Forum Index > Stewardship > Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan - comment by May 17
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NacMacFeegle
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PostTue Mar 18, 2014 1:21 pm 
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johnson37 wrote:
As for future trails, there will be NONE, EVER. That has been the goal of many for decades and it will now become official written policy.

Unless enough people speak out in favor of them. I personally do not think there is a need for new trails, but I would like to see abandoned trails restored.

johnson37 wrote:
The engine is being fueled by Olympic Park Associates, also known as OPA. Whether their names are attached or not, the types of limits and controls being proposed have been their agenda for decades. The driving vision for controlling access and limiting development or reconstruction for the past 3 decades has been supplied by Tim McNulty, one who has benefited greatly from ONP. Yes, the irony is not lost.

It seems ridiculous to me that this small organization can have such a huge impact on the park. They do not seem to understand that in order to protect wilderness you have to make people want to protect it. If you put too many restrictions on visiting the wilderness you will lose public support for wilderness.

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trestle
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PostTue Mar 18, 2014 2:09 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
johnson37 wrote:
As for future trails, there will be NONE, EVER. That has been the goal of many for decades and it will now become official written policy.

Unless enough people speak out in favor of them. I personally do not think there is a need for new trails, but I would like to see abandoned trails restored.

johnson37 wrote:
The engine is being fueled by Olympic Park Associates, also known as OPA. Whether their names are attached or not, the types of limits and controls being proposed have been their agenda for decades. The driving vision for controlling access and limiting development or reconstruction for the past 3 decades has been supplied by Tim McNulty, one who has benefited greatly from ONP. Yes, the irony is not lost.

It seems ridiculous to me that this small organization can have such a huge impact on the park. They do not seem to understand that in order to protect wilderness you have to make people want to protect it. If you put too many restrictions on visiting the wilderness you will lose public support for wilderness.

Haven't you lived on the Peninsula for awhile? This group absolutely has the political clout and manpower to get this done. Their leader has been the poet laureate for ONP for the past oh....30 years or more....he has a large audience and uses his bully pulpit to espouse his singular view. They dominate any ONP-related gathering, dominate the discussion groups, and write copious letters to publications and politicians. They also spread their message through the local public schools. I know because I've heard it in school as a student and employee, I've listened to their strategy sessions, and I know some of them personally. Don't underestimate them.

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NacMacFeegle
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PostTue Mar 18, 2014 2:18 pm 
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johnson37 wrote:
Haven't you lived on the Peninsula for awhile? This group absolutely has the political clout and manpower to get this done. Their leader has been the poet laureate for ONP for the past oh....30 years or more....he has a large audience and uses his bully pulpit to espouse his singular view. They dominate any ONP-related gathering, dominate the discussion groups, and write copious letters to publications and politicians. They also spread their message through the local public schools. I know because I've heard it in school as a student and employee, I've listened to their strategy sessions, and I know some of them personally. Don't underestimate them.

I don't live on the peninsula, but I hike there often. I guess I haven't actually attended any meetings there.

I do however know the power a passionate group such as this can have, and I am curious to know why are they are so against public access in National Park. Trails and trail structures (bridges, signs, shelters, campsites etc.) do little harm and are essential for teaching the public to support conservation.

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trestle
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PostTue Mar 18, 2014 2:32 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
and I am curious to know why are they are so against public access in National Park

As have we all. For decades. Their response is to simply point again to their published agenda and to deflect any discussion.

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markh752
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PostWed Mar 19, 2014 12:41 am 
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Is Ranger Barry working for the Olympic National Forest?  embarassedlaugh.gif
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RodF
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PostWed Mar 19, 2014 12:58 pm 
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Actual Footprint of Zoning in the Wilderness Stewardship Plan

1) Trail corridor
Trail corridor clearing widths vary from 8 to 10 feet for the most heavily travelled Zone 1 trails (example: lower Elwha) down to 4 feet for primitive trails (example: Cox Valley).  Trail corridors are designed to have "minimal impact to the adjoining natural systems and cultural resources" [1]

Although the actual trail tread impacts only a small part at the center of the trail corridor [2], let's generously assume all trails impact a corridor 10 feet wide.
629 miles * 5280 ft/mi * 10 feet = 33 million sq ft = 762 acres

Note: Olympic trail corridors include 10,923 inventoried permanent structures [3].

