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Help Olympic National Park Plan for Wilderness Management

Posted by Andrea Imler at Mar 26, 2014 11:00 AM |

Learn about Olympic National Park draft plans for managing the park’s wilderness on everything from trails to bear canisters to self-registration stations. Then, find out how to weigh in.

Olympic National Park would like to hear from you regarding its draft plans for managing the park’s official wilderness areas (comprising 95 percent of the park) on everything from trails to bear canisters to self-registration stations.

Public comments informed draft wilderness plan

In 2013, Olympic National Park reviewed comments submitted by the public during the initial development phase of the Wilderness Stewardship Plan. They also collected additional data and conducted a visitor use survey. Now that the park has produced its Wilderness Stewardship Plan Preliminary Draft Alternatives document, it is looking for help from hikers and others to inform their planning process.

Options for managing wilderness trails, campsites, permits and more

Right now, there are three new “alternatives” or options for managing Olympic Wilderness:

  • Alternative B: an “emphasis placed on the reduction of the human imprint”
  • Alternative C: an “emphasis placed on the protection of natural resources"
  • Alternative D: an “emphasis placed on managing visitor use and recreation to provide visitors with a greater range of wilderness experiences”
  • There is also a “no action” alternative (Alternative A) which is defined as a continuation of existing management practices.

The Wilderness Stewardship Plan adopts a new zone approach to managing trails, campsites, day and overnight backcountry permits and other features in wilderness. Each alternative defines wilderness management a little differently, but all three have proposed changes that could impact hikers in the park, such as requiring bear canisters throughout the park and removing self-registration stations within Olympic Wilderness. The alternatives also dictate the level of maintenance for trails and historic structures like the Enchanted Valley Chalet, which is dangerously close to collapsing into the East Fork Quinault River.

Since this is an early draft, the options may change or increase before the next round of input from the public.

Ensuring hiker access to trails

WTA is analyzing the Preliminary Draft Alternatives and will be providing feedback to the park, with an eye toward ensuring and enhancing hiker access to trails. Stay tuned to find out more about the Wilderness Stewardship Plan.

Two simple steps to take action

Step 1: Learn about the initial proposed changes

Attend a public meeting. Olympic National Park is hosting three upcoming public meetings where you can learn more about the Wilderness Stewardship Plan, have your questions answered and provide your initial feedback.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Quinault Lake School
Amanda Park, WA 98526
Phone: 360.288.2260

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Civic Center (Meeting Room 1)
525 W. Cota Street
Shelton, WA 98584
Phone: 360.426.4441

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Seattle Public Library
Wright/Ketcham Room; Level 4, Room 2
1000 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA
Phone: 206.386.4636

Can't make a meeting? Details on the draft alternatives can be found on the park’s website, and we'll make sure to keep you up to date here on the Signpost blog.

Step 2: Raise your voice when the time comes

Sign up for our Trail Action Network, and as the process develops over the year, we'll make sure to let you know when it's essential to weigh in.