Forum Index > Stewardship > Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan - comment by May 17
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RodF
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 1:30 am 
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Public Invited to Review Next Steps in Draft Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan
Plan Applies Only to Park Wilderness Area Designated in 1988

The National Park Service has released a range of preliminary draft alternatives for the Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan.  The preliminary draft alternatives were designed to reflect key topics raised during the initial public scoping process last spring.

“The public’s review and comment at this key stage of the planning process will ensure that we are developing the best possible future for the Olympic Wilderness,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Moreover, we want to ensure that we have accurately heard and addressed the public’s comments as we move forward in developing the plan.”

This planning process applies only to lands within Olympic National Park and when complete, will guide the preservation, management and use of the park’s wilderness area.

“In accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964, the goal of this wilderness stewardship plan is to restore, protect and enhance the overall wilderness character of the wilderness area within Olympic National Park,” Creachbaum emphasized.

The preliminary draft alternatives and maps, along with extensive background information and a copy of the public comments submitted during last year’s public scoping period, can be reviewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild.  Comments may also be submitted at that website.

Six public workshops will be offered and are scheduled as follows.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Port Angeles Library
2210 S. Peabody Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Phone: 360-417-8500

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Department of Natural Resources
411 Tillicum Lane
Forks, WA 98331
Phone: 360-374-2800

Monday, March 24, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Cotton Building
607 Water Street
Port Townsend, WA
Phone: 360-379-4412

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Quinault Lake School
Amanda Park, WA 98526
Phone: 360-288-2260

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Civic Center (Meeting Room 1)
525 W. Cota Street
Shelton, WA 98584
Phone: 360-426-4441

Thursday, April 3, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Seattle Public Library
Wright/Ketcham Room; Level 4, Room 2
1000 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA
Phone: 206-386-4636

Public comments may also be mailed or delivered to:
Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum
Attn:  Wilderness Stewardship Plan
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA  98362

Ninety-five percent of Olympic National Park was designated as wilderness in 1988, and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System and established a policy for the protection of wilderness resources for public use and enjoyment.

For more information or to be added to the Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan, people should visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild or call the park at 360-565-3004.

Olympic National Park News Release
March 12, 2014

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 1:33 am 
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See Preliminary Draft Alternatives - ONP Wilderness Stewardship Plan to view or download  the newsletter, details on the alternatives, or to comment through May 17, 2014.

Note that the Draft Plan will be issued for comments in about a year, and the final plan later in 2015.

Update May 2015: Draft now expected in early 2016, Final in late 2016.
Update April 2017: Draft delayed by Wilderness Watch lawsuit, now expected fall 2017.


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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RumiDude
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 8:16 am 
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Looks like Alternative B would make ONP more like NCNP.

I will make a huge effort to be at the metting next week in PA.

Rumi

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reststep
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 12:03 pm 
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Thanks for posting this Rod.

Do you know which plan OPA is in favor of or are they against all of them?

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NacMacFeegle
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 12:09 pm 
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Both alternatives B and C would have a negative effect on historic structures, trail maintenance and visitor experience. D would be acceptable, but I would prefer the no-action alternative.

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RumiDude
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 12:38 pm 
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reststep wrote:
Do you know which plan OPA is in favor of or are they against all of them?

My guess would be Alternative B out of the four offered.

Rumi

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reststep
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 12:38 pm 
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I think I am leaning toward the no-action one also.

Actually my preference would be that it had not been made a wilderness area in the first place. I think being a national park offered the area all the protection it needed.  Who was behind making it a wilderness area?  Did OPA have anything to do with it?

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RodF
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 12:41 pm 
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reststep wrote:
Do you know which plan OPA is in favor of or are they against all of them?

Judging from OPA's comment letter on pages 29-33 of the public scoping comment report, alternative B.

NacMacFeegle wrote:
D would be acceptable, but I would prefer the no-action alternative.

NEPA requires a "No Action" alterative as a baseline for comparison with the Action alternatives.  But "No Action" means no plan, and NPS policy requires the Park develop a Wilderness Management Plan (ref: NPS Management Policies, Chapter 6, section 6.3.4.2).

So I agree with you, but the "No Action" alternative isn't a choice.  Sure would be nice if there were an "Alternative E - better trails and access" instead of worse.  The new quotas for day use throughout the Park, extension of camping quotas everywhere in the Park, and requirement for online permits only under all alternatives are surprises.

Note added: NPS has been severely criticized for decades, and was sued in 2003 (Olympic Park Associates, 2003, page 5), for failing to adopt a Wilderness Management Plan for each Park.  The lawsuit failed, but NPS has certainly taken this criticism to heart.  The idea that our Superintendent, co-chair of the NPS Wilderness Leadership Council, after 3 years of making it her top priority to develop a WSP, would accept failure and sign a decision memo in 2016 selecting Alternative A to continue working under the 1980 Backcountry Management Plan, is simply unimaginable.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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NacMacFeegle
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 12:49 pm 
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RodF wrote:
Sure would be nice if there were an "Alternative E - better trails and access" instead of worse. 

up.gif I will request this when I write my comment.

