.

Last year, while looking for ways to have fun while social distancing, people flocked to central Washington, but in some places, the crowds became a problem.

“We know that certain trailheads were loved to death. Others and other recreational spots didn’t see as much business as communities around them would have liked,” said David Blanford, executive director of the Washington Tourism Alliance.

The group has partnered with the TREAD Map App to help manage the flow of visitors and protect trails throughout the state.

The app is customized by land managers and local experts and provides up-to-date recreation maps, custom layers, trail conditions, current safety information, community events and volunteer opportunities.

“Is the parking lot crowded? Is there a tree down on the trail? Wondering what current, real-time conditions are like? Concerned about avalanche danger? Interested in discovering where that fork in the trial leads? TREAD Map provides dozens of data overlay options that allow users and land managers to customize information,” TREAD’s websites states.