Thursday, December 06, 2007

It Could Have Been Worse

I suppose after all of the recent trail and road damaging storms we have been receiving here in Washington State, that the latest could have been a whole lot worse. Of course if you live in Chehalis you're probably wondering just what the hell I'm talking about. Unfortunately, the folks of Lewis County were dealt a serious blow and will be cleaning up for quite some time after the flood waters recede. Hardly a jolly Christmas gift. As far as damage to our trails over on the Olympic Peninsula, the initial reports coming in don't seem so bad. So bad that is compared to last year's storms that destroyed Rainier's roads, campgrounds, and trails. Early reports were pointing to similar results at Olympic National Park such as Altair Campground being washed away by the Elwha. Last year that campground was dealt a few blows including having a big ole tree destroy one of its lovely CCC built shelters. The campground was spared this year and so were a few other places. Read the park service's report below:

Olympic National Park News Release
December 5, 2007
For Immediate Release
Barb Maynes 360-565-3005

Storm Damage Update

As park crews gain access to the roads and facilities, additional damage has been discovered in some areas, while other roads have reopened. Phone and electrical service are still out in the park’s western areas.

A summary of known damage follows.

Hurricane Ridge Road – A major slide near the Switchback Trail brought
mud, debris and water over the road. Once the slide was cleared,
workers were able to spot several areas of extensive damage to the road
shoulder along the downhill lane.

The road will remain closed this weekend to allow crews to fully assess
the damage and begin repairs. The Heart O’the Hills campground is
closed due to earlier damage from the November 12 windstorm.

Quinault Valley –The North Shore and South Shore Quinault Roads are
closed due to downed trees and electrical lines and crews are continuing
to cut their way through the trees and reopen the roads.

There is no electrical or phone service at Quinault. The North Fork and
Graves Creek Roads remain closed and have not been assessed yet.

Hoh Road – The Hoh Road is closed at its intersection with Highway 101.
One lane of the road was washed out within Jefferson County; minor
damage has also occurred within the park.

Elwha – The Olympic Hot Springs Road, the Whiskey Bend Road and the
Elwha campground have all reopened.

The Elwha Valley’s Altair campground was not as severely damaged as
initially thought; receding floodwaters have revealed many sites to be
damaged by the flooding, but no sites or structures were lost. The
Altair campground is closed throughout the winter season.

Lake Crescent area – Highway 101 has reopened in the Lake Crescent area;
both the East Beach and Camp David Junior roads are open and cleared.

Sol Duc Road – The Sol Duc Road remains closed due to a mudslide about a
half-mile south of Salmon Cascades.

Mora – The Mora area has reopened, including the Mora campground.

Ozette – The Ozette area is closed with downed trees and power lines.

Dosewallips, Staircase and Queets Roads remain closed due to previous damage and unsafe conditions. The Deer Park Road is closed for the season.

Groups and individuals interested in volunteering to help the park with storm recovery are urged to check the park’s website. Once damage assessments are complete, volunteer opportunities will be posted at

For current road information, people should call the Olympic National Park recorded road and weather information line at 360-565-3131.

But while the early reports have us breathing a few sighs of relief, rest assure that there will be some serious damage out there. Trail crews will not go for want of work to do. Will they be funded though? That is the main concern. Citizens: get your checkbooks out and start sending them to the WTA and other similar groups. Get on the phone too, and start demanding that your representative in Congress finally begins to adequately fund your parks and trails.

(photo-damaged CCC shelter at Altair Campground)

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