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Olympic National Park Proposing to Erase the Old Boulder Creek Road


Olympic National Park officials are proposing to erase the last vestiges of the Boulder Creek Road and restore the route as a foot trail. NPS photo of erosion along the road corridor.

It's going on three decades since you last could drive your rig to the old Olympic Hot Springs Resort and automobile campground in Olympic National Park. And now park officials are proposing to erase the last vestiges of that asphalt road.

It was back in 1982 when auto traffic was denied access to the old Boulder Creek Road. Though it had served the public well for decades following its construction in the early 1900s, continued problems with slope failure and erosion prompted the decision to close it to vehicle use. Since then the route has been open to hikers, both those content to stop in the Olympic Hot Springs area and for those determined to move farther into the park's wilderness.

Now park officials want your thoughts on a proposal to rehabilitate the Boulder Creek trail and former automobile campground. The proposal is to restore a 2.2-mile section of the old Boulder Creek Road to a trail by removing the asphalt, improving and removing stream crossings, and restoring and rehabilitating the Boulder Creek campground.

In the years since its conversion to trail, the old road bed has deteriorated considerably. Several drainages have culverts that have been washed out or plugged with debris and sections of asphalt have been washed away.

The Park Service proposes to rehabilitate the Boulder Creek trail for foot and stock use by removing the deteriorating asphalt and culverts and replacing bridges. The proposal also includes rehabilitating the Boulder Creek campground to prevent continuing damage to the park’s resources by removing the asphalt, designating campsites, and revegetating the areas around campsites.

To think this through, Olympic officials are preparing an Environmental Assessment that will evaluate the environmental effects of this proposal. Interested members of the public are invited to provide input on the proposed projects. Comments received during this initial scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the EA.

The easiest way for you to send your thoughts to the park is via this web site. Comments are being accepted through March 9 and a draft EA is expected later this summer.


Thanks for this good information. The trail restoration sounds like a good thing to me in several ways. First, I suspect that it would be grossly expensive to turn this trail back in to a road. Secondly, it would much better for the environmental conditions of this area to have all this deteriorating asphalt removed.

I will gladly make some comments at the web site you've given us once I get some more insight on this subject.

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