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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
The Olympic National Park Final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Final GMP) was been released, announced Acting Superintendent Sue McGill today.
“Release of the Final GMP culminates nearly seven years of careful thought and discussion with our neighbors, visitors, partners and staff,” said McGill. “We appreciate the extensive public input we received and have used it to revise and improve the final plan.”
The Final GMP establishes a vision for managing Olympic National Park for the next 15 to 20 years and aims to protect natural and cultural resources while improving visitor experiences.
Key points include:
• Maintaining access to existing developed areas, park trails, campgrounds, and facilities;
• Allowing for improvements to the downhill ski support facilities at Hurricane Ridge, with no area expansion;
• Seeking additional partnerships to help provide enhanced visitor access and enjoyment (e.g. alternative transit options, expanded interpretive and educational opportunities) and better protection of sensitive resources;
• Boundary adjustments through willing selling purchases or land exchanges to incorporate sensitive resource areas within the park (e.g. fish habitat, wetlands);
• Continued protection of wilderness resources and cultural resources within wilderness.
The Final GMP is a 950-page document contained in two volumes. Volume 1 includes the plan alternatives, environmental consequences and extensive background information; Volume 2 contains a summary of public comments and responses to the substantive comments.
The public participated in developing the Final GMP during three formal comment periods, including public meetings, in 2001, 2002 and 2006. Nearly one thousand copies of the draft plan were distributed to the public and nine public meetings were held during the 2006 review period. About 500 comments about the draft plan were received and addressed a wide variety of topics. Comments are summarized in Volume 2 of the final GMP, and responses to substantive comments are also included.
Based on the public’s input, many revisions were made to the Final GMP/EIS. Some of these changes include:
• The boundary adjustment alternatives have been modified and clarified;
• Potential costs for property acquisition have been clarified;
• Information on private property access rights has been added;
• The section on partnerships has been expanded;
• Updated information on visitation and socioeconomics has been added;
• Wilderness zoning definitions remain within the plan but the exact on-the-ground designation has been removed from the plan and will be delineated through the wilderness management plan process;
• Stock use issues have been clarified.
In addition, laws and policies governing use of park resources by Native Americans have been added and desired conditions and strategies have been updated or clarified for 15 topics.
After the required 30-day no action period, the Final GMP will be forwarded to the National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director for final approval.
“The Final GMP provides overall management guidance and a long-term vision for the park,” said McGill. “Implementation of the GMP will require more detailed planning for specific issues – our first such effort will be developing a wilderness management plan for the park.”
The Final GMP/EIS is available online at the National Park Service planning website.
Review copies are also available at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, the Olympic National Park Information Station in Forks and the following area libraries:
The Evergreen State College Daniel J. Evans Library;
Kitsap Regional Library, Bremerton Branch;
North Olympic Library System Clallam Bay, Forks, Port Angeles, and Sequim branches;
Peninsula College Library;
Port Townsend Public Library;
Seattle Public Library;
Tacoma Public Library;
Timberland Regional Libraries, Aberdeen, Amanda Park, Hoodsport, and Hoquiam branches;
University of Washington Library;
William G. Reed Public Library; and,
Wilson Library, Western Washington University.
Interested individuals and groups may request a CD version of the document by calling (360) 565-3004. Limited printed copies of the document are also available by request. For more information about the Olympic National Park Final GMP, people may call the park at 360-565-3004.