In 2017, America’s National Parks celebrated their 101st birthday an welcomed tens of millions of visitors to their stunning scenery. Spurned on by the total eclipse in August and a warmer than average summer, the 59 National Parks had another incredible year. While wildfires and construction hindered visitation to many popular National Parks, the trend of visitation over the past few years continued upward. Some parks moved up on the list, while others dropped, but the 11 most-visited parks in 2017 remained the same as 2016.
Olympic National Park is one of our specialties, and there are few people who know the ins and outs of the park as well as we do. This isn’t said to brag- it is just the truth. As one of America’s most-visited National Parks, the day to day operations are important to us and we want to do our best to keep everyone hoping to explore the wilderness playground on the Olympic Peninsula as informed as possible. To do that, we sometimes share press releases by the NPS about Olympic. The following is the official press release about the government shutdown in Olympic National Park:
Many of us remember the Government Shutdown of 2013. For me, I recall the National Parks closing their gates to millions of visitors over 16 days, and restricting visitor access in nearly every way. I recall stories of armed guards entering busses in Yellowstone, foreign exchange students being ticketed in Olympic National Park, people losing out on their once-in-a-lifetime rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, and a whole list of problems across the country at our Public Lands. The entire thing was a debacle, and luckily, it looks like D.C. may have learned from their previous mistakes.
Sometimes a stormy day in a National Park isn’t a bad thing. As the bad weather approaches, you can sit back and watch as the strength and power of nature shows off in full force. I have had many days of inclement weather on our Public Lands, and while not all were incredible, many stand out as some of my favorite days. Here is one of them, as written for my weekly #NatureWritingChallenge.*
In Yellowstone National Park, 52 bison are missing from a containment pen near the north entrance to the park. Neither hide nor hair have been seen since the night before they went missing. The Yellowstone bison, which are the official mammal of America, were being held for possible quarantine at the Stephens Creek facility, which is closed permanently to the public. The release of these bison is being investigated as a crime, as bison can’t really open fences on their own. The following is from Yellowstone National Park officials:
America’s National Parks continue to see a rekindled love, despite the current administrations desire to restrict access and decrease their size. In 2017, Yellowstone National Park experienced the second busiest year on record, spurned on by great weather, incredible wildlife and the total eclipse. Last year, Yellowstone recorded 4,116,525 visits, which was a decrease from 2016. 2016 was a record year for visitation, seeing 4,257,177 visits to the park.
Nature and politics go hand in hand. Some would rather we only focus on the beautiful, wild lands of America, telling us to stick to sharing pretty pictures. That isn’t going to happen. We are always going to be vocal about what we believe and will continue to fight for public lands. We will be political when we need to be and right now, we need to be. Our public lands are under attack and the very fabric of the America we worked so hard to support is being taken away. We will resist and we will fight.
Tumbling down from the craggy summits of the Olympic Mountains, the rivers of Olympic National Park are as wild and scenic as anywhere in the world. Fueled by glaciers, melting snowpack and endless deluges of rain, the waterways of the Pacific Northwest’s iconic peninsula are our lifeblood. Water transforms the region into a hydrological wonderland- a land where being damp and wet means you are home. For thousands of years, the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula were a source of food and remained mostly untouched. The riverbanks shifted through the valleys in which they ran, swinging wildly back and forth, searching for the lowest point to reach the ocean.
If you want to get into a National Park for free in 2018, you’ll need to put down these dates in your Outdoor Society calendar. Just announced by the National Park Service, the fee free days for 2018 have been released and the list is incredible disappointing. Offering just four fee free days for the new year, down from 10 in 2017, those on a tight budget that hope to see America’s best ideas in person will need to plan well.
The Outdoor Society is pleased to announce the release of our brand new book, 52 Olympic Peninsula Hikes. Created out of love for the region, which we call our home, Douglas and Mathias have poured their heart and soul into creating an instant classic for hikers and adventurers hoping to get to know the Olympic Peninsula even better. Finally filling the void of stunningly beautiful and informational guidebooks, 52 Olympic Peninsula Hikes is the inspirational, locally written guide for which you have been searching.
