Help Shape Sustainable Recreation Planning in the Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest staff are studying how recreationists currently use the forest’s trails and other recreation amenities, and they want to hear from you this summer. Learn more about this initiative and share your feedback using the new Olympic National Forest trail user survey.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 21, 2022
Help Shape Sustainable Recreation Planning in the Olympic National Forest

The Olympic National Forest draws Mountaineers from all over the region year-round to hike, camp, and experience the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. Whether you’re drawn to peaks like Mount Ellinor or love to hike lush river valleys like the Skokomish, the forest’s five wilderness and twenty developed campgrounds offer something for everyone hoping to experience these iconic old growth forests.

As climate change and population growth continue to affect public lands and the outdoor opportunities they provide, Mountaineers are well-positioned to help land managers manage recreation in a more sustainable way. You can make a difference by sharing your experiences and perspectives, and by lending a hand to support staff efforts to steward the landscape.

Last year, federal land managers launched a study and stakeholder engagement process to develop a Sustainable Recreation Strategy and inform a peninsula-wide approach to long-term outdoor recreation planning. This is intended to work across agencies and public lands to more efficiently and sustainably manage recreation, and includes a review of each of the Olympic National Forest’s 134 recreation sites to determine how to better manage them into the future and direct outreach to the recreation community.

Partnering with the Forest

As a part of our support for the Sustainable Recreation Strategy, The Mountaineers is joining the Forest Service, Washington Trails Association, and other non-profit partners to sponsor a trail user feedback survey to collect information about current recreation use in the Olympic National Forest.

The survey will gather information about recent trail use, your primary recreational activities, how frequently you have visited the peninsula for recreation in the last year, and your concern for impacts on trail resources. In addition to amplifying the survey through our communications, we’re encouraging our members to volunteer to conduct outreach to amplify this opportunity at trailheads.

 Share Your Feedback

The survey is open now through October 1, and available online. Hard copy forms with QR codes to connect users to the survey will be made available at select forest trailheads and Forest Service offices and visitor information centers. After visiting a trail, share your experience to help land managers gain a better perspective of the diverse uses and needs of these recreation areas. Your input will help improve the trail system and shape recreation on the peninsula in the future.

Take the Survey

Volunteers from our Olympia Branch are currently reaching out to recreationists and promoting the survey at trailheads throughout the summer. Learn more about this effort in this blog post and sign up to volunteer. For more information about the survey and the Olympia Branch’s trailhead outreach please contact Jim French.

Lead image of  Ira Springs Wetland Trail, Olympic National Forest. USFS photo by Kelsey Dyer.