Focus shifts on search for missing Seattle man in Olympic National Park
Bryan Lee Johnston
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Olympic National Park rangers have stopped active ground searches in the Ozette area for the Seattle man, who was reported missing last week, said Barb Maynes, park spokeswoman, Saturday.
They now are focusing on speaking with people who might have seen the 71-year-old hiker in or around Olympic National Park, Maynes said.
At least 50 park rangers, in addition to search teams from Clallam, Grays Harbor and Pierce counties, have searched for Johnston since Wednesday in and around the Ozette area in the park but have found no sign of the hiker, Maynes said.
“We’ve had 2½ days of pretty intense searches and turned up no clues at all,” Maynes said.
Family members reported Johnston missing Wednesday after he had not returned from a planned two- or three-day hike on the Ozette Loop Trail.
He left home Aug. 22.
Rangers found receipts from Port Angeles businesses dated that day in his truck at the Ozette ranger station Wednesday.
Starting this weekend, rangers are contacting employees of stores that the receipts in his truck showed Johnston had visited before he started his hike, Maynes said.
Rangers also will mail fliers with Johnston’s description to anyone who bought a wilderness camping permit for the Ozette area within the past week or so.
Johnston has white hair worn in a ponytail, blue eyes and is 5 feet, 10 inches tall. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans and carrying a black day pack.
So far as park rangers know, no one has seen Johnston for nine days as of Saturday, Maynes said.
The intensive search has included both the Ozette Loop Trail and the surrounding area, including the lake and back roads, Maynes said.
Searchers also have walked the coastline between Shi Shi Beach and the Norwegian memorial, covering areas both north and south of the outlet of Lake Ozette to the Pacific Ocean, she said.
“Many of those areas have been covered several times over by our searchers, and we just have not turned anything up,” Maynes said.
Anyone who has seen Johnston or has information regarding his whereabouts is asked to phone Olympic National Park at 360-565-3120.
Maynes said park rangers have not conducted an intensive search like the one for Johnston for some time.
“As far as a multiday search, I think it’s been a couple years at least,” Maynes said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: August 31. 2013 6:32PM