Olympic National Park | KNKX

Olympic National Park

Backpackers in the Central Cascades in August 2020. Search and rescue crews say more people in the outdoors means more calls for help.
David de Graaf

Search and rescue teams in Washington had their busiest July ever.

King County Search and Rescue conducted 43 missions last month. That's more than double the 20-a-month average for July. Olympic National Park has had 39 search and rescue incidents in 2020, 22 in July. That's up from the 17 incidents in July of 2019. 

Because rescue teams are stretched thin, crews say it's more important than ever that hikers and backpackers be prepared before heading into the wilderness.

Flying goats near Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park in August 2019.
Courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

More than 200 mountain goats so far have been captured and transported from in and around Olympic National Park. Wildlife managers are working to relocate the entire population to native habitat in the North Cascades.

The growler image issued with the U.S. Navy's record of decision on March 14, 2019.
U.S. Navy/ NAS Whidbey Island

A citizens’ fight against jet noise from the U.S. Navy’s expanding fleet of Growler jets on Whidbey Island is getting help from the state’s top lawyer. Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed suit against the Navy, calling its environmental impact statement and review process inadequate.  

Growler jets
John Froschauer / The Associated Press

A national parks organization filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy last week, related to jet training at Air Station Whidbey Island.

The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association sued the Navy to get more information about the exercises, which are planned for one of the quietest places in the lower 48.

Courtesy of the National Park Service

A proposed federal management plan aims to eliminate the growing population of mountain goats in and near Olympic National Park by relocating as many as possible to areas in the North Cascades.

If approved, captures would start this summer. Public meetings about the plan take place all week in towns near the areas that would receive the animals, starting Tuesday evening in Sedro Wooley.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

The public comment period  ends next month on a federal proposal to nearly triple visitor fees to the nation’s most popular national parks. Those include Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks where visitors would pay $70 in peak months (up from $25) starting this May.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As the federal government weighs whether to increase entrance fees for some national parks, a congressman from Washington state is proposing a different way to address a big maintenance backlog.

Olympic National Park is inching ahead on a plan to reduce or eliminate its population of non-native mountain goats. A draft plan released Monday for public comment includes options to relocate or kill the animals.

courtesy of the National Park Service

A new census by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the population of non-native goats in the Olympic Mountains has more than doubled over the past 12 years. Officials at Olympic National Park are concerned about the impacts on native plants and park visitors.

courtesy of Wash State Department of Natural Resources

Tacoma Public Utilities has taken possession of 70 acres of public lands near Lake Cushman that were previously owned by the State Department of Natural Resources. Under the deal, the parcel will remain open space for recreation and will stay closed be logging or development.

Paradise Fire Incident Management Team

A smoldering fire in Olympic National Park flared up over the weekend, scorching at least 600 acres before heavy smoke and inaccessible terrain made the blaze too hard to measure.

In what is usually the wettest area of the lower 48 states, parts of the rainforest landscape have turned to tinder this year and set the stage for the rapid spread of the Paradise Fire.

“What’s actually carrying the fire are the lichens in the very tops of the trees. They're so dry that they’ll actually carry fire, and so the fire is jumping through the tree canopies,” said Donna Nemeth, an information officer with the Fire Incident Team made up of National Park Service and National Forest Service personnel.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran as part of our new show, “Sound Effect,” which airs on Saturdays at 10 a.m.

“Smell that, Gabriel.”

Jon Preston waves a jumble of moss under my nose. It looks very much like a green wig. I oblige and breathe in a lungful of earthy air.

Olympic National Park

A centuries-old red western cedar tree in Olympic National Park fell victim to a storm over the weekend.

Olympic National Park spokesperson Barb Maynes said the beloved tree known as the “Kalaloch cedar” split in two on Saturday, and a large portion of it fell away.

“It certainly has been an iconic tree for many, many years,” said Maynes. 

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

A much-loved open house at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver did not take place over the weekend. The center is run by the U.S. Geological Survey, which had to cancel the program due to the federal budget sequestration.

shiladsen / Flickr

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a widow's lawsuit against the federal government over her husband's death in a mountain goat attack at Olympic National Park two years ago.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan dismissed most of Susan Chadd's claims over the summer and the rest last week. On Tuesday he declined to reconsider.

Robert Boardman was trying to protect Chadd and a friend when the 370-pound billy goat gored him, severing arteries in his thigh. The goat is believed to have been one that harassed park visitors for years.

Via Office of U. S. Sen. Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks hit the Olympic Peninsula Thursday, trying to sell locals on a plan to designate more wilderness there. They say their latest bill is a grand compromise, and they’re hoping to convince Olympic Peninsula communities that fought earlier versions.

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — The family of a man who was gored to death by a mountain goat in Olympic National Park is suing the Park Service.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Tacoma by the Messina Bulzomi Christensen law firm.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

After last month's Japanese tsunami, some coastal Northwest Indian tribes are expressing new urgency about the same danger they face. Two Washington tribes actually have plans to move parts of their villages to higher ground.

Elaine / Picasa

If you're game for an Olympic National Park hike of five to 20 miles and eager to go count housecat-sized rodents, the park wants you for its "citizen science" marmot monitoring program.