Comments on key Olympic management plans available for review

Visitors and supporters of Olympic National Park can review the public comments made on two management plans being developed by park staffers. Comments about the park’s Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Mountain Goat Management Plan have been posted online.

In March 2014, the park released a set of preliminary draft alternatives for the wilderness plan and opened a 60-day public public comment period. In addition, six public meetings were held in communities around the Olympic Peninsula, with more than 200 people attending one of the sessions. Park managers said the park received more than 1,000 comments.

Park staff will use that input to further develop and modify the alternatives. This process, along with environmental analysis of each alternative, will continue through this spring and summer. Release of the Draft Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Environmental Impact Statement is expected to occur late this year and will include another review and comment period.

The goal of the plan is to spell out how the park should best manage the designated wilderness areas within its boundaries and prioritize which activities will be allowed, according to park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

Ninety-five percent of the park's 922,651 acres was designated as wilderness in 1988 and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the wilderness system and a policy for the protection of wilderness resources for public use and enjoyment.

To view each comment and get more information about the wilderness planning process, go to parkplanning.nps.gov/olymwild.

Last July, the park said it was going to prepare an environmental impact statement for a Mountain Goat Management Plan. In the 60-day comment period that followed, the park received nearly 100 written comments. In addition, 55 people attended public open houses in Port Angeles, Olympia and Seattle.

These comments will help develop the range of alternatives to be presented in the plan and environmental statement. The plan is slated for release and public review later this year.

While the need for a plan was originally driven by concerns that mountain goats were having a negative impact on the park’s natural resources, additional concerns were raised following the 2010 incident in which a park visitor died after being gored by a goat while on a hiking trail.

The comments and other information can be found at parkplanning.nps.gov/olymgoat.