Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge will be closed indefinitely, according to The National Park Service (NPS), after a fire in early May destroyed the Day Lodge.
The NPS originally stated there was a potential reopening timeline of June 2, but now, as crews have assessed the damage from the devastating fire, that timeline will remain open-ended.
“It is too early to say,” NPS wrote in response to the area reopening in a press release. “Before the area is reopened, park officials will need to assess and mitigate any hazards to ensure the area is safe for the public. The Hurricane Ridge area will remain closed while investigators determine the cause and origin of the fire that destroyed the lodge.”
Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge in Olympic National Park destroyed
On May 7, the Day Lodge at Hurricane Ridge — a 71-year-old visitor center at Olympic National Park — erupted in flames. The fire was first reported by a law enforcement ranger on patrol. Both Clallam County Fire District 2 and Port Angeles Fire Department responded to the fire. By the time the crews arrived, the building had collapsed to the foundation. While the fire was quickly contained with the fire only spreading minimally, the building was lost.
“This is an active situation, and we appreciate the public’s patience as we work through it,” said Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs in a prepared statement. “The good news is that there is still a lot of the park to visit and enjoy. From Kalaloch to Staircase, there are many great places to explore.”
The Day Lodge was a two-story, 12,201 square foot, historic structure built in 1952. It was closed to visitors as it was undergoing an extensive rehabilitation project funded through the Great American Outdoors Act.
“The park team and I are saddened by the loss of the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge, an iconic structure in the park and one of its most popular sites,” Jacobs continued. “We are extremely grateful for the response of park partners in Clallam County Fire and Port Angeles Fire Department who responded to the incident. We are also grateful for the outpouring of support from the community as we move forward.”
Man killed by falling tree in Olympic National Park
Third-party certified fire investigators, alongside the NPS’ Regional Structure Fire Program Manager, are currently examining the site to determine the cause and origin of the blaze.
According to the NPS, access to the Hurricane Ridge area will remain closed beyond the Heart O’the Hills entrance station for the time being.
Hurricane Ridge is one of the most easily accessed mountain areas within Olympic National Park, frequently visited by both tourists and residents for its fantastic, scenic views — in clear weather. Hurricane Ridge is located 17 miles south of Port Angeles. There are eight hiking trails tied to Hurricane Ridge, ranging from less than a mile to nearly 10 miles, and one camping ground.