CLEATOR'S 1928 REPORT
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CLEATOR'S 1928 MAP
REPORT - 1928
REPORT - 1937 - COVER LETTER
1937 REGIONAL MAP
REPORT - 1937
RECREATIONAL AREA MAPS
Report of Olympic National Forest Recreation Plan
By Fred W. Cleator
Cleator 1927 (Rooney "Frontier Legacy"
Fred Cleator with Bob Marshall, 1938
University of Oregon Libraries, courtesy of
Barney Mann, PCTA.
May 25, 1928
Referred to as "the Cleator Plan". Cleator was recreation planner for USFS Northwest Region 6,
and was based in Portland. He had previously authored the 1921 Lake Crescent and 1924 Lake
Quinault Recreation Plans, as well as Dungeness Forks, Lower Elwha, Elwha Reservoir, and Lake
Lena recreation plans. This 1928 forest-wide plan incorporated these, and was based on Cleator's
field survey of August-September 1927, which are detailed in his field diaries (NA-PAR, RG 95,
History Files, Boxes 37, 38 and 39).
In 1930, the USFS designated the 134,000-acre Olympic Primitive Area, suggested in the Cleator
Cleator also wrote the Mount Hood Recreation Plan, including the Timberline trail and Lodge,
and the Oregon Skyline and Cascade Crest trail plans.
Olympic Forest Recreation Plan [map]
By F. W. Cleator
Copy by A. R. Cochman, Nov. 28, 1928
Based on 1923 Olympic National Forest base map with hand-drawn color overlays and legend.
Recreational Facilities of Olympic National Forest and Forest Service Plan of Development
By Fred W. Cleator
February 24, 1937
Manuscript for submission to the Forest Club Quarterly, volume 10, 1937 (to be published by
University of Washington Forest Club).
National Archives, Pacific-Alaska Region, Seattle
Record Group 95 (USFS Region 6)
History Files, 1905-1990
ARC Identifier 5020044, HSR/MLR Entry Numbers 6149
Box 67, file Recreation: Olympic 1925-1937
Enchanted Valley Recreation Unit, 1928
Low Divide Recreation Unit, 1929
Low Divide Resort Sites & Halfway Resort Site, 1926
Lena Lake Recreation Area, 1927
Shelton Ranger District Recreation Plan, 1943-1949
For background on Cleator's other projects.
National Archives, Pacific-Alaska Region, Seattle
Record Group 95 (USFS Region 6)
Historical Maps, 1908-1981
ARC Identifier 5155902
Map Case Drawer B
Notes and scans by Rod Farlee, Jan. 5, 2012.
Report of Olympic National Forest Recreational Plan
By Fred W. Cleator
May 25, 1928
The field survey for this plan was undertaken in August and September 1927. It was intended
that Recreation Examiner and Supervisor R. L. Plumb should do this field study jointly, but
Supervisor Plumb was interrupted by an unusual fire situation, except for a few days on the
Dosewallips and Elwha. However, his valuable advice, as well as that of several Forest rangers,
was sought and incorporated as part of, or fitted to the plan where applicable.
The Olympic National Forest, including a net area of 1,529,501 acres, has an enormous
volume of timber; in fact, it is one of the greatest timbered Forests in the United States.
About two-thirds of this area, or some 900,000 acres, in the lower valleys and slopes
and fringes of the Forest bears the commercial timber; in fact, practically the entire
timber in volume. As with other alpine country, the Olympic has its alpine meadows,
its scrubby but picturesque timberline species. Due to steep topography, this subalpine
type normally graduates abruptly through rough intermediate species to the lowland
Douglas fir and fog-belt types. Knowing the precipitation, a stranger might expect to
find an impenetrable brush-jungle condition in the lowlands on account of moisture.
This is encountered somewhat, but not so very much in the virgin timber. Along large
streams, as the Queets, Hoh, and Quinault, which in their meanderings have formed broad
valleys, there have resulted many miles of rather low bottoms of alder and maple. The
elk wintering in large herds in these valleys have reached up giraffe-like and have
cleaned up the brush, forming thousands of acres of the most beautiful park-like hardwood
groves, sometimes carpeted with moss 6 to 10 inches deep. Elk relish some species of
moss, but not sphagnum. Contrary to the average opinion, it is stated by good backwoods
authority that the winter of exceptionally deep snow benefits rather than otherwise, due
to the increased forage in tree limbs.
Rhododendron is plentiful on east side of the mountains, up to 2,000 feet elevation, with
occasional trees up to 2,500. None noticed in the Elwha watershed or westward.
