Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7
The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.
Spruce Railroad Trail Improvements to Begin August 5
Spruce Railroad Trail will be closed from the Lyre River TH to approximately 0.25 miles east of Devil’s Punchbowl. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October. The remainder of the trail will be accessible from the Camp David Jr. Road TH. More »
Safety Advisory: Mountain Goats
NPS has received reports of aggressive mountain goats near trails at Hurricane Ridge, Royal Basin, Seven Lakes Basin, Lake of the Angeles, & Grand Pass. Visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 50 yards from all wildlife. More »
Safety Advisory: Rabies
Rabies has been detected in a single bat in the Lake Crescent area of the park. Rabies exposure is extremely rare, but fatal if untreated. Anyone observing unusual or aggressive behavior among park wildlife should inform a park ranger as soon as possible. More »
Dynamic Quinault River Continues to Shift Course, Threaten Historic Enchanted Valley Chalet
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
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.
Did You Know?
That the Piper's bellflower is unique to the Olympic Mountains? Named after an early Olympic peninsula botanist, the Piper's bellflower grows in cracks and crevices of high elevation rock outcrops.