We all have a mountain or trail in our “backyard,” which is hiked often and still captivates your sense of adventure and wanderlust. For me, it is Mount Ellinor above Hood Canal in Washington State, just 90 minutes from my door. At 5,944 feet above sea level, which is found less than 20 miles away, Ellinor is one of the classic hikes in the Pacific Northwest. Year round, it can be summited, rewarding those with a love of breathtaking views with a world class panorama. I have climbed her rocky flanks dozens of times over the past few years, each time different than the last. She is my crush, the object of my desire and more often than not, I find myself daydreaming of trips up her beautiful summit. One such trip was a winter trek, one that I look back on years later with the fondest of memories.
Sunsets are some of the most awe-inspiring moments in our lives. Plunging down beneath the horizon, there is something un-mistakingly soul-nourishing about them. In the most depressed days of my life, I always found a sunset in nature to be one of the most rewarding parts of my day and I am sure I am not alone. While many sunsets blend together, we all have a handful of moments, before darkness takes over, that stay with us forever. For me, one of those sunsets was found along a remote canyon in Southeastern Montana. Before I saw this sunset, I had no idea the location existed, but now the sights are forever etched in my mind’s eye.
“Winter means everything to us. Riding snow is our passion, and Hurricane Ridge is our Valhalla.” ~ Mitch Zenobi
There are those who gaze up at the Olympic Mountains from the beautiful, remote city of Port Angeles, Washington. Sitting on a bar stool, sipping a local brew and looking at the clouds, a handful of Olympic Peninsula residents wait impatiently for it to snow. Watching 5,000 feet from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, pairs of eyes scan the ridges, hoping that powdery magic has fallen. While I don’t live in Port Angeles, my eyes also dart toward the Olympic summits, eagerly anticipating the return of winter snow. Go and explore Hurricane Ridge in the winter wonderland this weekend!
As you may have heard, the rates to enter America’s favorite public lands may be increasing to $70 during the peak season of 2018. While many are in a panic about the rate increase, those of us in the know for visiting our federally operated public lands already pay just $10 more a year for entry to all federal lands. Known as the America the Beautiful Pass, this $80 expense is one of the smartest purchase you can make. For the cost of a movie and popcorn for a family of four, you can have unlimited access to the very best outdoor destinations. With our further ado, we share seven reasons why you should purchase this pass ASAP.
Update: Looks like the secret is out! Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons have seen a dramatic increase in the sale of the America the Beautiful passes. Pick up yours today before the Department of Interior decides to raise the price for these passes!
You might have seen the news that the cost to enter America’s most-popular National Parks might increase.
The Department of Interior has issued a proposal for a fee increase to some of America’s most-visited public lands. The fees are currently slated to occur only during the peak visitation season at 17 of the nation’s 59 National Parks, starting in 2018. If accepted, visitors buying passes at the gates of National Parks will be handing over over double the amount they paid in 2017.
The world is not going to end soon. Sorry to burst your bubble. As much a many may want it, thanks to the current climate of politics in America, the demise of the human race isn’t going to be happening. At least, not from the Yellowstone Supervolcano that has been garnering so much attention in recent days. In case you have missed it, news recently broke that the huge volcano looming under America’s first National Park has “Planet Killing Potential” and “Yellowstone supervolcano could blow faster than thought, destroy all of mankind.” The news doesn’t look good to the outside observer, but like most things, dig a little deeper and the truth is easy to find. These headlines screaming about the demise of humanity should only be viewed as bullshit sensationalism.
We all know the Olympic National Park is pretty much the greatest park to hike. With beaches on the wild Pacific Coast, thousands of rocky, high-alpine ridges that lead amazing panoramic views, and rainforests as green and dense as a lobotomized Kermit the Frog, Olympic National Park is home to some of the greatest trails in the country. Over 611 miles of trails weave through the various eco-systems of Olympic National Park, but one trail encompasses nearly all of them. Made even better by the brilliant colors of autumn, the trek up to Upper Royal Basin will leave you blown away by beauty.
In a move that should not come as a shock to anyone paying attention to the weather forecast, officials in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest have canceled the fire restrictions that started on September 1st. With significant rain fall around the region and snow levels dropping down to 5,000 feet this week, the danger of forest fires has dramatically been reduced. While the fire danger is now reduced, please continue to follow fire safety rules. If you do have a fire while camping in Olympic, be smart, safe and always extinguish your fire fully before leaving camp.