Salal, Oregon grape, huckleberries, and sword ferns are very common undergrowth in all parts
of the lower country. The salal grows luxuriantly, and often dominates up to 2,800 feet.
Individual specimens run up to 3,500 and 3,700 feet, as do Oregon grape and sword fern.
At above 3,000 feet, if other conditions are right, the lower, brush type, sloping alpine
meadow starts, with false hellebore, a typical herb, and Alaska cypress, a dominant tree type.
This meadow type, when not too much interrupted, extends upward to the stream basin, picking up
purple heather almost constantly in the neighborhood of 3,600 elevation; while heather a few
hundred feet higher, then sedum and other beautiful alpine-flower species, to the snow line,
which differs in elevation according to slope and aspect.
Mountain and western hemlocks will generally mingle at about 2,000 to 2,500 feet elevation.
Alaska cypress will go down to 2,500, - where it grows large, - and up to about 5,400, where it
occasionally looks like a very pretty yellowish moss. White pine is found quite generally at
higher altitudes. Douglas fir, western hemlock, Sitka spruce, and western red cedar are the
predominating lowland species.
From the high rugged masses on the interior, with probably the greatest precipitation of any
large region in continental United States, rivers and stream radiating in all directions and
with many ramifications, have strongly influenced the topography.
Perhaps the topography may be better understood if examples of large stream bottoms are given.
Beginning at the mouth of the Quinault River and proceeding up river, one arrives at about 250
feet at Quinault Lake and at the 21-mile post, a total of about seventy miles up as the river
goes, the elevation is only 1900 feet, or an average grade of 0.5%. From this point the bottom
rises rapidly from 1900 feet, in about five miles, to 4,500 elevations in Anderson Pass, or an
average grade of 10%.
Similarly, the Elwha River in some 44 miles rises to about 2,200 elevations, or about 50 feet
per mile, and then in three miles rises to Low Divide, at elevation of about 3,000, or,
northerly, in about six miles, rises to about 4,900 feet in the Dodwell-Rixon, or about 450
feet per mile.
These examples are typical, and indicate how deeply the river valleys indent into the earth
crust and how greatly they enhance the ruggedness of what otherwise might be considered an
Sharp, knifelike, rocky ridges, where the traveler may look sharply down to either hand, give
one at first somewhat the feeling experienced by the urchin walking the sharp roof-comb of the
old barn. From these ridges the average slope to the river bottom is steep to precipitous.
Sometimes it drops in a series of cliffs and rugged escarpments. Again there will be the
wonderful hanging alpine valleys, the high pocket branches, the so-called basin at each stream
head, which is ordinarily of much gentler mould than the adjoining symmetry.
The intervening country is usually steep or precipitous and hard to navigate. The river
bottoms are wide, sometimes in miles on the west side, but inclined to narrowness on the east
side. Looking up from the bottoms, one will frequently be astounded at the glimpse of one
rock tower above another and another unexpected above that, which is possibly an optical
illusion, due to heavy covering of timber on lower slopes hiding the foundations.
There are no large lakes in the high country, in fact, not a very great number of small ones.
There are two famous large lakes in the lowlands, Crescent and Quinault.
Although the Olympic summits are slightly under 8,000 in altitude, the uplift is extensive
and prodigious that in combination with a tremendous snowfall and cool summers a wonderful
glacier system is the result.
The actual precipitation in the high country is probably unknown, but without the slightest
doubt it rains considerably over 100 inches per year. Fall, winter, and spring are wet seasons.
From July 1 to September 1 the weather is generally fair, but a shower should not be unexpected
at any month of the year. Occasionally there may be quite a heavy summer fog or rainstorm.
The high country is, of course, always cool and refreshing in good weather but may be very
miserable indeed in bad weather.
D. Use by the Public
The recreation areas near the large lakes and outside the Forest along Hoods Canal are very
heavily patronized. Fishermen go up the streams in considerable numbers where the auto will
penetrate, but auto roads hardly do more than touch the outside fringes or skirts of the
The high country, being accessible only by trail, is not heavily frequented. There is an
occasional group of hikers. In fishing and hunting season there is quite a tendency to pack
train expeditions by wealthier visitors. Mountaineering clubs make an occasional invasion.
There are commercial packers with saddle and packhorses at several points about the edges of
At present it might be said not to be a typical women's country. The examiner saw in five
weeks 75 men and boy adventures, but only one-woman traveler. However, it is understood that
the percentage of women visitors is actually considerably higher.
