Olympic National Park launches wilderness planning process, sets public meetings

The National Park, is planning a series of public workshops in February and March, including one in Amanda Park, to get input for a “Wilderness Stewardship Plan” to help protect and manage designated wilderness lands within the park.

“The Olympic Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1988 and has become one of the most popular wilderness destinations in the country,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “We are excited to be moving ahead with a comprehensive plan for how we protect and manage this area and are looking forward to hearing thoughts and ideas from our public.”

Ninety-five percent of Olympic National Park was designated as wilderness in 1988, and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The plan will be developed in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964 and analyzed through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. In the coming weeks, a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS will be published in the Federal Register. The public comment period began Wednesday, Jan. 23, and will continue for 60 days after the Federal Register notice is published.

“One of the first steps in any planning process is to learn what the public’s thoughts, questions and concerns are,” said Creachbaum. “We welcome online and written comments and have also scheduled eight public workshops for people to share their thoughts and learn more about the plan.”

More information about the Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan and planning process, including a public scoping newsletter, is available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild. Comments may also be submitted at that website.

The Amanda Park public forum is from 4-6 p.m., Feb. 21, at the Amanda Park Library.

For more information or to be added to the Olympic National Park Wilderness Stewardship Plan, people should visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild or call the park at 360-565-3004.