Park celebrates Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary with free activities starting Friday

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Special activities and a day of free entry to Olympic National Park will mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this coming weekend.

Free activities are planned Friday through Sunday.

Park entrance fees will be waived Saturday. The usual fee of $15 per vehicle or $5 for those on foot, bicycles or motorcycles will be in effect Friday and Sunday.

A panel discussion on the Wilderness Act — which was signed on Sept. 3, 1964 — will begin the commemoration.

The discussion, moderated by Sarah Creachbaum, park superintendent, will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Little Theater on the Port Angeles Peninsula College campus, 1502 Lauridsen Blvd.

A reception will follow in the college’s Pirate Union Building.

The speakers will talk about the first 50 years of the Wilderness Act and reflect on its relevancy for the next 50, while sharing personal connections to the Olympic Mountains wilderness.

Confirmed speakers include Sequim author and poet Tim McNulty; Shelley Spalding, Great Old Broads for Wilderness board member; David Louter, National Park Service Pacific West Region cultural resources director; and Erin Reading, wilderness ranger.

Janine Ledford, director of the Makah Cultural and Research Center, and Frances Charles, chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, also have been invited.

Audience questions will be encouraged.

Photos, films, talks, and guided walks — including a late-night “moon walk” on Hurricane Hill — are set for Saturday, when entrance fees are waived.

■   The park visitor center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road will host an ongoing slide show of wilderness photos from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Your Wilderness, Your Image” is made up of images taken by park staff and visitors.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., films with wilderness themes will be shown every hour at the center.

Among them will be the 1952 Disney classic “The Olympic Elk” filmed by wildlife photographer Herb Crisler, set for 10 a.m., and historic footage of Justice William O. Douglas’ 1958 hike along the Olympic National Park coast, to be screened at 2 p.m.

“Wild by Law” is planned at 11 a.m. At noon will be “Mosaic of Diversity. At 1 p.m., “American Values, American Wilderness” will be shown, and at 3 p.m., “Managing a Remnant of the Wilderness,” by park staff, will tell how they work to keep wilderness wild.

■   Wilderness talks and walks are scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, at the end of Hurricane Ridge Road south of Port Angeles.

Terrace Talks are set for 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Meadow Walks will be at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

■ The Heart O’the Hills Campground amphitheater will be the site of a sing-along and program from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Mountain Music by Dan Lieberman and Friends is an educational music program inspired by the mountains of the Olympic Wilderness.

■ An evening program also is planned at Altair Campground in the Elwha River Valley west of Port Angeles. It will start at 7:30 p.m.

■ Farther west, at Lake Crescent, a campfire program is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the lodge.

■ At the Sol Duc Campground amphitheater, 40 miles west of Port Angeles, a program is planned at 8 p.m.

■ An 8 p.m. program also is planned at Mora Campground off LaPush Road near Forks.

■ A rain-forest walk will leave from the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, at the end of Upper Hoh Road off U.S. Highway 101 south of Forks, at 2 p.m.

A program is planned at the campground amphitheater at 8 p.m.

■ Farther south off Highway 101 at Kalaloch, ranger’s favorites will be presented at 2 p.m. at the lodge gazebo and a program is planned at 8 p.m. at the campground amphitheater.

■ Even farther south off Highway 101 is the Quinault Rain Forest ranger station where a rain-forest walk is set at 1 p.m.

■   Astronomer John Goar will lead a 2 hour “moon walk” on the Hurricane Hill Trail from 7:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Participants will see both the sunset and the moonrise over the Olympic wilderness.

If skies are cloudy, the program will be canceled.

For program status, phone 360-565-3131 after 3 p.m. Saturday.


■ The ongoing slide show, “Your Wilderness, Your Image” will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the visitor center on Mount Angeles Road.

■   Guided wilderness hikes will be available along the Elwha River Trail, Obstruction Point — Deer Park Trail, Hurricane Hill Trail and Third Beach Trail.

The lengths of the hike, their difficulty level and times vary.

Group size is limited to 12 persons and reservations are required by calling Ruth Scott, wilderness specialist, at 360-565-3071.

For more information about the celebratory weekend, visit

Last modified: September 01. 2014 6:02PM
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