Olympic National Forest Shares Insights from Klahanie Campground Engagement Report

by Chad Hultz

Forks, Washington, February 23rd, 2024 – Following extensive consultations with various stakeholders, the Olympic National Forest has made public the findings of the Klahanie Campground Stakeholder Engagement Report. This initiative comes as part of the planning process for the future of Klahanie Campground, situated approximately seven miles northeast of Forks, WA. The campground has not been operational since 2018, primarily due to concerns regarding hazardous trees and its susceptibility to flooding, given its position within the floodplain of the Calawah River.

In an effort to gather comprehensive insights into public perspectives regarding the campground's future, the Forest Service, in collaboration with Trout Unlimited, engaged Triangle Associates in 2023. As a neutral third-party, Triangle Associates was tasked with gathering public input which would help guide the Forest Service's decisions towards fostering sustainable recreation while also benefiting local wildlife and aquatic life.

The methodology employed by Triangle Associates to gather this feedback included conducting interviews with key stakeholders, organizing both physical and virtual tours of the site, hosting town hall meetings in various formats, and circulating a public survey.

Key takeaways from the report include:

A strong consensus on the importance of reopening the campground.

A call for improved community engagement through better communication strategies.

The need to merge recreational activities with conservation efforts effectively.

An emphasis on diversifying the campground's offerings to attract a wider audience.

These insights are instrumental in the Forest Service’s ongoing efforts to integrate Community Based Recreation Planning into its recreation management strategies. This approach prioritizes the inclusion of community feedback early and throughout the planning stages, ensuring that those most affected by recreational management decisions have a platform to share their ideas and preferences.

Moving forward, the Forest Service is preparing to enter a new phase of the project, focusing on the development of a detailed proposal that is informed by the insights gathered from the Stakeholder Engagement Report. This marks a significant step towards making the Klahanie Campground a safe, accessible, and enjoyable space for both the community and visitors, aligning with broader goals of sustainable recreation and conservation.

To view the Stakeholder Engagement Report, visit the Olympic National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/olympic/home/?cid=FSEPRD1037740.

Photo taken by Jonathan Miske