The ability and agility of some 25 or 30 of the elder boy scouts, with equipment and rations
unthinkably light, was an eye-opener to the examiner. These boys in small exploring groups
knew exactly what they were doing and where they were going.
E. Fish and Game
The high mountain lakes are not large enough to support heavy and sustained fishing. The large
lowland lakes on the other hand have better fishing than may be usually expected adjacent to
Two recently constructed power reservoirs will soon add greatly to the fishing assets. Certain
fishing steams, as the Elwha and East Fork Quinault, are quite popular as fishing grounds.
Glacial silt in some streams is unfavorable to fishing interests. Consistent trout stocking
of favorable waters will greatly benefit the fishing situation.
The elk and bear make a wonderful moving picture in this region. The ordinary camera does
not do justice to the game situation. More particularly in late summer and fall, the traveler
is practically sure to see them in larger or small numbers. Deer also are quite common in
places, but apparently are considerably overshadowed by the elk.
The examiner saw one day in early September 14 bear, the next day about 75 elk. Three fourths
of the bear could have been easily killed from horseback on the trail by a good rifle shot.
They were large innocent fellows harvesting huckleberries. Examiner believes they should be
protected all the year around in the high country. Ticks bother and not infrequently
contribute to the death of elk weaken by hard winters. According to statement of Hoquiam
Chamber of Commerce Secretary, elk are taking strongly to the cut over lands in low country;
and in fact, are making these pastures a year-round habitat. This habit, if it continues to
grow, will greatly assist in the elk problems.
Whistlers and other marmots add great interest to the more rugged alpine country. Goats are
not natural to the country. A few have been introduced and have been observed very infrequently
in the steep breaks of Baldy Ridge east of Lake Crescent.
Lynx, cougar, bobcats, and some other fur-bearing animals are native to the country and are
quite plentiful in some places. Of late year's coyotes have introduced themselves in the
northeasterly parts of the Peninsula
F. Reservoir possibilities
There will probably be no irrigation reservoirs of consequences, due to generally heavy
precipitation. Except possibly in a few spots near Port Townsend, which actually need summer
irrigation to maintain crops, there will be none required.
Two large power sites inside Forest boundaries have been developed and there are several more
applied for or considered. There are federal power withdrawals on practically all the rivers,
which must be considered in any future recreation, plans and uses surveys. Climatic and
topographical conditions make the region a wonderful asset in the world of power. There is
perhaps plenty for all the pulp mills, and other industries, and municipal uses expected on
the Peninsula as well as a share for some of the outside power market.
These power projects, under much restrictions as the Forest Service now insists upon, will
add greatly to the recreation value of the country, which is now lacking somewhat in the
average of large lakes. Reservoirs will supplement and serve to fill an increasing want, add
greatly to fishing and boating pleasures, and make a remarkably desirable asset.
G. Forest Management
With some few exceptions, the heavy timber zone should be handled entirely by Forest Management
under such fire control plans as are necessary for its preservation. The exceptions will be
at and near large lakes and reservoirs which must probably give permanent precedence to
recreation interests, the zone of influence varying in accordance with recreation and scenic
needs under policies as agreed upon under approved detailed unit recreation plans.
There should be little if any administrative conflict in the great timbered valleys. Timber
exploitation will naturally take precedence here with the following modifications.
Alder and maple bottoms, leaving the heavy coniferous timber to the rear and on steep slopes
flanking the bottom, occupy many miles of river frontages. A strip of green growing timber
both sides of road and between road and river will make a scenic setting as well as a good
firebreak in the future when exploitation leaves debris hazards. Such reservations of timber
strips should be made as appear warranted previous to any timber exploitation in any of the
valleys. In the large west-side valleys massive operations may thus be carried on practically
out of sight of heavy tourist traffic, yet be sufficiently obvious at places to draw the
observation of those who are interested in this kind of industry.
Where the valley bottoms, particularly toward outlets on west side, are known to be subject to
unusual wind throw, special study and decision as to scenic strips, will be necessary when
timber sales impend.
In some cases it will be preferable to leave larger groupings or wind proof tracts of timber
in advantageous places, such as camps or local parks, as nuclei for the new stands, or as
samples of virgin timber.
Present recreation interests are in the alpine country or the lake country below. If in the
future a demand for camps, summer cottages, clubs, etc., arises in favorable spots (hardwood
bottoms) on the main river banks, the matter should be studied with proper consideration to
fire menace and timber exploitation, and the conclusions be approved by the District Forester.
