As Park Staff Prepares for Spring, Storm Damage Remains a Major Factor
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Spring has arrived and park crews continue to make progress in clearing debris and repairing damage from last fall and winter’s storms.
“This was our second tough winter in a row, but I’m proud to say that our crews have done a fantastic job in getting Olympic ready for the visitor season,” said Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Sue McGill. “Thanks to our employees, volunteers and contractors, Olympic National Park will be open for spring break.”
Quinault Rain Forest
Portions of the Quinault North Shore and South Shore Roads have been closed since the December 3 storm, but emergency repairs to a 750-foot long washout are nearly complete and debris is being cleared from another 150-foot long section of road.
“Restoring access to the Quinault Loop Road has been our highest priority and we’re happy to be able to welcome visitors in time for spring,” remarked McGill.
The Quinault Valley’s North Fork Road remains closed to all public entry, including foot and bicycle access, but is scheduled to reopen on April 25. The North Fork Campground will open on May 16, after crews have finished repairs and cleanup from the storm.
The Graves Creek Road will open to foot, stock and bicycle use only on April 25. The Graves Creek campground will also open on April 25; no potable water will be available.
Floodwaters severely damaged the Graves Creek road in three locations along its six-mile length and this road will remain closed to vehicle use throughout the 2008 visitor season.
The park is developing an environmental assessment that will examine alternatives to permanently repair Graves Creek Road in order to provide more sustainable access. Options may include the design and placement of engineered log jams and bank barbs along portions of the roadway to better protect the road while protecting and improving habitat for fish.
An alternative access route into the Upper Queets Valley will open on April 18. This year’s low elevation snows and extremely wet conditions have hampered road work and delayed this spring’s opening of the upper Queets area.
The campground is scheduled to open on May 16, to allow crews time to repair damage from the December 2007 storm.
Hoh Rain Forest & Forks Information Center
The Park and Forest Information Center in Forks is also open Friday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Coastal trails and wilderness travel routes have not been fully assessed, so hikers should use caution and be prepared for washouts.
Sol Duc Valley
The campground will open on Friday, April 11.
The Fairholme Campground will open for the season on Friday, April 4.
Hurricane Ridge Road
Winter conditions can prevail even in spring however, and the road may close at any time because of heavy snow, avalanche danger or high winds. Visitors should call the park’s road and weather hotline at (360) 565-3131 for current Hurricane Ridge Road conditions.
Major reconstruction will begin this spring on the Hurricane Ridge Road. The road will remain open throughout the two-year project, but visitors should expect delays of up to 20 minutes. Once construction begins, bicycles will be prohibited from using the road.
The Heart O’the Hills campground will re-open on March 28 after a four-month storm damage closure.
The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open Thursday through Monday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; the visitor center will be open daily for the summer season beginning on May 1.
Deer Park Road
Five riverside sites in the Staircase Campground were lost to floodwaters along the North Fork Skokomish River, but the campground is expected to open for the summer season.
Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center
Many low elevation trails are open and available and are excellent locations for finding early season wildflowers such as red-flowering current, Indian plum and yellow skunk cabbage. Hikers are urged to use caution and to be prepared for downed trees and areas of trail damage, along with changeable early spring weather conditions.
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC) will be open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. beginning March 29. Visitors are urged to stop by or call the WIC at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions.