At 8:32am on May 18th, 1980, the once silent Sunday morning in the Pacific Northwest was quickly turning into the one of the most memorable natural disasters in American History. The largest recorded landslide also helped trigger a powerful eruption that sent volcanic ash across the globe. Today, we mark 37 years of this amazing eruption, and take a minute to remember the 57 people who lost their lives.
Another month, another closure to a popular area in Olympic National Park. Seems like a familiar tune, right?
This time though, the closure will be a good thing, as the reason for the lack of access is a repair to a the road leading into one of Olympic’s most popular coastal destinations. The closure to Rialto Beach is expected to last through the month of June, meaning that there will be NO ACCESS to this classic Olympic National Park beach until the summer. You read that right, Rialto Beach is off limits until the end of June. (Except Memorial Day Weekend)
I might have cried with joy when I heard the news.
The road leading to Olympic National Park’s Staircase region is being repaired, with the grading process starting on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Once the process is complete and the miles of potholes are filled up, Forest Service Road 24 along Lake Cushman will be easily passable, allowing you access deep into the wilderness around the North Fork Skokomish River.
That’s gotta be an Olympic tongue twister, right?
Joking aside, ONP will be fixing roads and you should be aware of what, which, when, and where. Affected areas are: Quinault, Kalaloch, Hoh and Mora areas. This project might take awhile, in fact completion time is forecasted to be mid to end of August of 2017. This is not counting the construction projects occurring all summer around Lake Crescent, which will make travel around the northern peninsula slow at best.
As we finally get a break from the seemingly endless onslaught of rain and clouds, Olympic National Park has sent out a reminder that the park is starting to open up for the late spring and summer months. Starting on April 28th, the Hurricane Ridge Road will be open 24 hours a day depending on weather, while numerous campgrounds and roads are expected to open in May and June. We will obviously keep you all updated on the openings of each region, but this is a great announcement. The official Olympic National Press release is as follows, with images provided by yours truly and a few comments added by The Outdoor Society.
In the most recent and blatant attempt to strip Americans of their Public Lands, the Trump Administration is expected to issue an Executive Order on Wednesday, April 26th that calls for a review of all National Monuments designated since 1996.Trump’s executive order on will attack 1,018,114,328 (over one billion!!!!!) acres of our most special National Monuments.
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.