Olympic National Park Staff Prepare for Summer Season: Come Find Your Park This Spring

As migrating birds return and wildflowers bloom in the lowland forests, employees at Olympic National Park are turning their attention to spring cleaning and preparations for the main visitor season.

“We’ve had an early spring at Olympic National Park and we’re happy to see people already coming out to enjoy the warmth, sunshine and budding trees,” said Olympic National Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “It’s still wintry at the park’s higher elevations though, and no matter the elevation, visitors should always be prepared for changing conditions, as rain and even snow are possible at any time of year.”

 

Staircase

The Staircase Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be available during for the summer season from May 22 through September 28.

 

Dosewallips

The Dosewallips Road remains closed due to a washout outside the park boundaries in Olympic National Forest, so access to the campground is walk-in (5.5 miles) only.

 

Deer Park

Deer Park Road and campground are both scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting.  While most of the road is snow-free, drifts remain at the upper elevations.  If conditions allow, this area may open earlier than scheduled. The campground provides primitive camping, with pit toilets and no drinking water.

 

Hurricane Ridge Road and Heart O’ the Hills

Hurricane Ridge Road is currently open as weather and staffing allow. People should call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current conditions and road status.

 

Beginning in early May, the road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or late spring snow storms cause it to close temporarily.

 

The Hurricane Hill Road (the 1.5 mile of road that leads past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to the Hurricane Ridge picnic area and Hurricane Hill trailhead) is expected to open by mid-June.

 

Reaching elevations over 6,000 feet, sections of the Obstruction Point Road are still covered with four to five feet of snow, with higher drifts in some areas.  This road is expected to open in mid-June snow permitting.  If conditions allow, it may open earlier.

 

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only beginning May 2.  Weekend hours will continue through June 7.  The Visitor Center will be staffed daily beginning June 12.  The snack bar and gift shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only from May 3 – May 18 and will open daily beginning May 22. Check http://www.olympicnationalparks.com for more information.

 

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Heart O’ the Hills Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.

 

Elwha Valley

The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the Boulder Creek Trailhead, unless road work or weather conditions close it temporarily.   There is currently no access from the Olympic Hot Springs Road to Glines Canyon or the former Lake Mills, as construction of a new parking area and viewpoint continues. This area is expected to open this summer.

The Whiskey Bend Road is closed to vehicle traffic at Glines Canyon Overlook, one mile above the intersection with Olympic Hot Springs Road. Winter rains caused a major washout that destrobyed a 500-foot section of road. The road remains open to foot, bicycle and horse travel, but all horse trailers must be parked and stock off-loaded at the Elwha picnic area. Horse trailers are not allowed on the Whiskey Bend Road because there not  currently a turnaround that will accommodate trailers.

 

The Elwha Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be activated for the summer on April 17 through September 14.

 

Altair Campground is closed until further notice because of damage and loss of campsites and roadway caused by high winter flows along the Elwha River.  A timeline and plans for repairing and reopening the campground have not been completed.

 

Olympic Raft and Kayak, based just outside the park along the Elwha River, offers guided raft trips on the Elwha River, as well as kayak trips and other opportunities.  Check http://www.raftandkayak.com/ for more information.

 

Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent Lodge will open for the season on May 2 and will remain open through January 1, 2016, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop.  More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

 

Fairholme Campground will open this summer from May 21 through October 5, with drinking water and flush toilets available.  Beginning May 1, Fairholme General Store will be open Friday through Sunday through May 17.  Beginning May 22, the store will be open daily through September 7.

 

The Log Cabin Resort will open May 22 through September 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping, a boat launch, dining room and store.  More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

 

La Poel Picnic area will open for day use on Saturday, May 23.

 

Sol Duc Valley

The Sol Duc Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.

 

The Sol Duc Campground is open year round; drinking water and flush toilets will be activated on April 16.

 

The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot springs and a small store.  More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

 

Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.  The Hoh Rain Forest Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.

 

The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is currently operating out of a temporary trailer while the main visitor center is under renovation.  The visitor center is now open Friday through Tuesday and will be open daily from June 17 through September 7.  The primary visitor center is expected to reopen this spring, at which time the temporary facilities will be removed.

 

Pacific Coast

Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette—Olympic National Park’s road-accessible coastal destinations—are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads, except for the Beach Four parking area and trail, which are closed due to erosion damage.

 

The Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds both provide drinking water and flush toilets.  The Ozette Campground is primitive, with pit toilets and no potable water in the campground, however, water is available nearby.  South Beach Campground, a primitive campground located just south of Kalaloch, will open on May 15.

