The Outdoor Society has received unconfirmed reports that a fire is burning on the bottom of the trestle of the Vance Creek Bridge in Mason County, Washington. According to numerous social media reports we have been directed to, as well as a source we have in the area, a fire is burning under the famous bridge’s trestle, presumably started by trespasser in the region celebrating America’s birthday. Early reports are saying that the fire is two acres in size and the bridge is still standing.
Fireworks are the leading theory for the cause of the fire, currently burning in an area where firefighters can only use helicopters to try and douse the flames. Those in the area reported smelling the burning of the railroad ties on the bridge, as well as seeing smoke rising from nearby vantage points. Calls to the land owner and fire department have not been returned, but we expect to only hear confirmation. We will continue to monitor this story as we can and report what we hear.
Have your Voice Heard!
Located in a picturesque rainforest valley, under the shadows of rocky peaks and quickly melting glaciers, Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley is one of the most popular and scenic backpacking destinations in the National Park Service. Now located 15 miles from the nearest trailhead, the Enchanted Valley lives up to its name, casting a spell on all who wander to this remote destination. Home to bear, waterfalls, majestic views and the shores of a glacial fed, rainforest river, for many the highlight is the historic chalet in the valley. Built in the 1930s, the Chalet has been an iconic structure deep within the wilderness of America’s rainforest park.
On Tuesday, June 7th, Yellowstone National Park officials responded to a call about a tourist incident at the Norris Geyser Basin region of the park. As this is being written, park staff are working to retrieve the body of the individual who reportedly left the boardwalk in the geyser and hot springs area. The hot springs that the body is in is said to be .13 miles from the boardwalk. This is the first fatality of what promises to be a difficult season for Yellowstone National Park Rangers.
As we have been reporting all year, the snowpack of Washington State is quickly vanishing after a slightly above average snowfall last winter. Right now, the majority of Washington State is below 50% of average snowpack, with some regions close to or at zero. The Olympic Mountains, which The Outdoor Society primarily focuses on, are at a staggeringly low 5% of normal. The only location in all of Washington that has a mostly normal snowpack are the mountains surrounding Mount Rainier. Otherwise, the situation is looking bleak. After a non-existent winter in 2014-15, we were hoping that this year’s snow would help restore normalcy to the area and that streams and rivers would be at strong flows all summer long. The warm temperatures that we have been experiencing and will continue to experience are shattering those hopes.
Sad news out of Yellowstone National Park this morning. In a press release from park officials, an update on the bison placed in a tourists SUV was given. Because of the actions of the visitors, which infuriated and angered many, the bison calf that was picked up and placed in the back of a car last week was forced to be euthanized by park officials. According to the park, the bison calf had to be euthanized because it was abandoned and was causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.
I feel bad for the National Park Rangers who work in Yellowstone. Upon entering the park, they give you a stack on information and make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations of the park. They answer questions with a smile on their face and hope for the best with each passing carload of guests. Sadly, more and more often, people are proving that they have absolutely zero understanding of how to behave in and with nature. After last year’s ridiculousness of tourists getting too close to bison, you’d have thought we would have seen it all. We were wrong.
Back in October of 2015, the endless summer of warm temperatures and sunny days suddenly vanished, replaced by endless, record setting rainfall and a ridiculously healthy snowpack in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Skiers and snowboarders rejoiced as their mountains became white and fluffy, while hikers slogged along on muddy, soaked trails. Numerous roads around the state were washed away, trees fell in cities and trails, and the entire Pacific Northwest experienced one of the nastiest winters on record. We were told that it was good and that the snowpack in the mountains would last well into summer. We were reassured that we had recovered from the historic drought of 2015 and that last winter was our savior.
It seemed that many of the cable media news forecasters thought they were correct and that the snowpack would last a long time. Those of us watching the weather stations around the state’s mountains, knew better. As we monitored the snowpack each week, we were seeing something different.
You can have your cake in nature too!
On Saturday, May 14th, Olympic National Park will celebrate the centennial of National Parks on the Staircase region. Taking place on a Saturday, visitors are encouraged to show up early and enjoy the events that will take place between the hours of 10:30am and 3:30pm. This is FREE event and is family-friendly, hopefully inspiring you to #FindYourPark and fall in love with the Staircase region of Olympic. Dress for the any weather, wear sturdy walking shoes, bring a lunch and be ready to fall in love with one of The Outdoor Society’s favorite destinations.
