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First in series of Olympic National Park management plan meetings this week

Peninsula Daily News


PORT TOWNSEND, WA-- The first of nine open houses to discuss Olympic National Park's Draft General Management Plan is slated for this week.

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St., people can talk one-on-one with Olympic National Park staff about the 400-page plan.

``We invited anyone interested in the future of Olympic National Park to attend an open house and share their thoughts and input,'' Park Superintendent Bill Laitner said in a press release.

The Draft General Management Plan, which was released in June, provides four management alternatives that will be applied to the park over the next 15 to 20 years.

The first alternative outlines the park's current management and territory, and what would happen if no management changes were made.

The second alternative outlines what would happen if management provided more protection of natural resources, and the third if management provided more visitor access and development.

The fourth alternative, which is the park's ``preferred alternative,'' outlines a management plan by combining the other three alternatives.

`Preferred' local impacts

About 16,000 acres of private land outside the national park would be considered for annexation under the preferred alternative.

About 1,600 of those acres are located to the north of Lake Crescent, 12,000 to the east of Lake Ozette and 2,300 in the Queets River area.

The annexations would be made to protect watersheds, animal habitats and other natural resources, according to the draft general management plan.

The plan also calls for limiting motorized boat use on Lake Ozette, removing ``visitor constructed'' hot springs at Olympic Hot Springs and moving the Kalaloch Lodge's cabins, restaurant and gas pump inland.

The national park visitor information station at Kalaloch would also be replaced, and the one at the Hoh Rain Forest would be improved.

Public comment sought

The public can comment on the different alternatives through Sept. 15, after which time a final general management plan for the park will be drafted.

``Public comments are very important to us,'' Laitner said.

``We consider each one of them as we develop the final plan.''

Although the open houses will not provide a town-hall type setting for comment, people can still leave written and oral comments with park staff at the open houses, according to Laitner's office.

Comments on the plan can also be sent by:

* Fax to 303-969-2736.

* E-mail to olym_gmp@nps.gov.

* Postage mail to Olympic National Park GMP, NPS Denver Service Center -- Planning, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225.

Open house schedule

Other open houses on the Olympic Peninsula are as follows:

* Aug. 14 in Forks at the state Department of Natural Resources office, 411 Tillicum Lane, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Aug. 16 in Amanda Park at the Timberland Library, 6118 U.S. Highway 101, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Aug. 17 in Sekiu at the Sekiu Community Hall, 60 Rice St. from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Aug. 18 in Port Angeles, at the Vern Burton Main Hall, 308 East 4th St., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Aug. 21 in Sequim at the Carrie Blake Park Guy Cole Hall, 202 North Blake St. from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Other open house in the Puget Sound and Seattle area:

* Aug. 22 in Silverdale at the Central Kitsap High School cafeteria, 3700 N.W. Anderson Hill Road, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Aug. 23 in Shelton at the Shelton Civic Center, 525 W. Cota St., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Aug. 24 in Seattle at the REI store, 222 Yale Ave. N., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.



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