Yeah, access to the Elwha is limited. Again.
After being only open for three weeks after being closed for 14 months. Hopefully, this closure is much shorter. In case you haven’t noticed, February has been a wet one. Records are close to being broken for the wettest February on record in Seattle and the story is the same on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Heavy rains over the last few days have flooded our rivers and swollen our streams, resulting in closures to one of Olympic National Park’s most vulnerable regions of access. Olympic Hot Springs Road, also know and The Elwha Road, is closed yet again after being open for only three weeks.
On January 27th, we reported that Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz had introduced a bill titled HR 621, which would open up 3.3 million acres of Federal Land across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. The outrange was immediate. All around social media, at protests in Montana’s Capitol and flooding the emails and answering machines of Congress, the American people stood up against the attack on Public Lands. Now, it appears like our message was victorious.
If Republicans have their way, drilling could become commonplace in over 40 National Parks around the country. Known as H.J. Res. 46, the bill seeks to undue the rules and regulations set up in 1978 to protect National Parks under a series of rules known as 9B. Currently, there are over forty National Parks that have a “split estate” ownership, where the federal government owns the surface of the region, but not the underground mineral rights. That can all change on Friday, February 3rd, if Congress pushes this through.
Olympic National Park is known for numerous awesome natural wonders. From moss-covered rainforests in old-growth forests to cascading waterfalls plunging into rough, salmon stocked rivers, we have it all out here. When we want a hike along the ocean to look at sea-stacks, the Olympic National Park has us covered. Neah Bay to Ocean Shores and from Olympia to Port Angeles, the Olympic Peninsula is full of awesome sights that inspire millions each year. Sadly, one of the sights that have been consistent for thousands of years is slowly leaving the region, and it might be too late to stop it from vanishing for good.
The Elwha is once again open to vehicle traffic, for the first time since late November 2015, when a series of severe storms brought heavy rain and flooding to the Elwha River. During that storm, approximately 90 feet of roadway washed out, with additional sections severely eroded and damaged by flood waters. While the road opening is great, keep in mind of a few things.
Get ready folks.
Mount Rainier National Park will begin accepting online reservation requests for wilderness camping and climbing permits, including overnight trips on the Wonderland Trail. If you were thinking of camping at Mount Rainier or taking on the Wonderland Trail, you better be ready and fast.
January 22nd, 2017 at 12:05 PM. A magnitude 3.6 earthquake hit in the southern stretches of Olympic National Park near the Quinault Rainforest. Originating near the headwaters of the Wynoochee River, the quake came from a depth of 40km. While a quick call to a friend told me that the shaking was felt in the Quinault region, the are no reports of damage to structures or really any issues at all. This quake follows another smaller quake, a magnitude 2.6, located near Humptulips two mornings earlier. Earthquakes are common in the PNW and this latest jolt shouldn’t cause panic. Last year, also in January, over 2,000 small quakes made their way down the Hood Canal. Nothing bad came from that.
I figured it would take a few days or week. I thought that the first hundred days would be focused on issues like healthcare, immigration and trade. I didn’t think for one minute that within twelve hours of our new President swearing in on a bible, that he would come after the National Park Service. Whether you supported Trump, Hillary, Bernie, Jill or anyone else, this is an important precedent that has just been set. Our new President is restricting speech.
2016 was an excellent year for Olympic National Park, seeing what is slated to be its 6th most-popular year on record. In 366 days of 2016, thanks to a leap day thrown in at the end of February, over 3.4 million people are estimated to have experienced the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Northwest’s favorite National Park. In fact, the year was so good that it nearly became a top five year for this incredible stretch of Pacific Northwest wilderness, missing out on passing 2001’s numbers by mere thousands. For 2016, Olympic was once again the seventh most-visited National Park in America, continuing a streak of top 10 listings since records were officially started in 1979.
As we near the end of the year, many will celebrate the end of a rough 2016. While it wasn’t an ideal year for many, it was a still a banner year for nature, The Outdoor Society and the hiking community. In a year that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Parks, witnessed an election that divided the country and experienced incredible weather events, we saw our greatest year yet. Receiving amazing traffic to the website, fantastic book sale numbers and dozens of stunning trips to the best scenic wonderlands in the West, 2016 was a good year for The Outdoor Society. We thank you all for your support and have even more amazing things planned in 2017.
As a brutal and difficult 2016 ends and the days of 2017 become a reality, we are taking one last look back at and celebrating an awesome year for America’s National Parks. In 2016, over 80 million people visited one of America’s 59 National Parks on the centennial of their creation. All across the country, millions of people explored America’s best idea, all looking to reconnect to someplace wild, beautiful and soul soothing. From the Smoky Mountains to the desserts of Joshua Tree and everywhere in between, the following areas encouraged and inspired future generations to connect and protect these beautiful destinations.
Snow has fallen all around the lowlands of the Pacific Northwest, so you know what time it is!
Welcome to the first of many snowpack updates for the Olympic Mountains for the winter of 2016-17. As I am writing this, I am watching the four inches of snow we received last night in Olympia melt away while looking at forecasts for more snow in the Olympic Mountains. So far, this winter has been great for building up our snowpack and the trend of snow in the mountains without serious melt-off looks to continue. Did you see the Olympics, covered in snow, from space?
Join us in downtown Olympia at Three Magnets Brewing on December 19th. There will be stories, laughs, calendars and good times!
Our LIVE events are held at Three Magnets Brewing in downtown Olympia.
They have delicious beer and food and have a family-friendly atmosphere.
Three Magnets Brewing Co. – 600 Franklin St SE Olympia, WA 98501
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.