Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Saving the Park

When federal funds dwindle, volunteers step up.

By Annie Rose Favreau July 22, 2011 Published in the August 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Heavy Lifting Juelle Dalzell of the Backcountry Horsemen rests a spell.

Washington National Park Fund
Every year, Olympic National Park has a wish list of unfunded projects, so this trust fills coffers by selling park license plates and soliciting donations. They spent more than $60,000 to help reintroduce the fisher, a furry weasel, to the park. Pitch In Donations requested.

Backcountry Horsemen of Washington
Volunteer members—both human and equine—repair and maintain trails in ONP’s most hard-to-reach regions. They can haul in tools and Dutch ovens for work crews. And beer, making them real heroes. Pitch In Dues $36, horse required.

Student Conservation Association
Since 1957, hundreds of high school and college students have completed "boots on the ground" preservation projects; this year they’re cataloging native plants from the Elwha Dam reservoir valleys. Pitch In Students can volunteer or intern, tuition free.

Friends of Olympic National Park
In educational programs like the alpine meadow Wildflower Walk, the Port Angeles-based support group raises awareness about the park. At the Ride the Hurricane fundraiser on August 7, they’ll help 500 cyclists punish their quad muscles with an uphill pedal that raises money for winter park access. Pitch In Membership is $20 or can be paid in volunteer hours.

Olympic Park Institute

The "next generation of environmental stewards" gets an education at a campus located within the park, where 6,000-plus students gather each year to explore tide pools, research bird biodiversity, and test Lake Crescent’s water quality. Pitch In Data collected helps park biologists; multiday family programs start at $140 per person.
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