Olympic’s Obstruction Point Road opens for season

Staff reportJuly 28, 2013 

Obstruction Point Road in Olympic National Park fully opened for the summer on Friday.

The first three miles of the road, from Hurricane Ridge to Waterhole at Milepost 3.2, opened July 19.

Drivers now can reach the Obstruction Point trailhead at the road’s end.

The road is the park’s highest-elevation road, leading from Hurricane Ridge at 5,242 feet above sea level about 8 miles east to Obstruction Point at 6,150 feet. It typically is open mid-July through mid-October, depending on snow and weather conditions.

Because road material might be loose, drivers are advised to use caution and proceed slowly.

Park managers had expected to open the remaining section of the road by early August, depending on weather conditions and road safety. But the weather cooperated, and work was completed sooner than estimated.

Opening the road this year was totally dependent on natural snowmelt. As a result of the 5 percent budget cut mandated by sequestration, park staffers have not been plowing because of reductions in supplies and materials funding, as well as reduced maintenance staffing.

Current road information is available by calling the information line at 360-565-3131 or going online at nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-road-conditions.htm.

KIDS’ FILM CONTEST

There is time still for children to enter the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Farrington Foundation film contest. The contest, “Why I Love My State Park,” will award multiple prizes of up to $500 in the fall. Children must submit their videos by Sept. 15.

The foundation is partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington State to offer the contest. The idea is to get children outside and provide a fun focus for a video project.

Children, individually or as a team, can choose one state park to be the subject of their short film created around the theme of “Why I Love my State Park.” The videos submitted for consideration in the contest must be no less than two minutes and no more than seven minutes in length.

Contest applications are required and can be downloaded at friendsoffarrington.org, where contest rules also may be found.

SOUTH BEACH CLOSURE

South Beach Campground in Olympic National Park will be closed from noon Tuesday through 3 p.m. Thursday. The closure is necessary to accommodate activities associated with the Tribal Paddle to Quinault 2013.

June visitation

Mount Rainier

June 2013: 178,339

June 2012: 119,030

Difference: 49.8 percent

Year to date 2013: 304,655

Year to date 2012: 254,314

Difference: 19.8 percent

Last month’s count was the best since June 2010, when there were 186,060 visits. June’s numbers also have the park back on track for year-to-date visits. At the end of May, visits were down 6.6 percent compared with the first five months of 2012.

Olympic

June 2013: 387,801

June 2012: 261,427

Difference: 48.3 percent

Year to date 2013: 1,065,809

Year to date 2012: 905,034

Difference: 17.8 percent

Visitation to the Kalaloch District more than doubled in June, when compared with the same month last year. The count jumped 123.4 percent from 46,346 visits to 103,529. Overall, last month’s count was the best since there were 390,715 visits in June 2009.

National Park Service

June 2013: 33,381,351

June 2012: 34,472,571

Difference: -3.17 percent

Year to date 2013: 122,863,465

Year to date 2012: 129,229,142

Difference: -4.93 percent

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