What can be done to save the Historic Enchanted Valley Chalet in the Olympic National Park?

The Enchanted Valley Chalet in the Olympic National Park is reaching a tipping point, 13 miles above the Graves Creek trail head in the Quinault Valley, the historic chalet is loosing ground to the the East Fork of the Quinault River.

Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said they are reviewing what can be done, however “One thing that’s off the table right now would be going in and inserting [inaudible] into the bank. The bank is a 12 foot vertical and it is inside the wilderness boundary, and we are directed by law to let natural processes run so that’s a little bit tricky.”

The National Parks Department said the river has shifted toward the home by at least 15 feet in the past three months, and as of late last week was undercutting the chalet by about four feet.

The National Park Service said earlier this month that as it has for many years, the main channel of the East Fork Quinault River has continued to move across the Enchanted Valley floodplain this winter, further eroding the river bank and undermining the 1930s-era Enchanted Valley Chalet.

This winter’s storms and high flows have resulted in the Quinault’s main channel shifting by at least 15 feel in the past three months.  As of late last week, the river had undercut the chalet by approximately four feet.

“Within what is technically and economically feasible, we continue to do our very best to protect the area’s natural and cultural resources and its wilderness character,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “Our options are limited, however, given the size and force of the river and the valley’s remote location within the Olympic Wilderness.”

An Olympic National Park crew recently returned from Enchanted VAlley, where they assessed and documented the Chalet’s condition and removed equipment, supplies and hazardous materials.  The building’s windows were also removed to both prevent glass from impacting the river and downstream natural resources and to preserve elements of the historic building.

Park staff continues to work closely with partners to develop the best course of action, both in the long and short term.  Key partners include the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer, Pacific West Regional Office of the National Park Service and concerned organizations and citizens.

“We understand that the Chalet occupies an important place in the history of this area, and we know that people hold deep regard and affection for the building,” said Creachbaum.  “We invite anyone who’d like to share photos or memories of the Chalet to post them on our Olympic National Park Facebook page.”

The park’s Facebook page is found at https://www.facebook.com/OlympicNPS.  The page, including a new album of Enchanted Valley photos, is visible to anyone with internet access.  People must have a Facebook profile in order to post their own photos and memories, however.

In early January, photographs and visitor reports revealed that the Quinault River had migrated to within 18 inches of the building.  Subsequent aerial photos illustrated the river’s continued movement toward the chalet.

Migration of the East Fork Quinault’s channel is common particularly 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.

Located 13 miles up trail from the Graves Creek trailhead in Quinault Valley, the chalet was build by Quinault Valley residents in the early 1930s, prior to establishment of Olympic Natiaonal Park.  It served as a lodge for hikers and horse riders until the early 1940s.

Enchanted Valley is within the Olympic Wilderness, designated in 1988, and is a popular wilderness destination.  More recently, the chalet has been used as a backcountry ranger station and emergency hikers’ shelter.  The chalet was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

WDFW to review status of western gray squirrel, seeks public comment

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking updated information on western gray squirrels as the agency reviews the species’ threatened status in Washington.

WDFW is looking for information on topics such as the condition of western gray squirrel habitat, population levels in different regions, or private conservation efforts that have benefitted the species.

“The scientific data we gather from individuals as well as private and public groups will help the department determine whether to reclassify the western gray squirrel,” said Penny Becker, WDFW listing and recovery section manager.

The agency will accept public input on western gray squirrels through March 28, 2015.

Once hunted in Washington, western gray squirrels have been protected in the state since 1944 and were added to the state’s list of threatened species in 1993.

Western gray squirrels historically were more widespread in Washington but today inhabit three isolated regions: the Puget Trough in Pierce County; the southeastern foothills of the Cascade range (primarily Klickitat county); and the North Cascades (Chelan and Okanogan counties). The amount of suitable habitat for the species has declined due to the effects of urbanization, logging and land conversion, Becker said.