2) Campsites
"The current number of campsites is about 1500.  The current number of camping areas (i.e., groupings of campsites) is about 275." [4]

The typical Wilderness tent campsite is roughly 10 by 10 feet.
1500 x 10' x 10' = 150,000 sq ft = 3.4 acres

"there are currently 14 designated stock camps, group sizes are currently limited to 12 people and 8 head of stock."  [4]  These stock camps include hitching rails and some include small fenced stock enclosures.  In a few areas, stock may also be high-lined for short periods of time.  I estimate this surely affects less than 4 acres in total.

3) Structures
"Historic properties and districts occupy about ten acres." [5]

(Permanent structures are also located at dispersed sites (Buckinghorse SNOTEL, Muncaster & Elk Lick repeaters, etc) within zone 6.  These total less than an acre.)

4) Olympic Wilderness as designated contained 876,669 acres.
Public Law 112-97 in 2012 removed 222 acres, so
Olympic Wilderness today contains 876,447 acres [6].

Zones 1,2,3,4,5 above total = 762 + 3.4 + 4 + 10 = 779 acres (0.1%)
Zone 6 = 875,668 acres (99.9%)

Conclusion
Zoning impacts a negligible 0.1% of Olympic Wilderness.  However, the impact of the continued existence of trail zones on the purpose for which this National Park was founded, "the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations" [7] is enormous.

Historic structures impact less than 0.0012% of Olympic Wilderness.  However, the impact of the preservation of  "prehistoric and historic resources in a spirit of stewardship for the inspiration and benefit of present and future generations" [8] is substantial.

"We continue to feel that management consistent with existing legislation of a protected resource that occupies one ten thousandth of the area does not compromise the intent of the Wilderness Act." - Olympic NP Superintendent Morris, 2001 [5]

References.
[1] Trail corridors are designed to have "minimal impact to the adjoining natural systems and cultural resources."  Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails (NPS, 2007), p. 22.
[2] "The average extent of impact widths for proposed trails can be determined by applying the trail width guideline for the project at hand to the prevailing cross slopes. For example, a 24” wide trail on a 40% cross slope will impact approximately 36” of horizontal width."  ibid., p. 49.  "Most trails will impact 1.5 to 2 times the trail tread width." p. 51.
[3] Trail Facilities Summary, Olympic National Park (NPS, 2000)
[4] Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan, Preliminary DRAFT Alternative Management Strategies, Draft Zones Full Table, March 2014, Alternative A (No Action, current conditions).
[5] Olympic NP Superintendent David Morris, 2001 letter
[6] Wilderness Acreage Breakdown for the Olympic Wilderness, wilderness.net
[7] Organic Act of 1916 establishing the National Park Service.
[8] National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

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markh752
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PostSun Mar 23, 2014 8:36 pm 
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Question. If the Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan is adopted would it do away with unofficial "boot paths"?

Official ONP trail


Unofficial ONP trail (aka "boot path")


TR here.

There's not a lot of difference between the official and unofficial paths other than the designation. Would this continue under the ONP Wilderness Stewardship Plan? Or would they post a sign saying Do Not Use, Trail Under Restoration? I've seen this type of sign used in areas where a trail has been moved. Would they use these signs to keep people out to restore native vegetation/animals/etc with the more restrictive ONP Wilderness Stewardship Plan?
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RodF
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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 1:31 am 
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markh752 wrote:
Question. If the Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan is adopted would it do away with unofficial "boot paths"?

In general, yes, it may.  In all zones, "Unwanted trails and sites, such as campsites, would be removed and rehabilitated or allowed to recover naturally."  "Areas might be closed temporarily or permanently for restoration or to achieve desired resource conditions."

To answer this question for a specific trail, one must look to see which zone it is placed, in each of the Alternatives B, C and D.

Zone 1, 2 and 3 are maintained trail zones.

Zone 4 "The primary trails in this zone would be Primitive Trails."  "Other trails, routes, and beach routes, not part of the maintained trail system (e.g., way trails and social trails) might be present."  Examples: lower Queets, Skyline, Elips Creek and Graves Creek Trails in Alternative B.

