This Bud’s For You [Insert Favorite National Park Name Here]

budweiser-9-1

According to an article by Jason Blevins of The Denver Post, the National Park Service (NPS) has waived its restrictions on partnering with alcohol makers to raise money and awareness for the “Find Your Park” campaign. The NPS established a two-year, $2.5 million deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev that will allow the beer manufacturer to use NPS logos and park images (specifically the Statue of Liberty) on bottle wrappers and caps and to organize “Bud-branded events such as summer concerts inside yet-to-be-named park properties”. The NPS established a directive in 1998 that prohibited it from receiving donations with questionable product and service providers, such as beer and tobacco manufacturers.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the NPS earning some advertising dollars from beer makers. I’d have a problem with the agency partnering with a tobacco business but not so much with a beer company. The NPS needs money badly to keep open and maintain national properties – this gives it some of the capital to do so. I just wish the NPS was partnering with a better beer maker, like Sierra Nevada or another, similarly outdoorsy brand. It seems to me that the only reason Budweiser wants to partner with NPS is to legally use the image of the Statue of Liberty on its beer cans. That seems far less promotional for our beautiful national parks and far more patronizing towards diehard nationalists.

Expansions On the Way for Outdoor Rec Areas in WA’s Snoqualmie Corridor

The Seattle Times’ Mark Yuasa writes about some exciting future developments for state parks and natural areas east of Seattle in his recent article “Project in Snoqualmie Corridor will mean more outdoor opportunities”. The state’s development plan will focus on Raging River State Forest, Tiger Mountain State Forest, West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA), and the Mount Si NRCA, among other areas. According to the article:

“A 10- to 15-year vision outlined in a massive project plan by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) puts forth development and preservation of 120 miles of hiking trails, whitewater rapids, climbing areas, picnic and camping sites, and other recreational areas covering 53,500 acres.”

 

Over the next five years, the state will specifically focus on:

  • Raging River (improving hiking and mountain biking accessibility)
  • Mount Si (expanding trailhead parking and developing Mt. Teneriffe trail)
  • Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA (expanding Mailbox Peak trailhead parking, adding new trailhead area for Granite Creek trail, adding several day-use areas)

Review: Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve

Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve in Olympia offers a couple miles of hiking, but its real attraction is its strange bubble-like hills. A natural and scientific curiosity, Mima Mounds’ hill-studded grasslands seems out of place surrounded by evergreen forests and the Capitol SF peaks in the background. Several theories exist as to why the small grass-covered mounds exist. These theories range from the extraordinary, such as the one that gophers made them, to the tame, like the most accepted belief that they were created by glacier deposits. An educational kiosk (and viewing platform) at the beginning of the trails describes these various theories. This Wikipedia page describes some of the theories in greater detail.

Situated adjacent to Capitol State Forest, Mima Mounds offers a great educational experience and family outing. I rank this hiking area high on the family friendly list as it features several picnic areas and easy, flat walking paths. I also think that the area serves families well because of its amenities. In additional to lots of educational signage, the site includes two raised observation platforms (one of them handicapped accessible) that can give you a pretty good vantage point looking westward over the grasslands. If you do visit, bring your sunscreen though – there’s no shade at all on the trails.

Mima Mounds grasslands.

Continue reading

Some More Oregon Coastal Hikes

It’s been a busy week and I am once again behind in my trail reviews. My review of Mount Rose in Olympic National Forest will need to wait a few days. However, in sticking with my coastal hiking theme from last week, here’s another great article (this one from Terry Richards of The Oregonian) about some of Oregon’s best coastal hiking destinations. Looks like I need to plan a trip down south to hike some coastline. Below, I posted some photos from when I visited Bandon, Oregon, (top) and the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area (bottom) in 2010.

oregoncoast

From the Trail: Putvin Trail (almost) to Lake of the Angels

 

It was a rough hike in the Olympics today. The hike up the Putvin Trail towards the Lake of the Angels started off great with beautiful weather and clear skies. However, right before climbing up the headwall, it started to snow. We got within a half mile of the Lake of the Angels before we were forced to turn back as the snow and sleet came down heavier. Made it to the aptly named Pond of the False Prophet before we lost the trail in the snow. It was pretty among the alpine streams and meadows near the top (I think it’s called the Valley of Heaven). But, as the pond’s name suggests, it doesn’t beat the real thing, the alpine lake we hiked so far to (almost) reach. Oh well, this just gives us an excuse to return this summer! The photo collage shows the Pond of the False Prophet and some of the Skokomish Wilderness peaks you can see from the Putvin Trail. Stayed tuned next week for my review of the Putvin Trail.

Untitled

Oregon Coastal Hikes

If you like coastal hikes, Oregon offers some amazing coastline. This article by BeachConnection.net lists just some of the state’s coastal hiking areas. As the article states, “If you’ve never seen the ocean, or if you live in a state near Oregon, it’s high time for you to head out to the beach and immerse yourself in the state’s most glorious attributes”. What makes Oregon beaches truly specially is that they are all public.

In 2008, my girlfriend (now my wife) and I drove up Route 101 from California to Lincoln City, where we headed inward toward Portland. Along the way, we explored part of the Oregon Dunes National Rec Area. More specifically we hiked along the John Dellenback Dunes Trail  for a few miles. It was great fun and the dunes there are amazing and massive. Someday soon I hope to go back and see more of Oregon’s pristine coastline.

If you like hiking along the coast, check out my recent review of Washington’s Cape Alava Trail, a top-rated outdoor destination in the state.

IMG_1062

Hiking Cape Alava.

 

Review: Cape Alava and Ozette Triangle

Some Washington hiking areas give you a chance to meander through magnificent old-growth forests and under massive evergreens draped with moss and lichens. Others offer you the opportunity to explore Washington’s coasts, letting you pick your way along gravelly shores littered with beach wood and see precarious sea stacks standing tall just off shore. Cape Alava’s 9.4-mile Ozette Triangle loop in Olympic National Park lets you experience the best of both worlds.

I visited Cape Alava for the first time a few weeks ago. I was use to hiking along Washington’s Pacific coastline, having hiked at Ruby and Shi Shi beaches and from the Hoh River outlet up to Rialto Beach. However, Cape Alava maintains a reputation as one of the best coastal hiking areas in Washington and the Pacific Northwest. To say the least, I was excited about this trip, and it did not disappoint.

The Ozette Triangle (also known as the Ozette Loop) begins at the northern end of Lake Ozette near the Ozette Ranger Station and Ozette Campground. Park at the trailhead just past the ranger station on the right side of the road. Hikers have the option of taking either the Cape Alava or Sand Point trails to the coast. The coastal section follows the last three miles of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. This section isn’t so much a trail as it as a hike along the shore. However, at high tide, hikers will need to take two overland trails, identified by black-and-red (often faded red to the point of being white) impassable headlands signs. Both the Cape Alava and Sand Point trails are well maintained, and either one will work for the hike out and hike back. I personally recommend the Cape Alava Trail because it will allow you to rest at and enjoy Sand Point, a scenic rocky outcrop, before heading inland at the end. When I hiked the Triangle with my family, we saw deer grazing on the Sand Point headland.

Taken from Cape Alava: Ozette Island and Tskawahyah Island in the background.

Taken from Cape Alava: Ozette Island (far left) and Tskawahyah Island (far right) in the background.

Continue reading