Input Sought On Preliminary Alternatives For Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan

Olympic National Park managers are working to develop a "wilderness stewardship plan" for their park, where 95 percent of the landscape is officially designated wilderness.

The park's wilderness areas were designated in 1988, and its 2008 General Management Plan called for development of a specific wilderness management plan. As envisioned, such a stewardship plan would address backcountry use, permitting, use of campfires, food storage, group size, stock use, cultural resource management in wilderness areas, maintenance of pedestrian bridges and trails, and any commercial uses.

The park recently released a range of preliminary draft alternatives for the stewardship plan. They are designed to reflect key topics raised during the initial public scoping process last spring.

“The public’s review and comment at this key stage of the planning process will ensure that we are developing the best possible future for the Olympic Wilderness,” said Olympic Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Moreover, we want to ensure that we have accurately heard and addressed the public’s comments as we move forward in developing the plan.”

The planning process, when complete, will guide the preservation, management, and use of the park’s wilderness area.

“In accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964, the goal of this wilderness stewardship plan is to restore, protect and enhance the overall wilderness character of the wilderness area within Olympic National Park,” the superintendent said in a release.

The preliminary draft alternatives and maps, along with extensive background information and a copy of the public comments submitted during last year’s public scoping period, can be reviewed online at this site. Comments may also be submitted at that website. The deadline is May 17.