OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Nature is pure poetry, judging by the artwork on Olympic National Park trails.
The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) has teamed up with Olympic National Park to offer a sixth season of Poetry Walks.
This year’s program began last Monday and will continue through May 31.
It features inspiring poetry along four park trails.
During Poetry Walks, poems are placed on signs on the Hall of Mosses Trail, the Living Forest Trail, the Madison Creek Falls Trail and the Peabody Creek Trail.
With the exception of the Hall of Mosses Trail, access to these trails is free.
Due to the ongoing improvements along the Spruce Railroad Trail, poems will not be placed there this year.
The Living Forest and Peabody Creek trails begin at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles, and offer easy 0.5-mile loops.
In the spring, skunk cabbage, a native plant found along streams and other wet areas of the woods, blooms and provides vibrant color, and possibly scent, along the trails.
The Madison Creek Falls Trail, located just across the park boundary in the Elwha Valley, offers a paved 200-foot walk to the base of the falls. The trial is wheelchair accessible.
The Hall of Mosses Trail is a 0.8-mile loop trail that passes through big leaf maples and Sitka spruces covered in green and brown mosses.
The Hall of Mosses Trail begins near the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, which regular park fees must be paid to access.
Poets featured along the trails include Emily Brontë, Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein and Gary Snyder.
Those who find themselves inspired to write a poem or take a photo while on one of the Poetry Walks are encouraged to share it on NOLS’ Facebook page or share it with their friends on Twitter with #FindYourPark.
The timing of Poetry Walks isn’t coincidental. April is National Poetry Month, and National Park Week will take place April 20-28.
National Park Week is celebrated at all national park areas across the country and will feature free admission to all national parks Saturday, April 20.
At the libraries it oversees — in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks and Clallam Bay — NOLS has hiking guides, trail maps, wildlife guides and poetry volumes available for checkout.
Explore Olympic! day packs — filled with discovery tools for exploring the park, including trail and field guides, binoculars and reading materials for children — are available at all four libraries.
Thanks to a donation from Washington’s National Park Fund, each family who checks out a pack will receive a seven-day entrance pass to Olympic National Park.