WDFW initiated this review after accepting a citizen petition to consider giving western gray squirrels a greater level of protection by elevating the species’ status to endangered. The petition presented sufficient information to warrant a more detailed status review, Becker said.

“We were planning to evaluate the status of western gray squirrels as part of the initiative we announced earlier this year to review all species currently listed in Washington as endangered, threatened or sensitive,” Becker said. “The petition just bumped up how soon we’ll look at western gray squirrels.”

Written information may be submitted through WDFW’s website athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/endangered/status_review/comments.html, via email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Penny Becker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

WDFW would seek additional public comment should the agency propose a change to the western gray squirrel’s listing status in Washington.

For more on western gray squirrels and other species under review, visit WDFW’s website athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/endangered/status_review/ .



The Decline of the Western Gray Squirrel

The western gray squirrel was added to Washington’s list of state threatened species in 1993 when surveys indicated a decline in its geographical distribution. The species was once common at low to mid-elevations in dry forests where oak, pine, and Douglas-fir mix, and could be found in the south Puget Trough and Columbia River gorge and on the east slope of the Cascades north to Okanogan County. Its range is now limited to three isolated populations and each of these has serious threats to their continued persistence. These threats include (1) habitat loss and degradation from human development, catastrophic wild fires, logging, fire suppression, and invasion by weeds; (2) highway mortality; (3) disease (e.g., mange, tularemia); (4) possible competition with eastern gray, eastern fox, and California ground squirrels, and wild turkeys; and (5) potential loss of genetic diversity and inbreeding resulting from the small sizes and isolation of populations. State lawRCW 77.15.130 protects nest trees used by western gray squirrels. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists will consult with landowners to protect and enhance oak/conifer habitat.

$75-thousand in damages, no injuries reported from Aberdeen house fire

Aberdeen firefighters chased a blaze into the walls of a two story home just before midnight Sunday night. Battalion Chief Troy Palmer tells us smoke was visible from the first floor when crews arrived in the 1000 block of Lafeyette. Palmer reported no injuries, and said the two alarm fire did about $75,000 in damages. A cause in under investigation.

A total of 19 firefighters responded, including 2 firemen from Hoquiam and 4 fire engines.

Multiple arrests at alleged drug house in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Police arrested five at a busy home on West First street last night. Corporal Darrin King tells us neighbors living next to a gas station are getting fed up with traffic in and out of this home. “There’s just traffic coming in and out of there all night long and the neighbors are fed up about it and they’re calling. So we’re just trying to help them get their neighborhood back.”
One of their neighbors told the city council last week “I would like to know how I could help, you could help, and the police could help us get rid of the drug dealers that are in the house. We’ve had the people across the street there’s a lot of activity all the time – all but daytime they sleep. They break into the house next to me, they leave their needles all over. I think if we all could help each other we could make this a better thing for everybody and make the community safer.”
Corporal King said another person was arrested Friday night, all on various charges, adding that the home has been on ‘their list’ for some time.

Man ditches car in Aberdeen after hit-and-run in Hoquiam, arrested in foot

A Hit and Run driver was reported early this morning at speeds of over 70 miles per hour between Hoquiam and Aberdeen. He was picked up after attempting to ditch his car near the Aberdeen Animal Shelter.

Hoquiam Sgt. Mitchel tells us it started just after 1 this morning, when a silver car struck a parked car in the 2700 block of Cherry street. A witness followed the car and reported it, until they were outrun on Simpson.

Mitchel said Hoquiam and Aberdeen police found him walking on State street a short time later. The 32 year old Aberdeen man was arrested for DUI and Hit and Run, his vehicle was severely damaged.