Zone 5 "The primary trails in this zone would be Way Trails.
Other designated paths/routes, not part of the maintained trail system (e.g., social trails, routes, and coastal travelways) could be present." "No facilities or maintained trails."  Examples: Dodger Point, Elwha Basin, Scout Lake, and Lake Success Primitive Trails in Alternative C.  Lost Pass, South Snyder-Jackson, Skyline, Six Ridge Trail in Alternative B.

Zone 6 "There would be no trails and no established campsites in this zone."  "Trails and sites, such as campsites, would be removed and rehabilitated, or allowed to recover naturally."  Example: upper Queets Trail above Tshletshy in Alternative B.

Except in alpine areas like the Bailey traverse, "boot paths" that are not maintained will not persist for long.  Example: Tshletshy and over 200 miles of other abandoned trails that no longer exist in Olympic Wilderness.

All quoted text is from Draft_Zones_FULL_TABLE

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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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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 2:03 am 
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Quote:
"Trails and sites, such as campsites, would be removed and rehabilitated, or allowed to recover naturally."  Example: upper Queets Trail above Tshletshy in Alternative B.

there are no "established" sites above Tshletshy on the Queets.
matter of fact, the last "established" site on the river is at Spruce Bottom. next one down is at Lower Crossing (4.2 miles)

not really much of a trail above Tshletshy anyway, for that matter. barring monstrous blowdowns or slides (like at Paradise), the trail would stay pretty much as it is now.

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RumiDude
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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 10:12 am 
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My initial observations after attending the meeting in PA about the draft alternatives:

#1 The format was disappointing to me.  It was an open house kinda format with a few ONP personel skattered around to answer questions.  But you kinda already had to know a lot in order to ask a meaningful question.  One was eliciting comments and putting them on paper. I would have preferred a short presentation and then an extended Q & A for everyone's benefit. The meeting ended up being kinda chaotic and unfruitful.

#2 The ONP staff seemed to be pushing Atlernative B. I heard this from three different ONP staff members who were there answering questions.  It was uncanny how they all used very similar phrasing as if it was a talking point.

#3 Comparing the various alternatives was difficult and the ONP staff could not well articulate the differences.

I do think the ONP staff listened to concerns and tried as best they could to answer questions. Anyway, these are just three of my personal observations which I came to.

Rumi

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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 2:58 pm 
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reststep wrote:
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?

Have you been to Yosemite Valley? There's a grocery store in what's basically a mall!

National parks are parks, not preserves, unless they're managed as wilderness. Most people never leave their car while visiting a national park.
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reststep
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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Thank you for making my point.

It is a national park.  People should have access to it.

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reststep
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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 8:46 pm 
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I went to the workshop in Port Townsend today and they had the same information that is on the internet about the plans and zones.

National park people were there to answer questions.

This is just my opinion but it seems to me like this whole process is way more complicated then it needs to be.

Maybe they have to do it this way to prevent being sued by OPA (Olympic Park Associates).

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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 10:24 pm 
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reststep wrote:
Thank you for making my point.

It is a national park.  People should have access to it.

Let's put in a couple of east to west highways across the Olympics and one north to south one.

Paradise needs a Hotel 6 and a Denny's.

Don't forget an IMAX theater at Cascade Pass. Consider it child care so mom and dad can hit the trail.
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Jeff Chapman
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PostMon Mar 24, 2014 10:37 pm 
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I too was at the Port Townsend meeting, which was surprisingly sparsely attended.   There wasn't a great deal of fanfare locally by the typical local communication channels before the meeting that would draw folks out.

I did find the Superintendent and staff helpful and willing to candidly discuss the proposals.   There wasn't any real indication of their preferences, and they seem genuinely open to input.

Many of the elements in this proposal, such as zoning, were in play during the General Management Plan process several years ago.   I remember some in-depth discussions by users back then.  The proposed Wilderness changes were pulled out of that process from consideration and left for the current WSP.   So some of these proposed restrictions aren't new elements or attributable to any leanings by the current administration.

That said, all three of these action alternatives will "zone" out the vast majority of the ONP from any meaningful public access and any future possible trails (Zone 6).  On one stacked bar chart which shows all the zone proposals, you can barely tell the difference between Alt B, C, and D since zones 1-5 take up a very small part of each bar (representing each Alternative).   So even the most palatable alternative, D, still spells out big limitations for access to the ONP outside of existing trail corridors.
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Forum Index > Stewardship > Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan - comment by May 17
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