Happy Birthday, Olympic National Forest!
From the stunning mountain tops overlooking dense forests to wild and scenic rivers, breathtaking waterfalls and endless amounts of adventure, Olympic National Forest has been captivating the region’s outdoor dreams for twelve decades. We hope you have another 120 years of helping preserve and protect this stunning landscape for all to enjoy and thank you for all you have done.
F&*K!!! The tree still stands. Which is good news!
Turns out, I am not 100% accurate all of the time, which sucks. I do my best to give due diligence to finding out information before reporting and tend to trust sources in the hiking community. Places like WTA, NWHikers.net and even WH&C on Facebook all tend to have current information on their sites. When stories pop up, I go to my other sources and see what they have heard. When I hear about something from a trusted group of sources, I write about it. Turns out, people are flawed and info gets muddled. We will continue to strive for perfection. Until then, we can only do our best.
Turns out, all of our sources were also incorrect. The tree is still standing. Formal apology here: http://outdoor-society.com/why-we-report-what-we-hear-the-kalaloch-tree-incident/
Yeah, access to the Elwha is limited. Again.
After being only open for three weeks after being closed for 14 months. Hopefully, this closure is much shorter. In case you haven’t noticed, February has been a wet one. Records are close to being broken for the wettest February on record in Seattle and the story is the same on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Heavy rains over the last few days have flooded our rivers and swollen our streams, resulting in closures to one of Olympic National Park’s most vulnerable regions of access. Olympic Hot Springs Road, also know and The Elwha Road, is closed yet again after being open for only three weeks.
On January 27th, we reported that Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz had introduced a bill titled HR 621, which would open up 3.3 million acres of Federal Land across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. The outrange was immediate. All around social media, at protests in Montana’s Capitol and flooding the emails and answering machines of Congress, the American people stood up against the attack on Public Lands. Now, it appears like our message was victorious.
If Republicans have their way, drilling could become commonplace in over 40 National Parks around the country. Known as H.J. Res. 46, the bill seeks to undue the rules and regulations set up in 1978 to protect National Parks under a series of rules known as 9B. Currently, there are over forty National Parks that have a “split estate” ownership, where the federal government owns the surface of the region, but not the underground mineral rights. That can all change on Friday, February 3rd, if Congress pushes this through.
Great news for hikers looking to stand atop one of America’s most famous volcanoes! Starting on Wednesday, February 1st 2017 at 9am PST, this year’s climbing permits will be available for purchase to summit the stunning peak of Mt. St. Helens. Permits are $22.00 and are limited to just 500 a day from April 1st to May 14th. From May 15th to October 31st, only 100 permits are issued a day.
Olympic National Park is known for numerous awesome natural wonders. From moss-covered rainforests in old-growth forests to cascading waterfalls plunging into rough, salmon stocked rivers, we have it all out here. When we want a hike along the ocean to look at sea-stacks, the Olympic National Park has us covered. Neah Bay to Ocean Shores and from Olympia to Port Angeles, the Olympic Peninsula is full of awesome sights that inspire millions each year. Sadly, one of the sights that have been consistent for thousands of years is slowly leaving the region, and it might be too late to stop it from vanishing for good.
Update: Jason Chaffetz withdraws HR 612!!!
If Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz gets his way, America can say goodbye to over three million acres of Public Lands. In a bill titled HR 621, Chaffetz hopes that 3.3 million acres across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. Seriously. This bill, for those following the quick attempted destruction of Public Lands as we know it, has become stronger thanks to a rules package that the Republican House passed, making land seizure plans like HR 621 extremely easy to follow through with.
The Elwha is once again open to vehicle traffic, for the first time since late November 2015, when a series of severe storms brought heavy rain and flooding to the Elwha River. During that storm, approximately 90 feet of roadway washed out, with additional sections severely eroded and damaged by flood waters. While the road opening is great, keep in mind of a few things.
Unless you have been in the backcountry for a few months, or just actually live under a rock, you are aware that everywhere you go, there is talk about politics. In the grocery stores, in the papers, at work, at home and all over social media; it seems like political speech is around every corner. For many, the retreat into nature is to avoid this type of talk, letting yourself reconnect and be calm in the majesty of wilderness and the great outdoors. While I believe everyone should find a patch of wilderness to relax and meditate at, the time for naivety of politics not playing an important role in nature is over.
