Now, on to other studies

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK Completion of the long-awaited management plan for Olympic National Park means park service staff now can begin working on other projects, including recommendations in the plan itself, said Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes.

"That's what we were saying on a variety of the recommendations, such as a shuttle bus to Hurricane Ridge or the Hoh Rain Forest," she said.

"Those kinds of recommendations are in the plan, but it's not appropriate to do those things before the plan is approved."

Maynes said that before any of recommendations in the 950-page, two-volume plan which was released Thursday can be implemented, more site-specific or project-specific plans will be necessary.

"The first thing we're going to do is now a draft wilderness management plan," she said.

"We needed to get the general management plan done because it covers 15 to 20 years, and has the broadest scope, a general overview of the entire park.

"We deferred a number of decisions because it's putting the cart before the horse to do a wilderness management plan before general management plan."

Work began on the Final General Management Plan, which is supposed to establish a vision for managing the park for the next 25 years, in 2001.

Of the four alternatives studied in each case for each of 14 sites, the preferred Alternative D was selected.

It focuses on balancing the protection of natural and cultural resources with improving visitor experiences, according to the plan summary.

That includes accommodating visitor use, providing mass transit and improving educational and recreational opportunities in the developed areas of the park.

Although the document contains goals for each area of the park, it does not contain specific plans for how the goals would be accomplished.

It has no major changes from the last plan created in 1976, Maynes said.

About 500 comments from the public were received after the park solicited them in 2001, 2002 and 2006.

Some people wanted to extensively develop the park while others wanted to close off areas to protect environmental resources, said Nancy Hendricks, environmental planner for the park.

Dependent on funding
Most if not all of the proposals are dependent on funds from Congress, willingness of area agencies to participate and studies of more specific areas.

"With each of the things, we have to go ask for the money and do the assessments of the areas," Hendricks said.

At least 16 more studies are needed now that the management plan is completed.

In other cases, such as moving the lodge at Kalaloch, a study of possible areas as well as an environmental impact assessment will have to be done before the action can take place.

These types of studies are not included in the list of 16.

Now that the plan has been released, there will be a 30-day "no action" period, Maynes said.

"Sometime after those 30 days, there will be a record of decision document signed by [National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis]," she said.

"Then it's a decision rather than a final recommendation."

The document is available online at the National Park Service planning Web site, http://parkplanning.nps.gov.

Review copies are available at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, the Olympic National Park Information Station in Forks and at public libraries in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks, Clallam Bay and Port Townsend.

A CD version of the document is available by phoning 360-565-3004.

Limited printed copies of the document also are available on request.

For more information, phone the park at 360-565-3004.

Last modified: March 15. 2008 9:00PM
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