 

The Kalaloch Information Station will be open five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) beginning on May 19.  Daily hours will begin June 16.

 

Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round with cabins, lodge rooms, dining and a gift shop.  For more information, check http://www.thekalalochlodge.com/ for more information.

 

Queets Valley

The Lower and Upper Queets roads are both open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause temporary closures, however the Lower Queets Road is closed about a half-mile below Matheny Creek (one mile before the end of the road) due to road damage. The Queets Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no potable water.

 

Quinault Rain Forest

The Quinault Loop Road, which includes the Quinault North Shore and South Shore roads, is open. The Graves Creek and North Fork roads are also open.  All Quinault area roads are typically open 24 hours a day, unless temporarily closed by road work or weather conditions.

 

The Graves Creek Campground and North Fork Campground are both open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.

 

Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC), located at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning May 12.

 

Visitors are encouraged to stop by or call the Wilderness Information Center located within the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions.  Information is also available at the park’s website.

Several feet of snow remains on the ground, beginning at elevations above 4,000 feet. Even at low elevations, hikers are reminded to use caution and be aware of downed trees, trail damage, high and swift creek crossings, and changing weather conditions.

Local projects among 70 statewide, proposed $202 million in loans/grants to protect Washington waters

The Washington Department of Ecology proposes to spend $202 million in dedicated grants and loans to help pay for 70 local projects across the state to protect the health of Washington waters. Included is a low interest loan for a new waste water collection system in the Oyehut/Illahee area that will eliminate 130 existing on-site sewage systems, as well as a loan to replace the outfall diffuser at the City of Aberdeen’s waste water treatment plant. There is also a proposed loan to complete the Shelton Basin 3 Sewer Rehabilitation Construction Project.The funding is contingent on a final state supplemental budget and final federal appropriations. It becomes available at the start of the state’s next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.

 
State financial managers calculate that 11 jobs in Washington are created for every $1 million spent for construction and design funding. That would make this proposed round of funding support more than 2,200 jobs. Over half of these are likely to be local construction jobs.
 
The funding will be directed to water protection on agricultural lands; upgrades and expansions of sewer plants and collection systems; septic system improvements; water protection and cleanup projects; efforts to manage stormwater; streamside restoration projects; and more.
 
Here are highlights of the proposed funding:
 
Port Angeles, Spokane, and King County are proposed to receive $62 million in Revolving Fund loans to correct combined sewer overflows (CSOs). CSOs are discharges of untreated sewage that overflow directly to nearby streams, lakes, and harbors when wastewater collection systems are overloaded by large stormwater flows.
 
Ecology proposes $1.1 million in grants for projects on both sides of the Cascades to protect clean water on agricultural lands. Of this funding:
  • The Palouse Rock Lake Conservation District proposes to enhance streamside areas of the Palouse River and create cost-share programs for no-till, direct seed programs.
  • Okanogan Conservation District wants to implement practices to help landowners protect waters from livestock access.
  • Benton Conservation District proposes to work with the public to understand and prevent nitrate pollution of drinking water.
  • Lewis County Conservation District plans to work on a project to prevent polluted runoff from irrigation practices.
  • In King County, American Farmland Trust plans to field-test strategies to improve water quality in farm areas along Newaukum Creek. 
 
In addition, $190 million is proposed to boost 39 wastewater treatment facility projects. Eight of these are proposed for communities that qualify for financial hardship status. They will receive grants, forgivable principal loans (loans that do not need to be paid back), and loans with interest rates as low as zero percent. The communities are:
  • Chehalis
  • Deer Park
  • Ilwaco
  • Morton
  • Sacheen Lake area of Pend Oreille County
  • Sun Acres in Spokane County
  • Shelton
  • Illayee/Oyehut area in Grays Harbor County
 
Project descriptions and proposed funding amounts can be found online
 
Ecology invites comments about this proposed funding. Email comments to Daniel Thompson at daniel.thompson@ecy.wa.gov or mail them to Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, Attn: Daniel Thompson. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. March 24, 2014.
 
Ecology will hold a public meeting to discuss the proposed list at 1 p.m., Friday, March 7, at the Pierce County Library, PAC – Processing and Administrative Center, 3005 112th Street in Tacoma.
 
The funding is contingent on a final state supplemental budget and final federal appropriations. It becomes available at the start of the state’s next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.
 
Funding for Ecology’s integrated loan and grant program comes from a combination of dedicated state and federal monies.
 
Of the $202 million total, $180 million comes from the Washington State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund. Another $20.3 million comes from the state Centennial Clean Water Program. And $1.6 million comes from the Clean Water Section 319 Nonpoint Source Fund. Read more about these funds and where the money comes from online.