The Maple Fire, burning on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, has doubled in size over the past two days and shows no sign of dying down. The Maple Fire has now burned 810 acres and is still just 5 percent contained. The good news is that the crews and equipment ordered earlier in the week are starting to arrive, with an estimated crew of 300 personnel on the fire by August 10th.
A forest fire is burning near the Hamma Hamma River in Olympic National Forest and shows no sign of slowing down. Growing almost 300+ acres in 24 hours, the Maple Fire has so far burned 350 acres as of August 7th, 2018 and has closed access to trails and roads on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula. Even the Popular Hamma Hamma Road, home to popular hikes like Lena Lake and Lake of the Angels, is under a Level 1 evacuation notice. A crew of 80+ are fighting the blaze, but have just 5% contained. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
Beginning August 8, Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest, and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will restrict campfires to developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and rental cabins with cement or metal fire rings only until further notice. This includes the coastal areas of Olympic National Park.
Attention mountain goats of Olympic: You can run, but you can’t hide. In one month, the removal of Olympic National Park’s mountain goats will begin. Starting on September 10th and lasting for eleven days, popular trails in the Hurricane Ridge region will be closed for all access. That means you only have a few more weeks to explore the scenic treks and take in one last gaze at the mountain goats of the ridges of Olympic.
Another summer, another round of vandalism in our National Parks. In what is sadly becoming news as predictable as clockwork, another culturally significant site on our public lands was desecrated. This time, the damage was done to a rock containing historical, tribal petroglyphs along the Pacific Coast of Olympic National Park.
In what seems like a constant battle with wildfires, Yosemite National Park is the latest victim. While the park is not fully aflame, burning like the great Yellowstone Fire of 1988, this year’s fire danger is being taken seriously by NPS officials. Starting on July 25th, 2018, most of the popular regions of Yosemite will be closed until nearly the end of month. Hopefully, the closure will be temporary and the fire danger will decrease.
In a clunky title to a press release sent by Olympic National Park officials, it has been announced that the super gorgeous and extremely scenic Seven Lakes Basin region of Olympic National Park will not be closed from July 9th through the 20th. This news means that you can once again backpack into this amazing area! However, there is a catch. Permits to camp in this backcountry wonderland must be obtained in person.
A good news/bad news situation is coming out of Olympic National Park, this time around the popular and scenic Hurricane Hill Trail at Hurricane Ridge. The bad news? The trail is scheduled to be closed for periods of time during the next three summer seasons. The good news? The trail will be closed for only part of the summer, open for weeks at a time. A full schedule can be found below.
On June 29th, 1938, Olympic National Park was officially designated as a National Park by President Franklin Roosevelt, forever changing the landscape of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. For the past 80 years, Olympic National Park has been captivating the hearts and imaginations of wilderness explorers of all ages, enticing a deeper connection with the great outdoors. Today, we get to wish it a very Happy Birthday.
The good news just keeps coming out of Olympic National Park! One day into the summer of 2018, the park sent out a press release, notifying the public that the Spruce Railroad Trail was fully open! Now, you can walk the entire trail and enjoy the views and reconnect with the history of the region along the always stunning Lake Crescent.
On June 18th, 2018, Deer Park, one of the prettiest ridges in Olympic National Park, has reopened for hiking, driving and camping! The information was verified the morning of June 18th, by a tweet directly to us from Olympic National Park.
Deer Park, located 14.5 miles east of Hurricane Ridge, is known for stunning views and incredible hiking, as well as being one of the best accessible destinations to star gaze. Deer Park rests in the Olympic Rainshadow, allowing for a windswept ridge that often has some of the best weather in Western Washington. With 14 campsites facing away from the lights of Sequim, Victoria and the other towns of the Salish Sea, Deer Park makes for the ideal destination for those looking for epic views and stunning experiences a mile above the sea.
On June 12th, 2018, Olympic National Park opened the entirety of Obstruction Point Road! This amazingly scenic and stunning eight mile dirt road from Hurricane Ridge to Obstruction Point allows vehicles to travel along the remote ridge from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center Area. The final five miles opened quietly on the morning of the 12th, after a few weeks of access to the Waterhole area was granted to visitors of Washington State’s favorite National Park. In typical Olympic National Park fashion, the news was not announced via Press Release like every other Park in the United States.
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.
The mountain goats of the Olympic Mountains have been called everything from inspiring, to infamous and invasive, and each of these terms are correct. Bounding across the scree-fields and jagged peaks of the mountains in and around Olympic National Park and Forest, the mountain goats of Olympic National Park and Forest have become a highlight for hikers in the high country, but that will soon change. If all goes to plan, there will be no mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula in just a few years.
The value of Olympic National Park on residents and visitors to Washington State and the Olympic Peninsula is amazing. The 8th most-visited National Park in America, which has rainforests, mountains and wild coastlines, inspires wanderlust and a connection to nature, and fuels an entire regions economy. In the once depressed logging counties around the Olympic Peninsula, where jobs vanished faster than spotted owls, a thriving economy is emerging, fueled by wilderness and tourism. While the tourism industry is showing that it can take root in the region as a major industry, the news isn’t all blooming rhododendrons.
The seemingly never-ending wetness from the winter of 2017-18 has finally ended. We welcome warm temperatures, clear skies and the strange yellow orb glowing in the sky. With the change in the weather, signs of life are returning to the Pacific Northwest. While above average snow still sits on the mountains, spring has sprung in full force in the lower elevations. All along trails in majestic river valleys, trillium are popping up and wildflower seasons seems to be just around the corner. The warmer days also mean that larger animals who hibernate and/or become lethargic in the winter are starting to wake up. Black bears were reported to be active around Olympic National Park and Forest, letting us know that winter is officially over. It is starting to be bear season out on the trails of Olympic National Park, so hikers need to start being loud on the trails and making sure they continue to follow Leave No Trace and Wildlife Watching rules and regulations.
Glacier National Park, known as the backbone of America, is quickly readying itself for another busy summer. As one of America’s most-popular National Parks, Glacier has a tough job getting ready after each snowy winter season. Considered to be the crown of the continent, Glacier National Park gives visitors unrivaled access to pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. However, before we can all explore this amazing, alpine-wilderness destination, roads must be cleaned and cleared.
Heading to Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge this summer? Be prepared for some traffic delays due to needed construction starting on April 9th, 2018. While the delays may be a bummer to your trip to the Shangri-La of the Olympic Peninsula, don’t let the traffic stop you from visiting this stunning region. At worst, the delays, which take place on the first five miles of the gorgeous 17 mile road, will only be for 20 minutes at a time.