Clallam Transit considers service to Hoh Rain Forest

Operation would be in collaboration with Jefferson Transit

PORT ANGELES — Clallam Transit’s Hurricane Ridge Shuttle that has been transporting visitors to one of Olympic National Park’s most popular destinations has been so successful that it has spurred ideas about not simply expanding service on that route but perhaps establishing one to the park’s top West End attraction, the Hoh Rain Forest.

Last month, the shuttle recorded 11,865 rides to the summit, General Manager Jim Fetzer told the board at its Wednesday meeting.

“We need to look hard at next summer, because bus service to the Ridge is definitely going to stay,” Fetzer said. “We averaged 382 boardings a day in July, which is very good.”

The numbers are a reflection of the shuttle’s convenience, as well as it being the only means to reach Hurricane Ridge when the daily quota of 345 personal vehicles is reached — often before 11 a.m. The limit was determined by the capacity of the portable toilets installed after the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge was destroyed by fire in May.

Fetzer said a shuttle that leaves later than the last-bus 3:45 p.m. departure is definitely needed.

“That’s a real problem,” Fetzer said. “People want to ride the bus up there, they stay the entire day because it’s so beautiful and everybody ends up taking the last shuttle down.”

Clallam County commissioner and board member Mark Ozias asked Fetzer if Clallam Transit had the ability to support access to Hurricane Ridge this winter. The park has said keeping the road open will significantly depend on its ability to provide public restrooms that can withstand the brutal winds and freezing temperatures at 5,242 feet.

“I think we do, but I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Fetzer said. “I don’t think the park even knows what’s going to happen. But we’re going to continue talks with the park to see what role we can play.”

Board chair and Forks City Council member Juanita Weissenfels wanted to consider the possibility of adding shuttle service to the Hoh Rain Forest in the summer.

“I’ve had more people come up to me and say it’s just impossible to get there,” Weissenfels said. “The line is four miles long and the wait time is two hours. If we had a bus, it would alleviate a lot of that.”

Because the Hoh Rain Forest is in Jefferson County, Fetzer said Clallam Transit would need to discuss with Jefferson Transit Authority the possibility of serving that area.

“But we’ll definitely have some conversations with the park because the demand is there,” Fetzer said.

Ozias said knowing more about visitors to the Hoh Rain Forest would help in terms of determining potential routes and service.

“I would guess that not an insubstantial number people drive from Port Angeles or around here to get out there, they’re not necessarily starting from Forks,” Ozias said. “We might want to consider a service like a national park route or something like that. I can imagine that being marketable, being fundable and being a real valuable service.”

Like the demand for more frequent service to Hurricane Ridge, there is also demand for more buses on the Strait Shot route from Gateway Transit Center to the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal. Clallam Transit added a fourth trip in 2021, but two individuals who spoke via Zoom during the meeting’s public comment period said a fourth was needed.

One of the greatest barriers to expanding routes and services has been a lack of personnel and low post-COVID recruitment numbers. However, that is changing, said administrative services coordinator Barb Cox.

“We’re having more applicants coming in and they’re very quality applicants,” Cox said. “It’s very encouraging.”

In other news, Jason McNickle is Clallam Transit’s new operations manager. The 14-year employee was promoted from operations supervisor after former operations manager Jim Fetzer was elevated to general manager in July.


Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at

More in News

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part in a workshop on Saturday about cropping bird photos for best presentation during Saturday’s Olympic Birdfest. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Bird spotting

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part… Continue reading

Annette Nesse, at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s main campus in Blyn in December 2021, is serving as interim director at the Dungeness River Nature Center, the organization announced. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Nesse to serve as interim director at River Center

New position to begin May 1; organization will continue its full-time search

Sequim Wheelers, seen on the historic Railroad Bridge near the Dungeness River Nature Center, prep for a ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The nonprofit's season begins in May, and it has an open house for potential new volunteers on April 20 at the River Center. It also has an orientation for new volunteers on April 25 at the River Center. (Sequim Wheelers)
Sequim Wheelers gearing up for 2024 rides, seek recruits

Nonprofit looking for help during for 20-week season

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile for collection as volunteers work to clean up a section of hillside above the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on Saturday. More than a dozen members of Elevate PA spent the morning clearing up overgrown areas on the hillside from Haynes Viewpoint to the hotel’s Front Street driveway as part of a city beautification effort. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Hillside cleanup in Port Angeles

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Operations set at Bentinck range

The Royal Canadian Navy has announced that the land-based… Continue reading

Pictured, from left, are Wolfe, May, Reader and Emily Fry.
May recognized with BEE award from medical center

Reuben May has received a BEE award from Olympic Medical Center. The… Continue reading

Schools open following contract

PAPEA, district reach tentative agreement

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
College’s automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year