Located at the picturesque southern tip of the Puget Sound, Olympia is at the halfway point between Seattle and Portland along I-5. Hugged by two incredible National Parks, with dozens of large and small recreation areas right within the city limits and in the surrounding area, Washington’s capitol has seemingly endless outdoor adventures opportunities.
We’re experiencing a renaissance of small city living in America. The only good jobs aren’t just in high rise office buildings in metropolitan areas anymore. The standard of living increasingly is higher in mid-size cities conveniently connected, but not overcrowded and paved over for miles each way.
Reaching the outdoors is not hard. There’s no bad time of the day to drive through town, and parks aren’t overcrowded on sunny days.
On the afternoon of May 22nd, 2018, a press release sent out by Mount Rainier National Park reached the inboxes of journalists and Mount Rainier enthusiasts, telling us that cell service would soon be added to the Paradise region of the park. Within minutes, the news spread like a wildfire throughout social media, primarily places frequented by the old guard, Pacific Northwest hiking community. The announcement by the park was met by angry hyperbole, as many outdoor enthusiasts around the region claimed wilderness was now lost for good at Mount Rainier. This is not the case at all. In fact, this is great news for visitors to the park.
We have all seen the headlines telling us that National Parks are being loved to death. Around the country, this headline is the clickbait of the day for outdoors sections of newspapers and bloggers. Headlined by pictures of crowds on our Public Lands, the articles all read the same; one way or another always blaming the influx of visitors. While these stories do have a slight degree of fact to them, the bottom line is that National Parks are not being loved to death. Plain and simple, our parks have not matched the growing desire and demand for nature experiences with our growing population.
Yellowstone National Park officials are reporting that on May 1st, 2018, a woman was butted in the thigh, pushed, and tossed off a trail by a bison in the Old Faithful area. As usual, a quasi-panic ensued by click-hungry newspapers and bloggers around the country. I mean, we are even writing a post. However, we are trying to not get caught up in typical fear mongering, which tends to happen after animal incidents in Yellowstone, we are instead sticking to trying to prevent any more incidents.
In case you missed the news, Secretary Zinke and the Department of Interior WILL NOT be upping entrance fees to $70 per visit to our National Parks. With hundreds of thousands of comments, 99% of which were against the ridiculous fee increase, Interior backed away from the proposal. While we should celebrate the fact that our voices mattered in this, I regret to let you know that I am the bearer of bad news.
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.
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 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.
Memorial Day weekend at Lake Cushman started with potential. Underneath the shadow of rocky peaks full of mountain goats, and near a peaceful river full of camping destination and hiking trails, hundreds of excited locals and tourists headed out in the long overdue sunny weather. Fueled by alcohol and testosterone, Lake Cushman’s Party Rock erupted in violence, where fights broke out, a vehicle ran over someone and a man was hit in the head with a hammer. Elsewhere, one man was killed and another injured in what some are saying was a racially motivated crime. Finally, crowds overwhelmed National Park staff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the last 32 years, the forests of the Olympic Peninsula have slowly been returning. Recovering from the heyday of the logging industry, hillsides and valleys, ridge lines and fields have once again become filled with trees. Thanks to a series of satellite images, we can now see just how much of the Olympic Peninsula has been reclaimed by nature. In just over three decades, the region is starting to recover from the sixty years of mass deforestation and we think it looks awesome.
Another day, another ridiculous political story.
Like a monstrous earthquake along a huge fault line running the length of the Washington Cascades, Eastern Washington wants to break away from Western Washington. Legislators from the eastern side of the Evergreen State are hoping they can form a new state, called Liberty. They are apparently hoping to break free from the evilness that Western Washington has plagued upon the pastoral region.