Process to move Chalet in Olympic National Park begins, Enchanted Valley closed to camping September 1-14

Enchanted Valley Chalet

The complicated process of moving a historic two-story building about 50 feet begins today, complicated because the Enchanted Valley Chalet in the Olympic National Park is 13 miles from any developed roads.
Jeff Monroe of Monroe House Moving tells us crews and pack mules are hiking in Wednesday, lifting on Saturday and should start moving late Saturday or first thing Sunday. Helicopter flys on Thursday and Friday weather permitting.
The Parks Service has closed the Enchanted Valley to camping for the first two weeks of September to accommodate crews working in the park.

Monroe House Moving, Inc. of Sequim, Washington has been awarded the contract to move the building.  The contractor plans to complete the relocation operation by mid-September, weather permitting. 

To protect contractor and visitor safety, Enchanted Valley will be closed to all public camping for the duration of the project, September 1 through 14.  

Hikers and stock users may continue to travel through the valley, but between September 1 and September 14, must be escorted by park staff.  The camping closure and escort-only hiking restriction extends from the steel bridge at the downstream end of Enchanted Valley (mile 13 on the East Fork Quinault River Trail) to one mile upriver of the chalet. 

The Graves Creek Stock Camp (located near the Graves Creek trailhead) will also be closed between September 1 and 14 to accommodate stock animals and handlers involved in transporting supplies and equipment during the project. 

“Visitor, employee and contractor safety is our top priority,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “Moving a two-story structure is inherently risky. We appreciate the public’s patience and cooperation during the process of relocating the chalet.” 

Using industry standard house-moving techniques, the contractor will move the Enchanted Valley Chalet a distance of 50 to 100 feet from its current location where it is undercut and in danger of collapsing into the East Fork Quinault River.  The threats to natural and wilderness resources posed by the structure collapsing into the river warrant temporary relocation of the building.  Additionally, preventing the chalet from imminent collapse will allow time to examine and plan for the long-term future of the structure. 

The chalet relocation project was examined in the “Emergency Action to Temporarily Relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet for the Protection of the East Fork Quinault River Environmental Assessment” (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued on July 25. 

The National Park Service is charged with protecting all of Olympic National Park’s priceless resources, from historic structures to fish, to the unique and irreplaceable character of the Olympic Wilderness. 

The Enchanted Valley Chalet is located 13 miles from the nearest road, deep within the Olympic Wilderness.  The chalet was constructed by Quinault Valley residents in the early 1930s, prior to establishment of Olympic National Park.  The chalet served for several decades as a backcountry lodge and more recently, as a wilderness ranger station and emergency shelter.  The chalet was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.    

Photos shared by park visitors in early January showed that the main channel of the East Fork Quinault River had migrated to within 18 inches of the 1930s-era chalet.  Last winter’s storms and high flows resulted in the Quinault’s main channel continuing to shift by at least 15 feet.   Recent photographs show that the river has undercut the building by approximately eight feet.  

Migration of the East Fork Quinault’s channel is common in the loose, unconsolidated soils of Enchanted Valley.  Storms, fallen trees, rockslides and simply the constant process of erosion can all cause the river to shift and carve a new channel. 

The EA and the FONSI, along with other supporting documents, are available for review at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/EVCEA.  

Elma Police, WSP Bomb Squad recover “sparkler bomb”

Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad

The Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad was in Elma over the weekend, after a large sparkler bomb with AWOL written on the side was discovered by Elma police in the 100 block of N. 15th Street just before noon Sunday near the Texaco station.
An Elma officer found it on the ground, and described it as about a foot long, 8 inches in diameter with a green fuse about 2 feet long. The bomb squad collected, then detonated it just outside of town.

Two vehicle accident blocks Eastbound State Route 101 in Aberdeen

Aberdeen traffic accident

Traffic on Eastbound State Route 101 through Aberdeen resumes this morning, after an hour of road closure near Wishkah and Park street as crews responded to a traffic accident in the area. Eastbound State Route 101 (Park street) was closed and being diverted down Wishkah street. Aberdeen and Hoquiam first responders helped to extract multiple passengers from a full size van that came to rest upside down facing traffic. A full size Chevy truck with front-end damage was up against the light post nearby.
No details on injuries or cause have been provided yet.

 

Grays Harbor College launches “Plus 50″ Program with free computer workshop

Grays Harbor College campus

Grays Harbor College launches the new Plus 50 Encore Completion program with a free computer workshop on Saturday, September 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Whiteside Education Center in Aberdeen.

Plus 50 is a new program designed for adults age of 50 and older who, for various reasons, are seeking new career directions. Workshops, such as the September 13 computer class, are offered at no charge for these returning students considering new careers in the fields of healthcare, education and social services.

Bethany Barnard is the College’s Plus 50 Career Coach, based at the Whiteside facility where the workshop will take place. This computer workshop will be the first in a series of many workshops scheduled to help Plus 50-eligible students prepare to return to college.

As she points out, “GHC has several certificate and degree programs that will be included in our Plus 50 programming as career pathways for the health care, education and social service fields. These include two-year degrees in Early Childhood Education, Medical Records, CNA, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Human Services and, in partnership with City University, we offer an onsite pathway to a Bachelors in Education.”

Barnard also explains that the College offers certificate programs as well, specifically in Bookkeeping, Business Technology, Formatting /Publishing Business Documents, Microcomputer Applications, Microsoft Office Applications, Office Professional Certification, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Human Services, Medical Records Office Assistant, Medical Coding, Medical Transcription, Practical Nursing, and Nursing Assistant Training.

“Our free Plus 50 computer and career exploration workshops will help adult students make the decision to come back to GHC and train for a new job. These are exciting times and we are here to lend a hand,” Barnard adds.

For further information about the  September 13 workshop and others that are being planned, contact Plus 50 Career Coach Bethany Barnard at [email protected] or 360.533.9733.

Unmanned Aircraft Use banned from Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Olympic National Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.

“The use of unmanned aircraft would create unacceptable safety risks to park visitors, as well as impacts to visitor experience and enjoyment of the natural sights and sounds of Olympic National Park,”  said Sarah Creachbaum, Olympic National Park Superintendent.  “Additionally, the Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibits the use of motorized equipment within designated wilderness, which comprises 95 percent of the park.”

The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

More information about the closure and other Olympic National Park regulations is contained in the Superintendent’s Compendium, available on the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/olym/parkmgmt/upload/2014-Compendium-signed_20140818155824-1.pdf

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