Multiple agencies converge on two locations to make suspected Child Pornography arrest in Mason County

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, Detectives from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, the Seattle Police Department and the Squaxin Island Department of Public Safety served multiple search warrants at the same time in two different locations, Belfair and Seattle.  The person suspected of possession of Child Pornography resides in Belfair, but works in Seattle, so multiple search warrants for his residence, workplace and person were all served simultaneously by two teams of Detectives.
Back in 2004, Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury signed a memorandum of understanding, assigning one of his Detectives to the Washington State Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, where a mutual partnership with agencies throughout the state work to stop the sexual abuse of children.
This specific case began when the assigned ICAC Detective received a “CyberTip” from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, that a person living in Belfair, uploaded depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  The investigation found through multiple search warrant services who the person was, where they lived and where they worked.
A simultaneous service of multiple search warrants was then orchestrated in order for the prevention of any evidence that may be destroyed.  One team of Detectives from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, the Seattle Police Department and the Squaxin Island Department of Public Safety served a warrant at the suspect’s residence in Belfair, confiscating computers, computer equipment, cellular devices and depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  The second team of Detectives from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office and the Seattle Police Department served two warrants at the suspect’s workplace and on the suspect’s person in downtown Seattle.  Cellular devices and computer equipment were confiscated and the suspect was arrested and transported to the Mason County Jail.
Sheriff Casey Salisbury stated that having a good working relationship with other agencies in the state helps to bring suspects to justice in order to protect our children.  If we can apprehend those that possess and view child pornography, we can help stop the sexual abuse of our children.  Sheriff Salisbury also wanted to thank the Detectives from the Seattle Police Department and the Squaxin Island Department of Public Safety for the work and dedication to help his Detectives.
Due to the on going investigation, no further information will be released at this time.  The identity of the suspect arrested will be released after he is seen before a Mason County Superior Court Judge scheduled for this afternoon at 1315 hours.  According to the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office, the suspect is facing the charge of Possession of Depictions of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct, but more charges may be pending.

Army Corps. commences emergency repairs to Taholah seawall, heavy traffic expected

The U.S. Corps of Engineers has commenced work on the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) sea wall and Quinault has issued an advisory that this will result in increased traffic from Aberdeen to Taholah along the ocean beach road and State Route 109 for the next 48 hours, according to QIN President Fawn Sharp.

More than 100 dump trucks are engaged in the project. “With clam digging this weekend and Quinault’s General Council meeting taking place, it is projected that there will be more than 1000 additional vehicles on the road already, so we advise people to drive with extreme caution,” said Sharp.

The Corps approved Quinault’s request for emergency assistance shortly after it concurred that an emergency situation exists, posing an imminent threat to the lives and safety of residents of the Lower Village of Taholah due to breaching of the seawall and encroachment of high waves and sea water.

High waves and winds are anticipated over the week end and the threat continues. “But it is important for people to remain calm and follow the instructions of our emergency workforce,” said President Sharp.

“We wish to acknowledge and thank the help of the Corps of Engineers as well as Grays Harbor Emergency Services, the elected officials and all others who have sent their prayers and offers of support. Our people will be kept safe and we will continue to seek a more long term solution to this dangerous situation,” said Sharp.

Second arrest made after Lebam attempted burglary

The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office has made a second arrest in the investigation of a Lebam burglary.
Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Matlock said they received a call around 11 yesterday morning that there were two people burglarizing a woman’s home, and that her husband was on his way there. “He arrived at the residence, was confronted by them inside his home. One was partially masked, the other had a full mask. They were in the process of loading their backpacks full of the homeowner’s belongings. The homeowner grabbed a hammer and advised them that they needed to leave the residence, they fled on foot into a heavily wooded area near his property. They got a call around 6:45 last night from a neighbor saying that someone had come out of the woods and asked to use their phone.” A 52 year old man was arrested without incident just before 7 last night.

Matlock said the woman lasted a little longer, until about 2 this morning “She came out of the woods and she was cold and she was wet. [She] went to a residence in the Melow area of Pacific County and asked to use the phone. As we were setting up to start a new track we apprehended her in the woods.” Matlock said the 35 year old woman was taken into custody, both now face residential burglary and methamphetamine charges.