In yet another way to encourage Americans to #FindYourPark, Olympic National Park is holding a BioBlitz on May 20th and 21st in three regions of the nation’s 7-th most-visited National Park. During those two days, Olympic is going to be holding 11 events that highlight the amazing biodiversity of the region. From the Elwha to the Hoh, and the areas around the Port Angeles Visitor Center, this event is an awesome way to help explore nature, help scientists and get to know your local park even better.
In a study released today by the National Park Service, America’s National Parks continue to prove themselves to be catalysts for economic development and job creation. In 2015, America’s National Parks provided a $32 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 295,000 jobs. The press release went on to show that visitor spending in 2015 supported 295,000 jobs, provided $11.1 billion in labor income, $18.4 billion in value added, and $32.0 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. Our National Parks are continuing to grow in popularity and have become economic cornerstones for thousands of communities across the country.
The good news coming out of the Pacific Northwest just doesn’t seem to stop! According to a tweet sent by the Washington State Department of Transportation, State Route 20, better known as the North Cascades Highway, will reopen at 11 am Friday, April 22! The road had been closed for 37 miles since last November, granting access to stunning views for only the hardcore outdoor adventurers. Now, the road has been plowed and everyone with two or four wheels can drive up and see the stunning sights from one of America’s most-scenic stretches of road.
Great news, Mount Rainier lovers!
The road to Paradise is now going to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until winter snows close it again in late 2016. For the foreseeable future, access to one of the prettiest high-alpine regions in America is no longer restricted. According to a tweet sent on the morning of April 18th, 2016, Mount Rainier National Park officials announced the 24 hour opening of the gate from Longmire to Paradise. Now, visitors and locals to the region can head up late at night for stargazing and even enjoy both sunrises and sunsets from one of the most iconic mountains in America.
America’s first National Park is giving quite the gift to the American public for 2016’s National Park Week. While most parks will be giving are entrance to their parks, numerous events and awesome Junior Ranger programs, Yellowstone National Park is opening road to a few of the most picturesque destination in America. According to a National Park Service press release, Canyon and Old Faithful will once again be open to car travel, starting Friday, April 15th at 8am. From West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, visitors to the World’s original National Park can see a few sites that inspired protected lands.
From the Desk of Olympic National Park:
Children of all ages are invited to bring their favorite adult to National Junior Ranger Day at Olympic on Saturday, April 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Olympic’s Junior Ranger Day will take place at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center located at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles.
We’ve been posting quite a few articles this Winter on how the weather battered the park. Downed trees and and rising rivers forced closures from Staircase to Elwah.
But, the sun is out and the staff of the Olympic National Park is getting ready for a busy Summer season.
Here is the official update which dropped into our mailbox today on what is open and what’s closed:
Despite extremely warm temperatures and sunny skies to end March and start April, the snowpack of the Olympic Mountains has barely changed. In fact, it appear that in the higher elevations, barely any snow had melted. Many of you will probably assume that the high temperatures put a nice dent in our snowpack, but the reality is that we have had an extremely wet and snowy winter. It will take more than four days of sun to start melting a significant amount of our above average amount. Serious snow melt-off didn’t happen last week, as I predicted. However, forecasts are calling for even warmer days in the next week, which could help double last week’s melt off.
Lightning destroys the summer hopes and dreams of thousands of backpackers to Mount Rainier National Park.
You can blame the weather and our reliance on technology, I guess.
According to rumors from park rangers, a lightning storm helped ruin the old reservation system for backcountry permits in Mount Rainier National Park. All who applied for backcountry camping permits, including permits for the Wonderland Trail, are subject to first-come, first-serve reservations.
For anyone that has headed out on a hike into the elevation of the Olympics, you know that the snowpack in the mountains is quite impressive this year. Last year, when we should have been neck deep in powder on our favorite trails, we were met with snow-free summits and dry creek beds. Hikers were spoiled last winter, heading out into the higher elevations early in the year, fueling an entire year of wanderlust quenching treks and destinations. Last year, the snow was non-existent and people roamed the mountain tops like the mountain goats placed in the region. That was then. This is now. We have a huge snowpack and I confidently predict it will last until at least June.
Due to ridiculously strong spring storm heading toward the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park officials have decided to close six of the most-popular areas of the region to ensure public safety. Winds over 60MPH are threatening to cause a havoc, and the park wants to prevent visitors and employees from being injured or trapped by falling trees or branches. These closures should be taken seriously, and avoiding heaving forested regions s the smart thing to do. The areas of Olympic that are closed will remain closed until at least Monday morning, when park staff will analyze the damage and ensure that the danger of falling branches and trees is minimal. Strong winds, combined with heavy rain and a high surf are forecasted for the region. All warnings and closures should be taken seriously!