Thursday, September 14, 2006

NAC Action Alert: Olympic Hot Springs

Copyright 2006 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE: September 14, 2006
SUBJECT: Washington: Olympic Hot Springs
TO: Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee concerning an important situation at Olympic National Park in the state of Washington.

The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) is considering significant changes to Olympic National Park, which is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam County in far northwest Washington. Some of the proposed changes involve Olympic Hot Springs, a popular soaking spot for naturists. Unless the Park Service plan is modified through public outcry, the likely result will include complete removal of the soaking pools at the Springs.

Please read this entire NAC Action Alert before taking action. NAC is asking you to:
1) send specific comments to the Park Service concerning the Plan.
2) become part of a local support team for Olympic Hot Springs.


To coordinate the proposed changes, the Park Service has developed a 400-page draft of a new General Management Plan. Park Service planners have come up with four versions of management scenarios for Olympic National Park. Those range from Alternative A, which involves the least change, to Alternative D, which is the management scheme preferred by NPS.

The Naturist Action Committee assesses it to be quite unlikely that NPS will ultimately select Alternative A, the so-called "no action" option. Alternatives B, C and D all involve the "rehabilitation" of the Olympic Hot Springs site. That's Park-speak for complete removal of the manmade soaking pools located there.


Olympic Hot Springs is actually made up of 21 natural hillside seepages that drain into Boulder Creek, a tributary of the Elwha River. Sometimes called Boulder Hot Springs or Triple 21 Hot Springs, the springs flow year round and are a longtime traditional spot for clothing-optional use. The temperature of the seepages ranges to 138 degrees F, but the seven manmade rock-and-mortar soaking pools that collect the spring water stay at about 105 degrees.

In the early 1900s, a resort existed at the site of Olympic Hot Springs. Public works projects in the 1930s improved the road that runs nearby. The resort buildings suffered from fire, weather and lack of maintenance, and were dismantled in 1972. The road remains in fair condition.

The Naturist Action Committee has conferred extensively with several Park Service managers responsible for Olympic National Park, and for Olympic Hot Springs, specifically. The nudity that's customary at the springs is not a particular problem, and isn't even mentioned in the draft of the General Management Plan.

However, there are two important concerns about the site that are shared by Park Service managers and responsible naturists, alike. The first of those is sanitation. The existing number and arrangement of the soaking pools at Olympic Hot Springs limits the natural beneficial effect of flow-through cleansing. The result is that unhealthy levels of fecal coliform and other contamination are allowed to accumulate, especially in the lower pools.

A second major concern is an undesirable cumulative impact on the local environment. NPS proposes to mitigate local impact by removing the soaking pools altogether.

Naturists familiar with the spring say the best solution does not fit neatly into any of the four pre-packaged alternatives.


The Naturist Action Committee is involved in ongoing discussions with Olympic National Park management and with local naturists who are knowledgeable about hot springs in the Pacific Northwest and about Olympic Hot Springs specifically. NAC's special thanks go to Rick Pierdes, whose valuable insight has helped shape this NAC Action Alert.

NAC has proposed specific amendments to the General Management Plan that's presently under consideration.


The Naturist Action Committee is asking you to do TWO things:

1) Send a pertinent comment on the Management Plan to Park Service managers.

2) Become involved with a hands-on group specifically supporting Olympic Hot Springs.


NAC is asking ALL NATURISTS and other concerned individuals to write, regardless of where you live. The area at issue is U.S. public land being administered as a National Park. This is a matter that affects us all. The deadline for submitting comments is September 30, 2006.


You must make your comments in writing. Phone calls are not sufficient for the purpose of building the permanent record that will be used to gauge public interest and sentiment.

The deadline for submitting comments is September 30, 2006. Please send your comments to any ONE of the destinations below.

by letter:
Carla McConnell
Olympic National Park — GMP
National Park Service
Denver Service Center — Planning
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225

or by fax:
NPS Denver Service Center
(303) 969-2736

or by Web site form:

or by e-mail:

Key points to remember when writing:

1. Identify yourself. Give your name and address. Anonymous correspondence is generally disregarded.

2. Be brief and polite.

3. Write clearly and specifically that you believe NONE of the four proposed alternatives adequately addresses Olympic Hot Springs.

4. Write clearly that you support the following three key amendments that have been suggested to Park Service management by the Naturist Action Committee:

A. Retain soaking at Olympic Hot Springs, but reduce the number of pools at the Springs site to three or four, located near the main source. This will improve cleanliness by offering less restriction to flow. It will help rehabilitate the runoff area, reduce the impact of use and enhance the integrity of the environment.

B. Contract the maintenance of the resource to an experienced caretaker. This approach has been implemented with great success by other agencies responsible for managing hot spring resources in the Pacific Northwest.

C. Convert the road (Olympic Hot Springs Road) to a trail beyond the Altair site. This is similar to an item proposed in Alternative B of the draft of the General Management Plan.


Here are some additional points to consider:

1. Clothing-optional use at traditional sites in the park is an environmentally friendly, low impact use of the resource.

2. Naturists are responsible stewards of public lands.

3. "Rehabilitation" of Olympic Hot Springs does not require that the resource be made unusable for those seeking remote recreational experiences. Other details of Alternative D, the NPS-preferred plan, accommodate traditional uses, and the traditional use at Olympic Hot Springs should be among those that are retained.


Local solutions depend on local support! Naturist Action Committee Area Representative Howard Williamson has stepped forward to head up a volunteer group for the specific support of Olympic Hot Springs. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, NAC encourages you to become personally involved with this important effort.

Contact Howard by e-mail:
or contact NAC board member Mark Storey:


Additional information and links are available, along with this NAC Action Alert on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Action Alert under Current Alerts. The NAC Web resources include the complete text of the draft General Management Plan for Olympic National Park, as well as map data and links to other resources.


The Naturist Action Committee is a volunteer nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. Fighting for the clothing-optional recreational use of public land is expensive. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you. To donate to NAC, use the address below

PO Box 132
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.


Mark Storey
Board Member
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC)
- PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton -
Board Member Mark Storey -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick -

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