Storms Batter Washington Campgrounds
The Heart O’ The Hills campground in Washington's Olympic National Park will be closed for about a month while work continues to clear “quite a bit” of blown down trees and other debris from last week's storm, said Barb Maynes, park spokeswoman.
The Nov. 12 storm – which included 123 mph winds at Glines Canyon Dam – closed several roads in the 922,000-acre plus park. Those winds brought down a huge number of electrical poles and lines, she said, according to the Peninsula Daily, Port Angeles.
Park personnel cleaned up the debris, but couldn’t get to much of the area because of the downed electrical lines, she said.
Jim Klarr, light operations manager for the city of Port Angeles, summed up the scene succinctly: “It was a mess.”
Three of the five loops at the popular Heart O' The Hills campground had reopened only in late June after a six-month closure to fix damage caused by the Dec. 15, 2006, windstorm. It had been the last of the park areas that are usually accessible by vehicles to reopen after wind and snow in November and December prompted closures of campgrounds and roads.
Those storms that stretched over two months caused an estimated $5.5 million in damage to the park.
In Chimacum, Wash., the campground at Lower Oak Bay Park has been closed for safety precautions until April 1, said Matt Tyler, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation manager. The 26-acre park will remain open as a day-use area.
The 12 campsites have been hit hard in past winter storms, as well as the one this month, and so the decision was made to close them, Tyler said.
“The spit of land that holds the campground is eroding, and the erosion is causing more wind and wave action on the campground,” Tyler said. “Normally, it’s been open year-round, but because of this erosion, it's not safe.”
The asphalt on the road leading to the water-front campground has been especially torn up by wind and waves, Tyler said.