SUSTAINABILITY: Olympic forest seeks input on road use

The public will have four more opportunities in the next two months to comment on developing a financially sustainable road for Olympic National Forest. Managers will continue to hold open houses through August.

The purpose of the open houses is to ask the public what areas and roads they use on forest lands. That information will help forest managers identify a system of roads that meets the access needs, minimizes environmental harm and is safe and dependable because it is scaled to available resources, according to a forest news release.

“Your participation will help us understand your access needs,” said forest supervisor Reta Laford. “It would be particularly helpful to know what areas you use on the forest and what roads you use to get there.”

Covering 628,115 acres, the forest surrounds much of Olympic National Park. It includes varied habitats, from the temperate Olympic Rain Forest to the salt water fjord of Hood Canal to mountain peaks such Mount Washington. First created as Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897, the area was renamed Olympic National Forest in 1907.

The forest has about 2,000 miles of roads, of which about 1,400 miles are open to motorized vehicles.

The forest includes places of interest such as Lake Cushman, Quinault Rain Forest and Seal Rock, as well as five wilderness areas.

The remaining open houses will be held from 4-7 p.m.:

July 30: Olympic National Forest, Quinault Ranger Station, 353 South Shore Road, Quinault.

Aug. 19: Shelton Civic Center, 525 W. Cota St., Shelton.

Aug. 21: Rotary Log Pavilion, 1401 Sargent Blvd., Aberdeen.

Aug. 27: Olympic National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, 1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia.

Meetings have already been held in Port Angeles, Forks, Quilcene and Port Townsend.

In addition to attending an open house, the public can comment using the Web-based map or online questionnaire at fs.usda.gov/goto/olympic/sustainableroads. Questionnaires are also available at any Olympic National Forest office. Comments will be taken until Aug. 31.