Under Topic H (Project descriptions) it is stated under Projects 1 and 2 that the boundary
lines of these projects are with minor exceptions intended to be the upper limits of commercial
timber. The present timber reconnaissance maps are not very accurate. When these shall have
been corrected some adjustment of these boundaries will quite likely be found advisable.
It is not intended by those boundaries that timber exploitation inside of Projects 1 and 2 is
forever and absolutely prohibited; but they do mean that is anticipated that within these
projects modifications of the ordinary cutting practices will probably have to be made in order
that they should be harmonious with the scenic and recreational objectives of the areas
Also these boundaries do not mean that timber exploitation shall go on unrestricted outside.
There are certain conditions, scenic and recreational assets now known or anticipated which
will require that the heads of the following named valleys shall receive previous special study
with emphasis on recreational and scenic effects and values, meaning possible modification in
operation; and to be exploited only in such manner as is approved by the District Forester:
Hoh valley above Lake Creek
Soleduck valley above Sol Duc Hot Springs
Elwha valley above Elkhorn Ranger Station
Dosewallips valley above Miners Creek
Duckabush valley above Meridian line 125 degrees and 10 minutes.
North Park Skokomish valley above Six Stream
Skokomish valley above Church Creek
Wynoochee valley above West branch
Humptulips valley located in T. 23 N., R. 8 W.
Quinault valley above North Fork
H. Grazing Interests
The grazing of domestic stock will probably never amount to much in this region. The high
meadows contain good feed which will be in demand for saddle and pack horses and possibly a
few milk cattle and sheep for local use of recreational facilities. Elk and deer will always
require a large share of this succulent highland summer forage.
I. Roads and Trails
The map shows, by legend, existing roads, highways, and recreation trails, as well as indicating
The Forest Service has considered by the public, and to some extent two trans-Olympic road or
highway routes. These are the North Fork Quinault - Elwha River, and the East Fork Quinault -
Dosewallips. The establishment of both would require vast sums of money. Neither the Forest
Service nor the general public is at present agreed upon one or both of these routings. The
building of two such roads would be inimical to the generally accepted wilderness idea of the
high Olympics as a whole, but would leave the proposed primitive area (Project 2) intact, so
the immense territories of mountain fastnesses would still be left untrammeled. The more
favorable of the two proposed roads from a recreation standpoint is believed by examiner to
be the East Fork Quinault - Dosewallips route.
Local valley roads, as more fully described in the topic concerning fire protection, are believed
to be a necessity. The map indicates proposed termini of such roads. It should be said that
they agree to all intents and purposes with comprehensive road program, and that very little
enhancement of this program is expected to be necessary to fulfill recreation needs, unless
it should be agreed that one or both of the proposed trans-Olympic roads are necessary.
The map indicates trails and proposed trails of recreation value. Those proposed follow the
comprehensive trail program, and it is not intended that recreation needs should noticeably
disarrange administrative plans, although it is quite probable that a few new high trails will
be added to the program, due to combined administrative and recreation needs. It may be said
in a general way that since the primitive idea is quite popular in these parts, we need not
hurry unduly in furnishing all the trails wanted by local people and organizations, although
it is believed best by examiner that the Forest Service should endeavor to favor recreation
more than ordinarily in setting priority. Many of the proposed trails are in open alpine
country, which will mean that many miles will cost comparatively little. A trail between
East Fork Quinault and Dosewallips via West Creek is a very much needed and vital connection
in a recreation way, and examiner suggests early administrative study looking to a raise in
priority to primary status if warranted. It forms a direct route between Grays Harbor and
Puget Sound through a very spectacular and scenic country.
Especially important, it seems to the examiner, is a proposed trail (now on trail program)
connecting the Elwha Basin with the Hoh, via Queets Basin. To go horseback or on foot (safely)
for that matter, from Olympic Ranger Station to Elwha Basin now requires a journey of some 70
miles (about 5 hard days) which could be shortened to about 14 miles, or one average day, by
the proposed short cut. The examiner looked over 6 miles of it over the Dodwell-Rixon Pass.
