As the 5th most visited National Park in the United States, Olympic National Park is quite popular. More popular than the volcanic beauty of Mount Rainier to its east, Olympic stands out as one of the last truly rugged places in America. We have beaches so dynamic, they make the Oregon Coast seem boring; rainforest fed rivers, giant trees, glacier-capped mountains and the best waterfalls seen outside of Middle Earth are all common sights in Olympic National Park. For the sake of time, I will assume you already know this.
You already know how spectacular every day is in Olympic National Park. You have tasted the rich air in the Quinault Rainforest and stood in complete silence in the Hoh Rainforest. You have felt the ocean spray against your face as you eagerly await another life changing sunset at Rialto, or Ruby, or Ozette or Kalaloch or the hundreds of other “Best Sunset Spots” on the Olympic Coast. You have stood on top of a treeless ridge or remote, craggy mountain peak and gazed out into the Pacific Ocean, Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound and the Universe. You already know that Olympic National Park replenishes your soul and reconnects you to nature. You know this because you should have already experienced Olympic National Park first hand.
Each week, out of love for the region and dedication to keeping you informed about the Olympic Peninsula and National Park, I receive numerous updates about articles written about Olympic National Park. Any time an author writes a story online at places like the Huffington Post, Drudge Report, New York Times, or USA Today, I get an email and read what they say.
See a great article in USA Today about Olympic National Park: http://www.usatoday.com/story/experience/america/national-parks/2014/05/07/olympic/8736751/?sf25942538=1
100% of the time, they have nothing but good things to say. They always highlight some great areas and a few fun things to do, while mentioning we have mountains, coast and the rainforest. Usually they make a joke about the rain. I chuckle at them when I see fit. They reporters do a good job, but it always seems to be lacking in vividness. I constantly feel like Olympic is being undersold and not getting the love it deserves.
Maybe I just have that stereotypical Northwest chip on my shoulder, but I feel like we don’t get enough credit. Sure, we get great write-ups in numerous publications, but those never seem to give Olympic National Park the description or pictures it deserves. These articles typically feel dry and featureless when describing a land so wet and rugged.
Beauty in this region flows like nowhere else. From the top of a glaciated summit, a drop of water will flows down majestic waterfalls, some of which have yet to be explored. The water cascades down the cliffs, through deep canyons lined with a moss-covered rainforest with towering trees, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The beauty of that single drop of water is then lucky enough to witnesses the power of tidal action. The ever pounding waves slam against the coast, forming craggy, gnarly sea-stacks and pillars, slowly being devoured by the waves and reminding us of the vulnerability of all things. The area is sick with beauty, infected so much that there is an outbreak in every nook and cranny.
I know I am biased about my backyard, but descriptions of Olympic National Park by major media lack in the life that National Parks breathe back into society. Every Park will say that they are more than just a Park, but Olympic really is. We are three parks in one, and we are one of the best regions to hike, fish, climb, explore, vacation and eventually retire. We are the last bastion of wilderness in the contiguous United States and I ask that we be described as such. We deserve to be described in a way that truly represents the beauty of a region and have a picture that at least attempts to portray the true beauty of the region.
Written by Douglas Scott
Douglas Scott is the author of two Olympic National Park guidebooks and an upcoming book,The Roadtrip: Seattle to Yellowstone Guidebook
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