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.
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!