He found it entirely feasible and apparently quite inexpensive. It would be a wonderful
J. Fire Protection
To make use of the wonderful advantages of the high interior, entrance must be made by way of
roads and trails through valleys and some of stupendous timber growth, the increasing value
of which is an economic way must not be too much imperiled by human contact. True, the very
heaviest bottoms of this timber on the west front lie in the fog belt, which is generally
considered a fireproof area when timber is green and growing. (Quinault fire of 1927 proves
that this theory does not entirely hold good). There have been devastating fires on the west
side of the Olympics. A large part of the Bogachiel River watershed was burned over about
200 years ago. More recent burns are the Soleduck burn, the burn in T. 22, R. 10 [Note added:
this refers to the Quinault Burn], and the Quinault Lake fire of 1927. The trees are covered
with moss, and once a fire gets started under favorable burning conditions it is difficult to
Devastating lightning fires in the season of 1927 have proved that the Olympic is not entirely
fireproof to electric jolts.
To best handle the general recreation situation and demand, and do it safely, it is considered
imperative by the examiner, and so recommended, that in accordance with priority and as
illustrated on the map by road legend, every main timber valley be furnished with an
administrative forest road as soon as practicable. In short, the examiner recommends in this
connection that access be so arranged that tourists and travelers may, in bulk, be hurried
through the commercial timber zones. There is now a very high possible or potential fire
menace in the lower valleys and slopes of the Olympics.
K. General Requirements
It will be necessary to pay particular attention to sanitation in all recreation camps and
units. People are becoming better educated, but never will be perfect.
Once in the high country, people will be but little fire menace, but everlasting vigilance is
and will be necessary in the timber zones.
It is the consensus of general opinion that a large portion of the high Olympics should be
kept as a primitive area, as little modified as possible, but still not left to itself as a
menace to the storm-ridden traveler and a graveyard for the inexperienced. All primitive
inhabitants demand some measure of comfort. The marmot whistler has his secure home in the
rocks, the bear his den, the hawk his nest. If the Indian were still in jurisdiction, he
would doubtless have his tepee. The white man will have to be allowed at least a tent or
rough shelter; and in particular places, as noted on the map, safety stations are recommended,
but not on the true primitive wilderness area (Project 2).
L. Municipal Watersheds
Provision for proper sanitation on the Big Quilcene River and Ennis and Morse Creek watersheds
must be made, since the city of Port Townsend is building a pipe line from the forks of the
Quilcene River and Port Angeles is already taking water for city use from Morse Creek and Ennis
Creek. A project is also under way to take water from the Wynoochee River to Aberdeen, but the
recreational use of the Wynoochee watershed is so small that is need not be considered at
It would appear that the Forest Service should not make large closures to the general public
on account of city watershed encroachment. Experience shows that it might very conceivably
happen if treated thus that the entire high Olympics would be in time closed to recreational
usage as community after community grows up and expands in the low country. Chlorination may
have to be resorted to in the future.
M. Project Descriptions
On the map will be found a number of projects indexed with large heavy Arabic numerals. There
are described below in numerical order.
Outside of project areas will be found circles and other symbols, which are explained in the
map legend. These mean present or proposed roads, trails, public-camps, trail depots, etc.,
for convenience of traveling public. They do not require individual description.
By trail depot is meant generally a packer or guide's camp, carried on under permit and as a
commercial proposition. Frequently it will be at the end of a road. Sometimes it will be an
intermediary depot for accommodation of the traveler on foot or on horseback, as the Ninemile
Depot on North Fork Quinault [note added: refers to Halfway House, proposed by Olympic
Recreation Company to serve travelers to their Low Divide Chalet]. In later years some will be
on roads at important trail entrances to high country. The idea of these trail depots is not
to build up resorts in the ordinary meaning of the word. They should, however, be prepared to
give a traveler a clean, wholesome meal and good night's shelter in a clean, warm bed. At least
one well-built, permanent building should be allowable, and, in fact, required. Ordinarily,
the building should be so planned as to have the kitchen, eating room and bedrooms or bunks
under one roof. Tents may be necessary for peak loads. The permits should be plainly labeled
as packer's stations.
Safety stations are also recommended. These are explained under Project 1, where they will
Proposed Mt. Olympus Snow Peaks Recreation Area
This area of about [note added: typewritten 406,000 is scratched out, and handwritten correction
inserted] 316,960 acres, including the highest and roughest of the Olympic Mountains, will in
effect be a primitive area. Owing to the fact that it is too wild and rough and dangerous, too
much subject to storms and fog to be permanently reserved as it is, - a menace to the thousands
of future travelers who are going to invade it from large centers of population close by, the
examiner has labeled it with a more elastic name, - one which according to rigidity of wilderness
policy, will fit the conditions better. Of the acreage, all but about 10,000 acres is clearly
no operative type, valueless for timber exploitation for many years to come.
There is now one operating resort (Olympic Chalet) in the heart of the area, planned in detail
and described under Project 3.
