Park Newsletter January 2009

snow-covered trees
Snow covers subalpine firs at Hurricane Ridge.

Ken and Mary Campbell

Hurricane Ridge Winter Season
From blizzard conditions to temperatures warm enough for t-shirt skiing, Hurricane Ridge weather has been a mixed bag this year.

Heavy snow, white-outs and high avalanche danger kept the road closed for eight of the 16 scheduled open days over winter break. But dryer, and sometimes warmer, weather has prevailed since then and road has been open every weekend since New Year's, giving people a chance to enjoy the warmer temperatures.

An inversion in mid-January led to Hurricane Ridge reaching temperatures as high as 57 degrees under clear skies, while Port Angeles remained cloaked in fog and over 15 degrees colder!

While a January thaw may have its good points, most winter visitors would agree that some new snow would be welcome now. Icy (and sometimes slushy) conditions have made skiing and snowshoeing more challenging in recent weeks and have led to closure of the tubing & sliding hill.

Overall, the road has been open 74% of its scheduled open days this winter. Rangers report that the safety margin created by the new tire chain requirement has allowed the road to remain open longer, even in stormy conditions. Check what's happening at Hurricane Ridge today by visiting the Hurricane Ridge current conditions page or by calling 360-565-3131.

fisher looking around corner of cage
A newly released fisher sizes up its surroundings before bounding into the Sol Duc Valley forests in late December 2008.

Ken and Mary Campbell

Fisher Restoration Continues
Twenty-nine fishers have been released into Olympic National Park so far this winter, in the second of a three-year project to restore these animals to Washington and the park. Biologists hope to release as many as 11 more animals this winter. Read more about the most recent release on January 17.

About the size of a cat, and related to minks and otters, fishers vanished from Washington State decades ago because of over-trapping, and habitat loss and fragmentation.

Over the duration of this three-year project, a total of approximately 100 fishers will be released within the park. One additional release in 2009 is planned for later this winter.

Each fisher is fitted with a tiny radio transmitter before release so that researchers can monitor their movements and survival. More information, including monthly updates from the monitoring effort, is available online.

This project is possible through a partnership of agencies and organizations, with project management provided jointly by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Olympic National Park. The U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Olympic National Park are leading a research program, including monitoring, to evaluate the success of the reintroduction. Other partners and cooperators are providing financial or logistical support for management and research tasks.

water flowing through a dam spillway
New webpages provide information about how the Glines Canyon Dam (above) and Elwha Dams will be removed and the Elwhe ecosystem restored.

Elwha Restoration Online
Thanks to the work of several skilled volunteers, the park website now offers extensive information about the Elwha Ecosystem Restoration project. The project main page provides links to a variety of new pages with information about Elwha fish populations, restoration plans, dam removal and much more.

Additional pages are still under construction, so check back often to see what's new!


Coming Soon ....

February 10 -- Perspectives program; 7:00 p.m. at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center: Climate Change & the Rivers, Glaciers, and Forests of the Pacific Northwest
Read more.
February 12 through 16 -- Weather permitting, the Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to be open through the 3-day Presidents Day weekend. Current Hurricane Ridge conditions are now available here on the park's website.
February 25 -- Superintendent Karen Gustin will be the featured speaker at the Clallam Bay - Sekiu Chamber of Commerce meeting. Area residents and park neighbors are warmly invited to attend.


Visitation Update
Olympic's annual visitation for 2008 was recently tabulated, with the total number of recreational visits estimated at 3,897,000, a 14.5 percent increase over 2007. For more information, and monthly visitor use updates, check the National Park Service NPS Stats website.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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600 E. Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362


(360) 565-3130

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