Every now and then, we get cool satellite images of the Pacific Northwest that leaves us in awe at the beauty of our home. Under clear skies, we get to see incredible glimpses of our corner of the world in ways unfathomable a few generations ago. On December 6th, 2016, after what seemed like months of rain and then a cold streak that brought lowland snow, the skies parted and let us stare in wonder at the snowy summits surrounding the Puget Sound.
Not those kind of bars, although a cool brew pub, pouring local beers at Paradise would be pretty cool too.
What we’re talking about is cell coverage & internet connectivity.
Mt. Rainier National Park received an application from Verizon and T-Mobile to install a wireless communications facility at Paradise. Mind you, this is not a giant tower.
On January 1st, 1925 the United States Forest Service released four mountain goats near Mount Storm King above Lake Crescent. The goats, from the Selkirk Mountains in Canada, were placed on Mount Storm King as an experiment to see how adaptable they would be to the rugged mountains of the Olympics. The goat’s ability to adapt, as well as reproduce, saw their numbers increase rapidly, making mountain goat sighting a frequent event on numerous peaks on the Olympic Peninsula. In July 2016, wildlife biologists from the National Park Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife counted mountain goats from a low-flying helicopter, focusing on ice-free areas above 4,500 feet in elevation in Olympic National Park and adjacent areas of Olympic National Forest. Now, thanks to an official report from the USGS, WDFW and the National Park Service, we finally have an official count.
Two miles off the Washington Coast in 2014, near the fishing mecca of Westport, a fisherman had quite a shock when he was pulling up his crab pit. As his crab pot came into view and he looked through the contents, he discovered something odd. What he found was part of a human head in a crab pot. He called the police, they impounded his crab pot and the skull and ran DNA tests with the FBI. No matches were found and the mystery of the head in the crab pot was forgotten. For two years, the skull was studied and analyzed and we finally have part of the mystery solved. Now, after Radio Carbon Dating tests were run at Beta Analytics in Miami, Fla., we have a few answers.
Two of Olympic National Park’s most-popular regions have been closed to the public since October storms washed away sections of the road. Now, after being closed for over a month, the Hoh Rainforest and Rialto beach will once again be open to your off-season adventures. This is great news for those hoping to #OptOutside on Black Friday and gives outdoor recreation enthusiasts yet another reason to head over to the western side of the Olympic Peninsula.
You now have ten more reasons to visit America’s National Parks in 2017! Starting in January, America’s National Park’s will open without entry fees for all who choose to explore the Nation’s best idea. From our stunning national parks and national historical parks, to our national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national seashores, 2017 is yet another year to #LoveOurPublicLands. There is at least one national park in every state, so don’t keep this message local. Spread the word!
In what appears to be yet another casualty of the wettest fall in Pacific Northwest history, access to one of the most pristine wilderness regions on the Olympic Peninsula is restricted. During one of the many storm events of 2016, the bridge crossing Lena Creek, leading into the Brothers Wilderness, was severely damaged. The bridge is impassible, with the National Forest Service issuing a strict warning to hikers to not cross the bridge at all. The impact of the damaged bridge also restricts access to campsites at the north end of Lena Lake, one of the most popular destinations on the eastern side of the Olympics.
Last week’s storm may have been a dud for many regions around the Pacific Northwest, but it did pack quite a punch to the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. During the storm that many in the Seattle area mocked online, the wet, windy and rough weather wreaked havoc in the area. Campgrounds were closed, trees fell and trapped a group of children on a field trip, and now many roads are full of debris or worse. According to Olympic National Park officials, cleanup from this storm may take quite a bit of time. After all, we are still working to repair roads from last year’s storms.
As potentially historic weather barrels down on the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park officials are taking no chances on the safety of the public. Starting at noon on Thursday, eight campgrounds and three main roads will be closed, with closures expected to last through the weekend. With a series of powerful storms start Thursday afternoon, where high winds and very heavy rain are anticipated, the risk of falling trees and limbs, flooding and road damage are all too real in the Pacific Northwest’s most popular National Park. The storm will be bringing near hurricane force winds, over a foot of rain and even dumping 90 inches of snow on Mount Olympus in just four days. This could be a storm for the record books and the park closures make perfect sense.
With a storm looming in the near future, Olympic National Park announced a road closure for the coming week. The road from the Mora Ranger Station to Rialto Beach will be closed at 7am on October 13th for approximately one week. The road closure has nothing to do with the incoming storm. Instead, it is to fix a damaged section of the road from a storm that hit the region last year. The road will be closed to ALL entry.
Out on the wilderness coast of Olympic National Park, stunning sights and sounds seem to be endless. As the crashing waves create the same soundtrack our ancestors heard millennia ago, exploration of the region leads to a calmness and a connection with nature that is long since lost by modern society. Earlier this week, before the series of storms is expected to slam into the Pacific Northwest, I took a trip to LaPush to enjoy the sun, warmth and solitude of Washington’s gorgeous stretch of wild coast. As the sun dropped in the horizon, it illuminated giant clouds in the distance, reminding me that my perfect day at the beach was a limited activity. A storm was coming and I got the first glimpse of the massive clouds on the horizon.
