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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
After a seven-week closure, Enchanted Valley has re-opened to overnight camping. The area was closed on April 24 after visitors reported that black bears had acquired and eaten human food and had approached and appeared unafraid of humans.
Rangers and wildlife biologists have monitored the area since then and have found that bear behavior appears to have returned to normal in recent weeks.
"It's vitally important to human safety and the park's bears that visitors are diligent about keeping all food, food waste and scented items secured and inaccessible to wildlife," said Sarah Creachbaum, Olympic National Park Superintendent. "Bear canisters are required for anyone camping in Enchanted Valley –this change is necessary and will make it easier for visitors of all skill levels to securely store their food, garbage and scented items."
Bear canisters are available for loan from the park's Wilderness Information Centers (WICs) and some park ranger stations. A suggested $3 donation per canister helps sustain the canister loan program and provide visitor information and education.
Olympic National Park WICs include the following:
Olympic National Park Visitor Center WIC
Open daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through June 17. Beginning June 18, this facility will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. all other days.
South Shore Quinault WIC
Open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. all other days.
Hoh Rainforest WIC
Open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.
Proper food storage is vital to maintaining safe distances between bears and humans and is required in all park wilderness and frontcountry areas of Olympic. Information about how to keep food and garbage safe from wildlife is available online at https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-food-storage.htm
Wilderness use permits are required for all overnight hiking trips and are available for a $5 nightly fee at all Olympic National Park WICs.
Hikers and all visitors to Olympic National Park are reminded to stay at least 50 yards away from wildlife and to keep food, trash and all scented items properly stored and out of reach of wildlife at all times.
For information about wilderness hiking and camping, including current trail condition reports, people should visit the online Wilderness Trip Planner or stop by any of the Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Centers.