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September 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Celebrate Wilderness Act: No fee, films,walks and more at Olympic Nat’l Park

Olympic National Park preserves wild Pacific coast, including at Rialto Beach. (Steve Ringman photo / The Seattle Times

Olympic National Park preserves wild Pacific coast, including at Rialto Beach. (Steve Ringman photo / The Seattle Times

Fifty years ago, the federal Wilderness Act was signed and now protects about 150 million acres of American wild lands, including within national parks and national forests.

To celebrate the Wilderness Act anniversary, Washington’s Olympic National Park will waive park admission fees on Saturday, Sept. 6, and host celebrations that weekend, from guided hikes to panel discussions and an evening moon walk at Hurricane Ridge, a lovely high-country visitor area in the park.

Much of the park, from its glacier-draped peaks to the Pacific coast, is formally protected as wilderness. And here’s the word from the park on Wilderness Act celebration events Sept. 5-7. All are free, including free entrance  for visitors to Olympic National Park on Sept. 6 (normal entrance fees apply on Sept. 5 and 7).

FRIDAY, Sept. 5

Wilderness Speaker Panel, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Peninsula College Little Theater (Port Angeles)

A diverse panel of wilderness speakers will share their perspectives on the meaning and value of the first fifty years of the Wilderness Act and reflect on its relevancy for the next fifty years.  Each speaker will also share his or her personal connections to the Olympic Wilderness.

Speakers include noted Sequim author and poet Tim McNulty, Shelley Spalding, Great Old Broads for Wilderness board member,  National Park Service Pacific West Region Cultural Resources Director David Louter and Olympic National Park Wilderness Ranger Erin Reading.  Janine Ledford, Director of the Makah Cultural and Research Center and Frances Charles, Chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe have also been invited.

Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum will moderate the panel discussion. Audience questions will be encouraged.

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SATURDAY, SEPT. 6

Entrance fees waived,  all day, all park  entrances

Entrance fees will be waived throughout the day in honor of the Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary.

Wilderness Photo Display, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Olympic National Park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles

Wilderness photos contributed by park visitors and staff will be shown throughout the day in an ongoing slide show called “Your Wilderness, Your Image.”

Wilderness Film Festival, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Olympic National Park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles

Wilderness-themed films will be shown every hour on the hour from 10:00 am through 3:00 pm. Films will include the 1952 Disney classic “The Olympic Elk” filmed by wildlife photographer Herb Crisler and historic footage of Justice William O. Douglas’ 1958 hike along the Olympic National Park coast.  A full schedule is available at nps.gov/olym/wilderness-50.htm

Wilderness Talks and Walks, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm, Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Join park wilderness and natural resources staff and volunteers to learn more about protecting, managing and conducting research within the Olympic Wilderness.  A full schedule of topics, times and presenters will be available soon at http://www.nps.gov/olym/wilderness-50.htm

Ranger-Guided Wilderness Programs, offered parkwide throughout the day.

Check http://www.nps.gov/olym/wilderness-50.htm for times and locations of ranger-led walks, talks and evening programs.

Wilderness SingAlong & Evening Program, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Heart O’the Hills Campground Amphitheater

Mountain Music by Dan Lieberman and Friends is an educational music program inspired by the mountains of the Olympic Wilderness.  They will offer a fun and family-friendly sing along before the evening program.  Audience participation encouraged!

Moon Walk, 7:45 pm – 10:15 pm, Meet at Hurricane Hill trailhead.

Astronomer John Goar will lead a 2 ½ hour hike on the Hurricane Hill Trail, specifically timed to enjoy both sunset and moonrise over the Olympic Wilderness. If skies are cloudy, the program will be cancelled.  For program status, people may call the park’s recorded hotline at 360-565-3131 after 3:00 pm on the day of the walk.

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SUNDAY, SEPT. 7

Wilderness Photo Display, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Olympic National Park Visitor Center, Port Angeles

Wilderness photos contributed by park visitors and staff will be shown throughout the day in an ongoing slide show called “Your Wilderness, Your Image.”

Guided Wilderness Hikes, Locations and times vary; call 360-565-3071 for reservations and more information.

A variety of guided wilderness hikes will be offered by park volunteers and staff along the Elwha River Trail, Obstruction Point – Deer Park Trail, Hurricane Hill Trail and Third Beach Trail.    Lenths and difficulty level vary.

Group size is limited to 12 persons and reservations are required by calling Olympic National Park Wilderness Specialist Ruth Scott at 360-565-3071.

For more information about the Olympic Wilderness and the Celebrate Wilderness weekend, people should check the Olympic National Park website.

Comments | More in national parks, Olympic National Park | Topics: National park fee free day, Wilderness Act


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