Get ready folks.
Mount Rainier National Park will begin accepting online reservation requests for wilderness camping and climbing permits, including overnight trips on the Wonderland Trail. If you were thinking of camping at Mount Rainier or taking on the Wonderland Trail, you better be ready and fast.
January 22nd, 2017 at 12:05 PM. A magnitude 3.6 earthquake hit in the southern stretches of Olympic National Park near the Quinault Rainforest. Originating near the headwaters of the Wynoochee River, the quake came from a depth of 40km. While a quick call to a friend told me that the shaking was felt in the Quinault region, the are no reports of damage to structures or really any issues at all. This quake follows another smaller quake, a magnitude 2.6, located near Humptulips two mornings earlier. Earthquakes are common in the PNW and this latest jolt shouldn’t cause panic. Last year, also in January, over 2,000 small quakes made their way down the Hood Canal. Nothing bad came from that.
I figured it would take a few days or week. I thought that the first hundred days would be focused on issues like healthcare, immigration and trade. I didn’t think for one minute that within twelve hours of our new President swearing in on a bible, that he would come after the National Park Service. Whether you supported Trump, Hillary, Bernie, Jill or anyone else, this is an important precedent that has just been set. Our new President is restricting speech.
I do not love being in the wilderness by myself. I really don’t. It’s not blind fear or a phobia. It’s being in my head; all by myself for hours, not being able to share the experience with anyone that sort of lacks any draw for me. I guess, I don’t like loneliness. Doesn’t make me a good Northwest outdoor person, I suppose. Most people go outdoors to get away from everything and anyone. Not me.
But, just before the weather turned this fall, I wanted to test myself, wanted to try out that solo experience and see what it was all about.
Out along the wilderness coast of the Olympic Peninsula, endless coastal wonders await those longing for a truly Pacific Northwest beach experience. Stretching for 73 miles, from Shi Shi to Kalaloch, the wilderness coast of Olympic has inspired countless generation and left millions of visitors awestruck with the sheer beauty of these jagged and remote stretches along the Pacific. Ranging in levels of accessibility, the Olympic coast offers something for everyone, letting each individual find their perfect slice of sandy, driftwood-filled beaches. For many, the highlight of the coast comes at Olympic National Park’s Second Beach near the town of LaPush.
2016 was an excellent year for Olympic National Park, seeing what is slated to be its 6th most-popular year on record. In 366 days of 2016, thanks to a leap day thrown in at the end of February, over 3.4 million people are estimated to have experienced the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Northwest’s favorite National Park. In fact, the year was so good that it nearly became a top five year for this incredible stretch of Pacific Northwest wilderness, missing out on passing 2001’s numbers by mere thousands. For 2016, Olympic was once again the seventh most-visited National Park in America, continuing a streak of top 10 listings since records were officially started in 1979.
As the snow falls on the mountains and hills around the Pacific Northwest, the hiking community struggles to find someplace new and remote, rewarding, accessible and beautiful. Franklin Falls, Lake Wenatchee, Hurricane Ridge, Artist Point, Paradise; the crowds gather at popular winter destinations around the region, bottlenecked by a lack of accessibility to other regions. Surrounded by a wealth of natural wonders, residents of Washington find ourselves repeating the same trips, or staying indoors until the weather gets better. Don’t fall into that trap. In the winter, while many will try to be awesome and climb high for epic, snowy, panoramic views, hundreds of miles of trails are sitting mostly empty along the wild and scenic rivers of Olympic National Park and Peninsula. One such river, the Dosewallips, is the ideal place to get away and experience the beauty of nature, just a short drive from the major cities of the Puget Sound.
As we near the end of the year, many will celebrate the end of a rough 2016. While it wasn’t an ideal year for many, it was a still a banner year for nature, The Outdoor Society and the hiking community. In a year that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Parks, witnessed an election that divided the country and experienced incredible weather events, we saw our greatest year yet. Receiving amazing traffic to the website, fantastic book sale numbers and dozens of stunning trips to the best scenic wonderlands in the West, 2016 was a good year for The Outdoor Society. We thank you all for your support and have even more amazing things planned in 2017.