In the current climate of political uncertainty, America’s Public Lands are under constant attack. Whether it is a desire to drill in and around National Parks, continue to slash a budget that is already barebones or even refuse to allow hiring at the numerous lands ran by the Department of Interior, it is simple: our National Parks are being undervalued. Even locally, many towns around the region want to open up logging or mining in and around our most cherished of public lands, saying it will boost the economy, create jobs and all of their other outdated talking points. Today, we get to prove them wrong and hopefully shut them up for good. Our public lands are revenue generators and help sustain the American way. This is a fact.
In 2016, 1.4 Million park visitors spent an estimated $50.7 Million in local gateway regions while visiting Mount Rainier National Park. The 1.4 million was the highest visitation total since 1995, showing that the iconic volcano in the Pacific Northwest received a great boost from the National Parks turning 100 years old. The expenditures brought in by visitors supported a total of 654 jobs, $23.3 Million in labor income, $40.3 Million in value added, and $64.8 Million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Mount Rainier National Park.
GOOD NEWS: THE WASHOUT HAS BEEN “FIXED”
As of 4/24/2017, the road to Graves Creek is once again open. We called Olympic National Park this morning and asked if the road was open. They did confirm that the road was indeed open once again. On a personal note, they could have been slightly less condescending to us when replying.
On April 2nd, around 3:48PM, a small plane reportedly crashed on the snowy slopes of Mount Jupiter on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula, with two individuals airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle by Search and Rescue personnel from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Search and Rescue. Injuries are said to be minor to the two individuals onboard and are not believed to be life threatening. The location of the crash has been determined to be near Mount Jupiter, inside Olympic National Park.
Via Yellowstone National Park: Early Wednesday morning, March 15, a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt. This is the first confirmed bear sighting this year, although bear tracks have been observed since February 22. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.
Story via North Cascades National Park:
An avalanche occurred in the early morning hours on Friday March 10, 2017 in the gorge east of Newhalem, WA. The avalanche completely obstructed State Route 20 at approximately milepost 122.5, immediately east of the first tunnel. No one was injured in the avalanche. Area avalanche conditions were rated by the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) as High at the time. Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced on Friday they would not clear the debris based on avalanche danger in the Gorge, and the situation would be reassessed on Monday, March 13, 2017.
On the evening of February 22nd, 2017, residents of the South Puget Sound were jostled by a 4.2 earthquake centered on the Kitsap Peninsula. With a bang being heard before the shock waves arrived, the quake jostled everyone’s nerves a little, while no damage or landslides occurred. For those keeping record, this was the largest earthquake in the Puget Sound since December of 2015. For most who felt it, it was just another small quake out here in the PNW. While everyone has moved on, few realize that the ground has been shaking in the region for the entire month, with nearly 2,000 small earthquakes moving the Puget Sound since February 1st and 1,000 in the last week.
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?