Outdoors

Hoh Campground closed as elk herd occupies area in Olympic National Park

A Roosevelt elk peers out toward a hiking trail in the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park.
A Roosevelt elk peers out toward a hiking trail in the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park. AP file, 2006

A herd of Roosevelt elk frequenting the Hoh Campground is forcing its closure starting at noon Thursday.

Olympic National Park managers announced Wednesday morning they were closing the campground to overnight use through Oct. 31.

With the start of the rut, bull elk are intent on finding, attracting and defending their mates. This includes frequently charging and chasing other bulls and using their antlers for sparring. The herd using the campground area is accustomed to human presence and many of the animals have lost their natural fear of people, park managers said. This creates an increased risk to campers, particularly during the mating season.

Visitors are required to stay at least 50 yards from park wildlife at all times and are urged to stay in their vehicles if elk are in or around parking areas.

The Hoh Rain Forest remains open for day use, and several nature trails and a picnic area are open daily. The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays during the fall.

The park has other campgrounds at Mora and Kalaloch.

For more information about camping in the park, go to nps.gov/olym.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com

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