Dear residents of the Pacific Northwest,
The following weekend is going to be wet, windy an wild. You might lose power, you might see intense flooding, you might have trees come crashing down around your neighborhood. We might see numerous access roads to National Forest lands and National Parks washed out. We might experience the worst storm in 50 years and all hell could possible break loose. We ask you be prepared and know the weather. This is not the weekend to prove you are invincible. Be safe and smart and don’t take any unnecessary risks. While the South Sound and southern stretches of the Olympic Peninsula may be spared from the worst, we will still see some pretty rough weather.
As America’s National Park Service celebrated their 100th birthday, National Parks around the country saw a huge increase in visitors. Highlighted by the centennial celebrations and free entry to every 4th grader in the US, hundreds of millions flocked to experience the very best of America’s public lands. In the Northwest corner of Washington State, Olympic National Park was part of the visitation boom, seeing large amounts of visitors in every corner of the park. From the visitors centers to the backcountry trails, Olympic National Park’s summer was full of people from all over the world trying to experience true wilderness in the wildest lands of the Pacific Northwest.
The Quinault Rainforest’s Graves Creek Road is reopening just in time for wilderness enthusiasts to appreciate first-hand the rain and transformation of Olympic National Park’s saturated rainforests. You read that right- the Graves Creek Road in Olympic National Park is scheduled to reopen to vehicle traffic and campers on October 15th, 2016!
As winter is quickly approaching, Olympic National Park is closing down some popular camping regions to the public for the season. This is a normal announcement, but it is one that needs to be shared by all to make sure no-one drives far out of the way to discover their camping dreams are crushed. I couldn’t image traveling for hours and hours, getting more excited with every passing mile for a unique car camping experience in Olympic, only to find out that the destination of my daydreams wasn’t open. While a handful of campgrounds will be closing, many others will remain open year round, perfect for your off-season adventures into one of America’s favorite wilderness destinations. If you haven’t seen Olympic National Park in the winter, you are missing out on amazing views and experiences!
For the next two weeks, the Graves Creek Campground and access to Quinault Rainforest destinations like Pony Bridge and the Enchanted Valley will be off limits to all Olympic National Park visitors. Starting on Monday, September 19th, road crews will begin repairs along several sections of the Graves Creek Road. Since last winter, the road has been closed to vehicles due to large washouts caused by heavy rains and an always shifting riverbed. Access to Graves Creek was cut short, forcing backpackers and hikers to walk along the road for two extra miles before reaching the official start of the trail system in the region. The road is now closed to all access, including hikers, bicyclists and stock, and will closed for at least two weeks.
We’ve been in contact with Patti Case from the Green Diamond Resource Company, the company owning the land around the historical, magnificent and dangerous Vance Creek Bridge outside Shelton in Mason County. Yesterday we reported on the possible end of the bridge as Instagram knows it.
In the remote stretches of Mason County, out near the wilderness regions of the Olympic Peninsula, a historical structure is quietly being destroyed, one board at a time. What should be a major attraction to the area, the picturesque Vance Creek railroad bridge, spanning a forested creek, is being destroyed in secret. You can blame the trespassers, you can blame out of town vandals, but at the end of the day, we might have to start blaming the land owners. You are sitting on a tourism gold mine and instead of being a people-friendly company, you are appearing out of touch. Keeping this historical wonder to yourselves is an outdated way of thinking. You could turn this into a tourist destination, like British Columbia’s Kinsol Trestle and show that you are a company that cares about the region’s historical landmarks. Instead, we get silence.
Towering up like an erupting volcano in the distance, the Godkin and Hayes fires continue to rage above the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. Transforming the view from Olympic’s Hurricane Ridge region from a picturesque quiet panorama to a blazing, smoke filled inferno, those visiting the Olympic Peninsula are hard pressed to remember seeing a fire like this. While the smoke and flames are intimidating and scary, it is important to remember that fires in the region are normal and an important part of keeping a healthy forest. Thanks to a huge flare up of the Godkin and Hayes fires, 2,188 acres have been burnt, up from just 350 acres six days ago. With above average temperatures returning to the region, the fires are expected to grow in size and select roads and trails will continue to be closed.
Maybe the fire will be blown out on August 25th, when the National Park celebrates the centennial birthday…
On July 21st, Olympic National Park was rocked by over 400 lighting strikes during a turbulent storm that swept over western Washington. Many will remember that storm through the countless pictures on social media over lightning over the Space Needle, but out in the wilderness of Olympic, the lasting impact of the lightening is still being seen and smelled. The lightning at the end of July started four fires in the wilderness of Olympic, all of which have slowly grown larger with the warmer weather that has smothered the Pacific Northwest. The fires in Olympic National Park have now burnt 315 acres, a number that will surely increase a bit after tonight’s flareups and the continuing warm weather.