Due to the U.S. Government Shutdown, admittance into both the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park has been ceased. Calls to the ranger stations must go unanswered and websites now display a “not operating” message like this http://www.nps.gov/shutdown/index.html.
So what are visitors supposed to do? Don’t worry! There is still a plethora of things to do and see on the 5,316 square miles of the Olympic Peninsula outside of governmental lands. This weekend, October 5 & 6, is the 32nd Annual Shelton Oysterfest http://www.oysterfest.org/. Enjoy wonderful seafood and watch the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship. Then travel north up Hwy 101 to enjoy the Kinetic Sculpture race and events in Port Townsend http://www.ptkineticrace.org/. Afterwards, warm up from watching those crazy-geniuses enduring the race’s frigid waters at the North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival, just 30 miles west in downtown Sequim http://www.fiberartsfestival.org/. See beautifully hand-crafted woven arts and get in the cozy, Fall spirit!
Even though camping and hiking in the National Park and Forests might not be an option, there are still plenty of beautiful areas to explore. We’re using this time to visit coastal grounds and towns as well as our beautiful State and County Parks that are located throughout the Olympic Peninsula. On the east along the Hood Canal is the Dosewallips State Park http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Dosewallips and the Dungeness Recreation Area in the North http://www.clallam.net/Parks/Dungeness.html. Both are open year-round with spectacular water views. Travel along the Hwy 112 Scenic Byway to take in the Autumn splendor over looking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Stop at the Salt Creek Recreation Area near Joyce http://www.clallam.net/Parks/Dungeness.html. Explore the tide pools in Sekiu (watch for the giant red jellyfish this time of year, but don’t touch.) and listen for the last of the migrating birds as they make their way south.
This is also an excellent time to visit the Makah Indian Reservation at Neah Bay. Spending an afternoon at the amazing Makah Museum would not be regretted. Enjoy the boardwalk along Cape Flattery and scan the vistas for whales. Also happening this weekend on the West coast is the La Push Last Chance Salmon Derby http://forkswa.com/salmonderby/. Fisherman don’t want to miss out on our record high salmon run this year!
Hopefully these tips can replaces a few disappointments with inspirations as we endure these changes that out of our control. For more information planning your trip or for a free travel planner, call us! (360) 452-8552. Our complimentary travel planner can also be downloaded from www.olympicpeninsula.org.