Sustainable Recreation

Sus. Rec page header


Based on the ways people recreate it is clear that the Olympic Peninsula is known as “one” no matter which trail or campground visitors recreate on. To replicate the cross-boundary style of recreationalists the ONF will be embarking on Sustainable Recreation efforts together with tribes, land managers, communities and other stakeholders who live, work, and play on the Olympic Peninsula. Sustainable Recreation includes a review of each of the forest’s 134 recreation sites to determine how to manage them into the future. This effort is intended to create a dialogue between land managers, partners and communities and gain insight on how, together, we can manage recreation sites across boundaries. The growing challenges of sustaining outdoor recreation opportunities including, climate change, increased visitation, and ensuring equitable access, require a bold strategy to meet the needs of present and future generations. We can no longer manage recreation sites as we have in the past.

Simply put, sustainable recreation is teaming with communities across boundaries to create outdoor recreation places and opportunities that are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable.

As we broaden our thinking it is evident that effective outdoor recreation management happens when it is integrated with other agencies, the public, and other resource areas such as fisheries and wildlife. This means we will look beyond our own perspective, across boundaries and typical means to understand other viewpoints and opportunities to collaborate across the landscape. The ONF is part of a larger Olympic Peninsula landscape that includes other public lands at the local, state, and federal level; tribal lands; working farms, and towns and cities. Respecting and cultivating relationships across lands and communities is necessary to strengthen the health and vitality of each. Together, we will develop a common vision and define potential roles to sustain the economic and quality of life benefits of recreation across the Olympic Peninsula.

Sustainable Rec Map
 Major outdoor recreation areas on the Olympic Peninsula

Planning for the future

For the Olympic National Forest, this is a big shift in thinking and approach. This work will be enhanced as people engage and evolve as we learn together and understand how to manage from an integrated perspective. We know that every day, we more clearly see the connections necessary to manage the landscape across boundaries and the need to create a space for people to fully show up and engage authentically. The ONF is committed to being a learning organization; we are constantly thinking about how we can strategically accomplish work and how we can engage with broader, diverse audiences.

In 2021 and 2022 Sustainable Recreation efforts will be aligned with four tracks:

1. Review of all ONF recreation sites to determine future management.

2. Creation of an Integrated Working Group that will look at outdoor recreation management across the Olympic Peninsula.

3. Convene interested parties to form an Olympic Peninsula Recreation Collaborative.

4. Introducing the ONF to black, indigenous and people of color, community led organizations.

Ways to engage

As we embark on our Sustainable Recreation efforts we invite you to share your insight and thoughts as we move towards a more integrated approach. Our goal is to provide multiple ways to engage in order to hear from the broad range of perspectives of those who want to contribute to the future of recreation on the Peninsula. The more we understand the value of outdoor recreation, the better stewards we become.

Watch a virtual Sustainable Recreation Overview Public Meeting

For more information about sustainable recreation please visit our frequently asked questions (FAQ's) page. 

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