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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Public input is being sought regarding proposed temporary road use permits within Olympic National Park. Comments will be used to help develop an environmental assessment that will examine the effects of granting temporary road access through the park to Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and R. D. Merrill Company (MERRILL).
Road use permits are being sought by the DNR and MERRILL in order to access their lands for forest management activities west of Lake Crescent.
The proposed permits would grant access using existing roads, each of which includes short sections through Olympic National Park. Two routes under consideration are the Waterline Road or the Joyce-Piedmont Road and Lyre River Road. The total in-park mileage of the Waterline Road is one-quarter mile; the combined in-park mileage for the Joyce-Piedmont Road/Lyre River Road route is just over one mile.
The original access road to these DNR and MERRILL lands was located outside the park boundary, but this road was abandoned more than 20 years ago. DNR geologists have determined that it is now unstable and unsuitable for a road as a result of a slide that occurred several years ago. Another access route considered by DNR is the former Spruce Railroad grade, and would also require the construction of a bridge across the Lyre River.
Because of these and other concerns, DNR has found that reconstructing the former access routes is infeasible, and is seeking to gain access through Olympic National Park in order to conduct logging operations outside the park boundary. These logging operations are proposed to include selling different blocks for harvest over the next five to ten years to commercial operators (or shorter duration if the park only grants temporary access). Thinning and other silvicultural activities are proposed. About 60% of the area is workable, and all of the land outside the viewshed of Lake Crescent.
MERRILL has requested a five-year access permit over the same roads, and plans to use the roads to facilitate various forest management activities, including silvicultural treatments, road maintenance, timber harvesting, and log hauling. Some of the MERRILL lands are part of the Lake Crescent viewshed, but no harvesting will occur on these lands.
Olympic National Park is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) that will evaluate the environmental effects of this proposal. Comments received during the scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the EA.
Comments should be submitted online by visiting https://parkplanning.nps.gov, the website for the National Park Service’s Planning Environment and Public Comment system, no later than November 10, 2008.
Comments may also be sent to:
Superintendent – DNR and MERRILL Road Access Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Commenters should be aware that their entire comment – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While commenters can ask that their personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
For more information about this project, people may visit National Park Service’s Planning Environment and Public Comment website or call the park at 360-565-3004.