In the current climate of political uncertainty, America’s Public Lands are under constant attack. Whether it is a desire to drill in and around National Parks, continue to slash a budget that is already barebones or even refuse to allow hiring at the numerous lands ran by the Department of Interior, it is simple: our National Parks are being undervalued. Even locally, many towns around the region want to open up logging or mining in and around our most cherished of public lands, saying it will boost the economy, create jobs and all of their other outdated talking points. Today, we get to prove them wrong and hopefully shut them up for good. Our public lands are revenue generators and help sustain the American way. This is a fact.
In 2016, 1.4 Million park visitors spent an estimated $50.7 Million in local gateway regions while visiting Mount Rainier National Park. The 1.4 million was the highest visitation total since 1995, showing that the iconic volcano in the Pacific Northwest received a great boost from the National Parks turning 100 years old. The expenditures brought in by visitors supported a total of 654 jobs, $23.3 Million in labor income, $40.3 Million in value added, and $64.8 Million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Mount Rainier National Park.
A rugged peak exists in the Southeast corner of the Olympic National Park where few hikers venture to go. The top is ragged in places, with exposed rocks teetering precariously at the top of a 3,000ft summit, giving unrivaled views of one of America’s most wonderful wilderness regions. Rarely visited, seeing only a handful of hikers each month, Olympic’s Cub Peak is a mountain you need to experience this summer. Considered to be the steepest hike, per mile, from a parking area in Olympic National Park, Cub Peak is one of our favorite destinations high above the Hood Canal.
GOOD NEWS: THE WASHOUT HAS BEEN “FIXED”
As of 4/24/2017, the road to Graves Creek is once again open. We called Olympic National Park this morning and asked if the road was open. They did confirm that the road was indeed open once again. On a personal note, they could have been slightly less condescending to us when replying.
On April 2nd, around 3:48PM, a small plane reportedly crashed on the snowy slopes of Mount Jupiter on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula, with two individuals airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle by Search and Rescue personnel from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Search and Rescue. Injuries are said to be minor to the two individuals onboard and are not believed to be life threatening. The location of the crash has been determined to be near Mount Jupiter, inside Olympic National Park.
Chuckanut 50K was going to be an epic race this year. In it’s 25th year running, this mountain trail race out of quaint Fairhaven, has a long history of attracting some of the best runners from around the country. So, naturally, this year I signed up to run the epic race by Bellingham. Qualifiers for the IAU Trail World Championships for both the US and Canada ensured that I wasn’t the only highflying trail runner in this year’s line up, heh.
In a joint statement issued by Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum and Ryan Zinke of the Department of Interior, Olympic National Park will allow logging to resume with the park boundaries this summer. Starting today, permits will be issued to those interested in harvesting pristine old growth timber and taking home a section of some of the last true wilderness in the nation.
In a simple and quick post to Olympic National Park’s Facebook page, the announcement we were all waiting for occurred on March 29th, 2017. It reads a follows: The Elwha (Olympic Hot Springs) Road is now OPEN to vehicle traffic, to just above the Glines Canyon Overlook. The Whiskey Bend Road is now OPEN all the way to the trailhead.
Closed during the snowy, winter months, the Sol Duc region of Olympic reopens during the spring months, allowing the masses to rediscover the beauty found along this majestic river. Highlighted by the stunning Sol Duc Falls and the Sol Duc Campground and Hot Springs Resort, this gorgeous section of Olympic National Park is one of the areas that deserves the national spotlight. Offering miles of hiking and backpacking through pristine forests, along sparkling water features and up to high alpine lakes, the opening of the Sol Duc region means that the gloriousness of snow free adventures in Olympic are just around the corner.
Tucked away in the forgotten corner of the Pacific Northwest, hours from what most consider civilization, 611 miles of hiking trails are ready to take you on an unforgettable journey into the most beautiful wilderness in the lower 48. Below dense fir and towering cedar trees, along wild and scenic rivers full of spawning salmon, out along the rugged and rocky coast or up on peaks only summited a handful of times, well beaten, unmaintained paths lead you to some of the most-scenic wilderness destinations in the world. Full of awe and wonder, every inch of Olympic National Park will rejuvenate your soul and replenish your desire to get outside and explore.
