Submitted by USDA, Olympic National Forest
With support from the National Park Service, Mason County, Tacoma Power, Washington State Patrol, the Skokomish Tribe, and other local partners the Olympic National Forest will be implementing a revised forest order that adds an alcohol ban to the existing prohibitions on camping, fires, and overnight parking along the Lake Cushman Corridor (FS-24). The ban takes place May 21, 2021 and will be in place for the next two years and can be evaluated for possible extension after that time.
The new alcohol prohibition is intended to decrease conflict among users, provide forest visitors a more enjoyable experience in the Lake Cushman area, and be in alignment with the state law prohibiting alcohol at neighboring recreation sites. Signage and increased law enforcement patrols will be added to assist with implementing this change.
“It’s our desire for visitors to have a rewarding, safe experience when visiting their National Forests,” says Yewah Lau, District Ranger. “The behavior we’ve seen in the past was creating a situation that was highly dangerous to visitors and employees in the area. Prohibiting alcohol is one step to improve everyone’s experience at Lake Cushman.”
For many years the Lake Cushman area has received extremely high, weather dependent visitation. Since the spring of 2020 outdoor recreation sites on public lands have experienced unprecedented increased visitation leading to overcrowding, overparking, excessive trash, scattered human waste, and other unsafe conditions. If similar unsafe conditions persist the Forest Service, with support from surrounding area partners, is prepared to close the road once more.
By recreating responsibly and abiding by the new ban, visitors can create a safe, fun environment for themselves and other users. Visitors to the Lake Cushman area are reminded to be prepared for heavy use and traffic throughout the corridor. If there are no parking options available be prepared to visit another area.
Visitors are encouraged to be considerate of other users and be stewards of the lands they recreate on. This includes removing any personal trash or debris to leave the area clean and ready for other visitors to enjoy. Packing out trash also protects the invaluable beauty of these places and other natural resources. By working together to steward public lands we can ensure recreation sites stay open for all to enjoy.
For more information on the upcoming forest order, including a FAQ, and recreating in the Lake Cushman Area visit the Olympic National Forest website or call the Hood Canal Ranger Station at 360-765-2200.