Olympic National Forest’s Duckabush Trail, which has been closed since Sept. 7, 2011, because of severe damage caused by the Big Hump Fire, opened today with some restrictions.
The trail is opened to hikers only and will remain closed to stock until additional work can be completed.
Hazardous conditions such as fallen logs, loose rocks, holes, and very narrow sections of trail are still present. Visitors should use extreme caution.
Acting Forest Supervisor Amanda McAdams recognized those who made it possible to reopen the trail.
“Damage was extensive for 3.7 miles and the trail was completely impassable in many areas; clearing it was no small task," McAdams said.
"We are grateful to the Washington Trails Association, the Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Student Conservation Association who all worked diligently to reopen the Duckabush Trail.”
The repairs have taken a great deal of effort since the damage occurred within designated Wilderness where mechanized equipment is prohibited. To date, crews have used primarily cross cut saws and other hand tools to clear the trail, with one exception - chainsaws were allowed for one day so that fallen trees that were too dangerous to cut with cross cut saws could be safely removed.
Trail work is likely to continue into August.
The Mount Ellinor Trail, which has been closed since July 3, remains closed. Numerous mountain goats that have become habituated to hikers and aggressive in their quest for handouts are still in close proximity to the trail.
“We continue to monitor the situation and aim to rescind the closure order as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Acting District Ranger Tim Davis, “but we are concerned that the potential for a negative confrontation is still high.”
Feeding the goats and getting close to them is always discouraged since they are wild animals and their behavior is unpredictable.
For more information, see www.fs.usda.gov/olympic or call the Hood Canal Ranger District Office at 765-2200.