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.
Did anyone else notice that the majority of the outdoor industry and nature writers remained silent regarding the 2016 election. Rather than take a stand for public lands, the environment and their survival, they didn’t utter a peep. Seeming overcome with fear of offending or losing a few precious followers, so called “outdoor experts” sat on their hands and hoped for the best. Perhaps driven by greed and profits, reputation and protection of image, their social media accounts barely mentioned an election, much less a plea to vote for nature. Those people are cowards, plain and simple.
What is there left to say that hasn’t already been said these past 18 month. It has been endlessly long and here we are, mere days before the election. Doug and Mathias at The Outdoor Society have decided we’ve seen enough and it’s time to speak our conviction and officially endorse candidates and issues which are important to us.
As America’s National Park Service turned 100 years old this year, hundreds of millions of visitors flocked to our public lands, hoping to enjoy wilderness, recreation and outside exploration. Out in the corner of the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park had a busy summer, seeing large number of visitors exploring the rainforests, beaches, ridges, lakes and waterfalls in this huge and diverse park. While road closures, forest fires and lack of sunny weather impacted visitation, 2016 will go down as a successful and busy year in Olympic and all National Parks in America.
I consider myself a bit of a recluse, or self-described modern hermit. For as much as I love writing, communications via social media and sharing the gorgeousness of the Pacific Northwest, I also like to remain incognito. I like to focus on the beauty of the area and not on myself. That is why, when asked to take part in the Cascade Hiker Podcast, I was a little hesitant. Sure, I love talking about nature, but does anyone really care what I say? Apparently, they do and Rudy at the Cascade Hiker Podcast was eager to have me on to talk about my love, Olympic National Park.
Happy Birthday, National Park Service. I am so happy for you.
Those words seem weak, lacking my true feelings in a commonly stated platitude. Sure, I could add an exclamation point, but even that comes up short. “Thank you” means nothing, compared to what you have done for me. You have changed my life; you redirected a lost soul with your majestic beauty and endless adventures. You let a dreamer have a place to dream and gave a kid who felt more at home walking alone in the woods a place to rekindle a relationship with his soul. You have taken away stresses and pain and replaced them with tear-jerking panoramas more stunning than any picture can capture. You saved me from a life of regret and pain and mistakes of my 20’s; you let me blaze a new trail for my life, passing through the purest wilderness in existence. You are my soul mate and it might be fucking cheesy to say it, but I don’t care. I owe you my life, National Park Service, and nothing I can do or say will ever repay you for what you mean to me.
The reports keep pouring in, now on an almost daily basis. In just a few days at Yellowstone National Park, the following happened:
• Some folks put a bison into their SUV because the calf looks cold and could use a cup of hot chocolate.
• Wannabe Youtube brats decide it would be cool to just walk onto the Grand Prismatic Spring.
It’s not even “just American stupidity,” the idiots above are from Canada and last year, asshats from The Netherlands and Germany were fined for dropping their drones into the hot springs and Lake Yellowstone.
The National Park Services found a way to solve their $11 billion maintenance backlog crisis. That is right, a government agency just created a way to save the tax payers of America $11 billion. When was the last time you heard something like that come out of a federal agency?
As most of you are aware, Delaware North, one of the major concessionaires in America’s National Parks, recently invoked a trademark on National Park destinations in Yosemite National Park, forcing the park to change names. Within hours of the press release by Yosemite National Park officials, wilderness lover’s around the world directed their displeasure at the Buffalo, New York Company. My colleague called them Asshats, and Twitter became abuzz with hashtags like #OtherDelawareNorthCopyrights; the normal, peace-loving hiking community became angry. I too was upset, especially when I realized Delaware North is in charge of one of Washington State’s Best Lodges. The good news is that it is the only one in the state they operate. The bad news, it is Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch Lodge.