Happy 105th Birthday, National Park Service. I am so happy for you.
Those words seem weak, lacking my true feelings in a commonly stated platitude. Sure, I could add an exclamation point, but even that comes up short. “Thank you” means nothing, compared to what you have done for me. You have changed my life; you redirected a lost soul with your majestic beauty and endless adventures. You let a dreamer have a place to dream and gave a kid who felt more at home walking alone in the woods a place to rekindle a relationship with his soul. You have taken away stresses and pain and replaced them with tear-jerking panoramas more stunning than any picture can capture. You saved me from a life of regret and pain and mistakes of my 20’s; you let me blaze a new trail for my life, passing through the purest wilderness in existence. You are my soul mate and it might be fucking cheesy to say it, but I don’t care. I owe you my life, National Park Service, and nothing I can do or say will ever repay you for what you mean to me.
The most famous building in Olympic National Park isn’t found on a park road or an easy to get to trail. Instead, it is buried deep in the rainforest along the Quinault River. Thirteen miles from the nearest parking lot, the Enchanted Valley Chalet has been a backpacking destination for generations. For many, a trip to the Enchanted Valley Chalet is an annual backcountry journey, a rite-of-passage for outdoor enthusiasts in the Evergreen State. But that tradition may not last too much longer.
This summer, toe the line, race your heart and explore the twisted, beautiful trails at Olympia’s L.B.A. Park. This recently preserved forest in the south-eastern part of Olympia will play host to the area’s newest, and hottest trail race. The Outdoor Society is super excited to bring you this brand new outdoor adventure activity to the South Sound.
Located at the picturesque southern tip of the Puget Sound, Olympia is at the halfway point between Seattle and Portland along I-5. Hugged by two incredible National Parks, with dozens of large and small recreation areas right within the city limits and in the surrounding area, Washington’s capitol has seemingly endless outdoor adventures opportunities.
We’re experiencing a renaissance of small city living in America. The only good jobs aren’t just in high rise office buildings in metropolitan areas anymore. The standard of living increasingly is higher in mid-size cities conveniently connected, but not overcrowded and paved over for miles each way.
Reaching the outdoors is not hard. There’s no bad time of the day to drive through town, and parks aren’t overcrowded on sunny days.
On the afternoon of May 22nd, 2018, a press release sent out by Mount Rainier National Park reached the inboxes of journalists and Mount Rainier enthusiasts, telling us that cell service would soon be added to the Paradise region of the park. Within minutes, the news spread like a wildfire throughout social media, primarily places frequented by the old guard, Pacific Northwest hiking community. The announcement by the park was met by angry hyperbole, as many outdoor enthusiasts around the region claimed wilderness was now lost for good at Mount Rainier. This is not the case at all. In fact, this is great news for visitors to the park.
We have all seen the headlines telling us that National Parks are being loved to death. Around the country, this headline is the clickbait of the day for outdoors sections of newspapers and bloggers. Headlined by pictures of crowds on our Public Lands, the articles all read the same; one way or another always blaming the influx of visitors. While these stories do have a slight degree of fact to them, the bottom line is that National Parks are not being loved to death. Plain and simple, our parks have not matched the growing desire and demand for nature experiences with our growing population.
Yellowstone National Park officials are reporting that on May 1st, 2018, a woman was butted in the thigh, pushed, and tossed off a trail by a bison in the Old Faithful area. As usual, a quasi-panic ensued by click-hungry newspapers and bloggers around the country. I mean, we are even writing a post. However, we are trying to not get caught up in typical fear mongering, which tends to happen after animal incidents in Yellowstone, we are instead sticking to trying to prevent any more incidents.
In case you missed the news, Secretary Zinke and the Department of Interior WILL NOT be upping entrance fees to $70 per visit to our National Parks. With hundreds of thousands of comments, 99% of which were against the ridiculous fee increase, Interior backed away from the proposal. While we should celebrate the fact that our voices mattered in this, I regret to let you know that I am the bearer of bad news.