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trestle
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PostThu Mar 13, 2014 1:41 pm 
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Just say NO to Alternative B.

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ranger rock
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PostSat Mar 15, 2014 10:36 pm 
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Whoo hooo April fools day in Shelton..
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ranger rock
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PostSat Mar 15, 2014 10:39 pm 
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RodF wrote:
requirement for online permits only under all alternatives are surprises.

Crap.. those usually mean paying reservation fees.. perhaps the whole thing will be handled by "Reserveamerica"?
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Skookum Bill
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PostSun Mar 16, 2014 9:11 pm 
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With regard to ONP having Wilderness status, it plays a key role in checking development in a long wild area from the well meaning plan of a maintenance supervisor to the self-aggrandizing monument of a well-connected superintendent. I will offer this example: There was another resort that met its fate when Mother Nature played free. Quoting from ONP's Historic Reource Study:"The final demise of the Low Divide Chalet came during the winter of 1944. A snow avalanche caused by winter storms completely demolished the main lodge building and the cabins (NARS:RG 79 ca. 1944a, n.d.).

But prior to that:

"The stockholders of the Olympic Chalet Company contemplated further development of the Quinault drainage. In 1929 the company proposed building an airplane landing field at Low Divide. The Forest Service, who saw the project's potential enhancement of recreational values and fire fighting capabilities in the area, seriously considered the plan (NFS ONF 1929, 18 February). The same year Olympic Chalet Company officials gave fleeting consideration to damming a glacial stream in Martin's Park above Low Divide to create a lake for use as a landing place for a hydroplane (NFS ONF ca. 1929, 18 April). In the early 1930s the Olympic Chalet Company sought financial support for constructing an aerial tramway from Quinault Lake to the top of Mount Baldy (NFS ONF 1933, n.d.). None of these projects were carried out."
In this case, one can surmise that the double whammy of the Great Depression followed by a world war curtailed these plans. And the avalanche finished it off. And for all of that I am thankful.
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contour5
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PostMon Mar 17, 2014 11:50 am 
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I'm intrigued by the permitting process listed in version "D".

Quote:
Wilderness overnight permits would be obtained through an online permitting system or through an electronic permit station provided at the Wilderness
Information Center (WIC) stations.

Is this a thing? Do these machines currently exist anywhere in the park? Could such a system actually be kept operational without a small army of technicians and security personnel? Or would the futuristic electronic permit compliance modules simply be ass-jacked by luddite hooligan sociopaths? I suppose cameras could be implemented to scan, identify and trigger jets of blue dye or a steady rain of 155mm howitzers in the case of tampering or wanton subterfuge. Personally, I would welcome such a simple automated permitting system, but it will need to be very well thought out.

Unlike plan "B", which stipulates:
Quote:
Wilderness overnight permits would be required and would not be self-issued. The permitting education
process would occur in person or over the phone through Wilderness Information Center (WIC) stations.
Permits would be obtained through WIC stations (for example: in-person, by mail or fax, or in instances such as at Dosewallips visitors can call the WIC to obtain the permit and the WIC can email it to them).

This permitting indoctrination process- must it be repeated even after one's 400th visit to the park? How is this a good use of resources? Perhaps seasonal permit holders could eventually be certified as "expert bushmasters" or "qualified sustainable-use wilderness travelers". The little pep talk is actually redundant after like 3 times. Just spit out a list of regulations with the permit. I'd even be willing to take a quick, stupid test like at the Dept. of motor vehicles. This would also serve to smite the un-trailworthy, by denying them permits and covering them in a fine mist of permanent blue dye.

Obviously an automated e-mail permitting system would be extremely cost effective, timely and efficient- a huge improvement over any of the curiously antiquated or unworkably futuristic options that are actually being proposed. Fax it in for a postal service response? Just shoot me. I'll be dead anyway by the time my permit arrives, if at all. The proposal seems to imply that Dosewallips is the only WIC able to respond using e-mail. Is this really true?

Is there a comprehensive list of permit-seeking options currently available?

In summary: A resounding YES! for electronic permit stations throughout the park. Not spaced 200 miles apart- but at every single TH. And YES! to an automated e-mail permitting system. Also pre-loaded permit cards so I don't have to use a bank card online. I'd be happy to pre-pay the wilderness camping/entrance fees when I buy my seasonal pass. No more high speed dashes to Forks or P.A. to get to the WIC before they close.

Of course this is all a pipe dream. You can't have electronic ticket machines in wilderness, can you? I think we will mandate fax machines, carrier pigeons and llama express riders as the new solution. There's a whole new wave of cutting-blade technology available to solve this problem, but our stubborn, obstinate and intractable dispositions as to what best serves wilderness will prevent us from exploiting it.
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trestle
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PostMon Mar 17, 2014 11:55 am 
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For such drastic changes, the amount of public comment time/sessions is very limited.

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