Inside our parks The public will have the chance to take part in any of eight meetings as Olympic National Park managers develop a wilderness stewardship plan that will protect and manage the designated wilderness lands within the park.
The plan will be developed in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964 and analyzed through an environmental impact statement process. In the coming weeks, a notice of intent to prepare such a statement will be published in the Federal Register.
The public comment period began Jan. 23 and will continue for 60 days after the Federal Register notice is published.
“One of the first steps in any planning process is to learn what the public’s thoughts, questions and concerns are,” Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said in a prepared statement.
Ninety-five percent of the 922,000-acre 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.
The park also is one of the most popular wilderness destinations in North America, according to a park news release, with nearly 40,000 overnight wilderness visitors a year.
Park staff members in 1980 completed a backcountry management plan for park wilderness and backcountry areas. That plan, according to one of the planning documents, is now outdated and does not adequately address protection of the area’s wilderness qualities that are essential to effective wilderness management.
In a previous interview with The News Tribune, Creachbaum said she expects the development of the plan to take two-three years to complete.
The goal of the plan, she said in a December interview, is to spell out how the park should best manage the designated wilderness areas within its boundaries and prioritize what activities will be allowed.
“It’s not every use on every acre, but what’s the best use of that acre,” Creachbaum said in December.
A look at the use by ancient people of the area that is now Olympic National Park will be the topic of the next presentation in the Perspective Series.
Dave Conca, the park’s chief of cultural resource management, will give a program Feb. 12 titled “Extending Our Understanding: Olympic Archeology.”
Recent archeological discoveries in the park confirm that for at least 8,000 years, people have made their homes in what is now the park. Conca will share what other insights these discoveries provide.
The program is at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles.
Learn more: Information about the Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan and planning process is available at parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild. Comments may also be submitted at that website.
Public workshops: They will be held around the Olympic Peninsula. The schedule is:
Tuesday: 5-7 p.m. Jefferson School Gymnasium, 218 E. 12th St., Port Angeles.
Thursday: 5-7 p.m. Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., Sequim.
Feb. 19: 5-7 p.m. Sekiu Community Center, 42 Rice St., Sekiu.
Feb. 20: 5-7 p.m. Department of Natural Resources Conference Room, 411 Tillicum Lane, Forks.
Feb. 21: 4-6 p.m. Amanda
Park Library, 6118 U.S. Highway 101, Amanda Park.
March 4: 5-7 p.m. Seattle REI Flagship Store, 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle.
March 5: 5-7 p.m. Ridgetop High School, 10600 Hillsboro Drive NW, Silverdale
March 6: 5-7 p.m. Shelton Civic Center, 525 W. Cota St., Shelton.
Public comments: They may be mailed or delivered to: Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum, Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan, Olympic National Park, 600 E. Park Ave., Port Angeles, WA 98362
More information: To get details or to be added to the wilderness stewardship plan list, go to parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild or call the park at 360-565-3004.Staff report