Visitation At Olympic National Park Up Nearly 16 Percent

Olympic National Park Ranger Larry Gore led a pack of visitors through the Hoh Rain Forest in August. Kurt Repanshek photo.

A year ago some in Congress were greatly concerned that the national park system was experiencing an unhealthy decline in visitation. That's not the case this year, where visitor traffic is on the upswing in a number of parks.

As the Traveler noted back in July, visitation was up in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier national parks. Now comes word from Olympic National Park that 2007 visitation there is up nearly 16 percent.

Recreation visits to Olympic National Park through September 30 are up 15.91 percent over the first nine months of 2006. Approximately 3.2 million visits have been paid to Olympic so far this year.

Visitation to Lake Crescent, Kalaloch, Hurricane Ridge, Staircase and Quinault all saw increases over last year. The Staircase access road was closed for most of the 2006 summer because of safety impacts from a wildland fire outside the park boundary.

Comments

Hopefully people are realizing that nature's beauty is more fulfilling than watching TV, going to the mall, etc. Maybe these changed attitudes will help people to be much more conscientious about our wonderful scenic planet & do all that can be done to preserve it. Parents need to keep children in tune with nature so when they grow up, they will have an appreciation of preservation of all that is natural.

We try to do our part. My wife is in a race with a coworker to fill up their National Parks Passport. Since we got married 16 years ago, we have been to the following National Parks/Monuments/Sites: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Glen Canyon, Arches, Grand Canyon, Aztec Ruins, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, Wilson's Creek, George Washington Carver, Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Everglades, Glacier, and a few more I probably missed. We've camped on the shores of the Colorado River, on a mountain plateau, and in a canyon.

This year our vacation took us to Theodore Roosevelt NP, Olympic NP, Mt. St. Helens NM, Mt. Rainier NP, Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, Devil's Tower NM, Mt. Rushmore NM, Jewel Cave NM, Wind Cave NM, and Badlands NP. And that dang missile silo was not open on the weekend! We spent one night camping at Sol duc Hot springs, an afternoon touring the Hoh Rain Forest, 4 nights in the Quinalt River backcountry, one at Mt. Ranier, one at Yellowstone, and one at Mt. Rushmore.

Camping in the backcountry is our cup of tea. We don't like the crowds in some of the areas, but we didn't have far to go to get away from them. Without the system of national and state parks, I guess we would have to put our tent up between motor homes at some RV park.

The people in the west don't seem to realize how lucky they are to have so many national parks close by.

Next year will probably be Nevada and California. And we are not done. We still have to go east.!