Few places in the world are as beautiful as Olympic National Park. Year round, the upper left corner of the contiguous United States inspires wanderlust and leaves visitors in awe with true wilderness beauty and the spring months are no exception. As the temperatures warm up and the delight hours grow longer, the snowpack in the rugged mountains begins to melt, helping transform the regions waterfalls, rivers and creeks into beautiful torrents of water. Roads reopen after months of being closed and the animals start to wander around with their new offspring. Whales migrate offshore, hikers return to once snow-covered trails and all seems right with the world. Spring in Olympic is an experience your soul deserves and a perfect way to kick start your year of adventures in the great outdoors.
In March, April and the early parts of the month of May, the Washington Coast becomes a highway for 20,000+ Gray Whales migrating back to the cool waters of Alaska, with babies in tow. Swimming just 1/2 mile or less from the crashing waves on the rugged beaches of the Pacific Coast, the gray whales partake in not just an amazing migration, but also a chance for the millions who live with a few hours drive of the ocean to see these massive sea dwelling mammals.
Via Yellowstone National Park: Early Wednesday morning, March 15, a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt. This is the first confirmed bear sighting this year, although bear tracks have been observed since February 22. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.
Story via North Cascades National Park:
An avalanche occurred in the early morning hours on Friday March 10, 2017 in the gorge east of Newhalem, WA. The avalanche completely obstructed State Route 20 at approximately milepost 122.5, immediately east of the first tunnel. No one was injured in the avalanche. Area avalanche conditions were rated by the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) as High at the time. Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced on Friday they would not clear the debris based on avalanche danger in the Gorge, and the situation would be reassessed on Monday, March 13, 2017.
It’s early March again in the Pacific Northwest. This time around, it’s still snowing even on the lower trails. making for an entertaining Mountain Marathon and Hillbilly Half up Rock Candy mountain in the Capitol Forest near Olympia, WA. Why the race directors didn’t name the races “Rock Candy” is beyond me. It would be such a perfect name for a trail race. But no matter the name, this is still one of my favorite races all year and my goal is to bring someone to the race every year. This year it was another one of my awesome sister-in-laws, next year I am grabbing Douglas. Be warned.
Along the eastern slopes of Olympic National Park, high above the fjord-filled wonderland of Hood Canal, a shimmering and shining lake thaws underneath two majestic peaks. Like a miniature Glacier National Park, this remote, oft-overlooked wilderness playground needs to be your late-spring adventure destination. Once the snow starts to melt for good and the creeks become passable after the spring floods, head to Upper Lena Lake in the Hamma Hamma region for insanely gorgeous views, incredible camping and endless exploration.
Yes. Trails and nature areas are getting popular, but there is a reason. Guess what though, it isn’t the social media or hiking websites. More and more individuals and families are heading out into the beautiful wonderland of the Pacific Northwest, hoping to discover the soul nourishing power of nature. They flock to Paradise, Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh and Rialto Beach, hoping to experience the power of wilderness. They want to experience what many of us have been lucky enough to enjoy our whole lives, yet many in the hiking community appear to loathe them. They blame new hikers for “ruining areas” and “loving our trails to death.” Frankly, I am tired of this narrative. It sounds just like those who scream out “fake news” any time they read something they disagree with.
On the evening of February 22nd, 2017, residents of the South Puget Sound were jostled by a 4.2 earthquake centered on the Kitsap Peninsula. With a bang being heard before the shock waves arrived, the quake jostled everyone’s nerves a little, while no damage or landslides occurred. For those keeping record, this was the largest earthquake in the Puget Sound since December of 2015. For most who felt it, it was just another small quake out here in the PNW. While everyone has moved on, few realize that the ground has been shaking in the region for the entire month, with nearly 2,000 small earthquakes moving the Puget Sound since February 1st and 1,000 in the last week.