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Letter: Olympic National Park – 75 years

I have no doubt that it is an interest of Congress for what Olympic National Park has released in their news announcement of the 75th year of ONP [Olympic National Park]:
In establishing the park, Congress defined the park’s purpose as to:


“… preserve for the benefit, use and enjoyment of the people, the finest sample of primeval forests of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Douglas fir, and western red cedar in the entire United States; to provide suitable winter range and permanent protection for the herds of native Roosevelt elk and other wildlife indigenous to the area; to conserve and render available to the people, for recreational use, this outstanding mountainous country, containing numerous glaciers and perpetual snow fields and a portion of the surrounding verdant forest together with a narrow string along the beautiful Washington coast.”

It is clear that ONP feels this is the definition and purpose; but what ONP fails to mention in this same breath is this clip is not from the legislation for ONP, the enabling legislation of 1938, PL 75-778.  It is not in the legislation, but what is, is Section 5 regarding full use and enjoyment

SEC. 5. Nothing herein contained shall affect any valid existing

claim, location, or entry made under the land laws of the United

States, whether for homestead, mineral, right-of-way, or any other

purpose whatsoever, or shall affect the right of any such claimant,

locator, or entryman to the full use and enjoyment of his land, nor

the rights reserved by treaty to the Indian” of any tribes.

for which ONP doesn’t appear to be prepared to equally celebrate the 75 years of the park on that point, a point of law and not a discussion point.  It’s one thing for a senator or representative to stand on the Capital floor and individually declare a position and intent, but it’s another for the congress to vote as a whole creating a law that says something that consistently gets ignored/denied by the Executive Branch for 75 years.

Isn’t this along the same lines as writing one’s own history to reflect what one wants it to say versus fact; isn’t ONP writing their own purpose and priorities?

Ed Bowen
Lake Ozette


Comments from Karl Spees:

Now the Park can exclude camping, the public’s enjoyment in perpituity, and no one will have any idea that they are excluding everyone except the well connected.

Over the years it has become more difficult to get an overnight camping permit. Now there is no way to know the status of this public park usage (transparency).  Oh yeah, I forgot, now its a UN Biosphere.
Karl Spees – Concerned American.
News Release from the ONP:

New Reservation System for Olympic National Park Wilderness Camping

Reservation requests for wilderness camping areas with overnight use limits will be accepted by fax or postal mail beginning Monday, April 1, 2013.  Phone reservations are no longer accepted.


Ozette Coast
Royal Basin/Royal Lake area
Grand Valley and Badger Valley area
Lake Constance
Upper Lena Lake
Flapjack Lakes
Sol Duc/Seven Lakes Basin/Mink Lake area
Hoh Lake and C.B. Flats
Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows
Group and stock camp sites along the Hoh River Trail


Camping is permitted only in designated sites within these areas.


Reservations can be submitted by fax or mail using the form found at

Additional information is available online at

Sounds like something that needs to be added in the scoping for the ONP Wilderness Stewardship Plan on how to provide access to the People’s park.

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