One other resort site is planned for this project. At about 21 mile post on East Fork Quinault
the trail suddenly breaks from continuous timber to a great open park extending along both sides
of the river, flanked by rock walls but particularly on the north side by miles of imposing
precipices, and rugged escarpments. Hundreds of smaller waterfalls in moister seasons, shoot,
trickle, cascade, or otherwise pour over these cliffs into a scenic masterpiece. At very rough
estimates some of the falls cascade down 1,500 to 2,000 feet, all in full sight of the observer.
In dry season these give way to perhaps 20 to 30 small streams, still alive with spectacular
cascades and falls.
This together with the wonderful background of snow peaks and glaciers, and immediate foreground
of open, elk trimmed, grass floored, hardwood parks, and makes a most wonderfully attractive
scenic playground. There is room for hundreds of people to play about without interference.
With the possible construction of a trans-Olympic road down this valley, it appears that a well
developed resort and public camp would be well warranted. Based on trail accessibility, this
site would be classified for the same purpose, but based on a less impressive plan, one on the
order of the present low Divide development, and one which could fit, it necessary, into a
In addition, there is planned by the examiner a gradual accretion of what he calls "Safety
Stations" shown on the map in the form of red triangles. To safeguard the public, there will
be necessary at or near the designated points (none nearer to each other than an average day's
trail journey), a permanent building of rustic nature, where the traveler may get a wholesome
meal and a clean, warm bed. These will probably be most economically run by packers or guides
in connection with their business. Some of these may be expected in the more or less distant
future to develop into chalets.
Dosemeadows at the head of Dosewallips River will in the future be a very popular gathering
place. Examiner recommends no road building to make it accessible. Much of its value lies
in the wonderful mountain meadows strong out in the high basin for several miles along the
As a pack-horse-guide depot it can hardly be surpassed for natural conveniences in the entire
Hayden Pass, approximately 5,760 feet elevation, lies at the very head of this valley and
offers a most wonderful panorama to the westward. The Olympics stand forth within beckoning
distance, and the outdoor lover cannot but be lured westward.
The most effective and enjoyable trail trip through the high Olympics at present is probably
up the Dosewallips, over Hayden Pass, down Hayes River, up Elwha to Low Divide, side trips to
Martins Park and Queets Basin, and finish at Quinault Lake, with perhaps a canoe ride to the
coast, - a good leisurely 10-day trip from tidewater to tidewater.
It is intended that the map should explain the situation so far as possible. It is recommended
that the one high mountain chalet at Low Divide and the proposed East Fork chalet take care of
the major resort situation for the area at least until something more is clearly needed, and
approved by the District Forester.
As soon as the map is corrected, and made accurate, which is expected within the near future,
considerable readjustment may be necessary in boundaries and in map culture. At such time a
detail map on a scale of at least 1/2" = 1 mile, with topography as base, should be prepared
as an auxiliary exhibit. This map should indicate corrections and additional data such as
trail distances between various points, as well as average saddle horse or hiker's time basis
between such points. This may be used as a basis for a descriptive pamphlet for public use.
(Hand written notes on document, but they cannot be read)
The boundary is intended to skirt the upper edge of the commercial timber zone, except where it
adjoins area No. 2, and here it is intended to include the usable portions of the East Fork
The Mt. Olympus National Monument more nearly coincides with this area than any other. It was
made a state game refuge in 1927 by action of the County Commissioners and the State Supervisor
of Game and Game Fish.
As soon as warranted by use, the Forest Service should label all existing trails and new trails
as built, with an individual color scheme (small placard or point spot) on wayside trees and
rocks. Guide maps show these trails indicated in color or preferably with words "red", "white",
etc. along the trails, designated with those colors in the mountains. While this system of
trail marking will, perhaps, appear rather conventional, it is believed that much trouble and
probably loss of life will be avoided, and the administration of the Forest eased and benefited
in every way thereby, partly because of thousands of heavily used elk trails, which are often
(Photos not available in this version)
Photos 220,597 to 220,630 taken by the examiner, illustrate various conditions along the East
Photos 220,577 to 220,579 and 222,872 to 222,876 illustrate the Low Divide Recreation Unit.
Photos 222,877 to 222,890 illustrate the Martins Park, Mt. Christy country south of Low Divide.
Photos 220,557 to 220,576 illustrate the trip form Hayden Pass to Elwha River and up it to Low
Divide, including some few from Hayden Pass to Dosemeadows.
Photos 222,892 to 222,897 illustrate Elwha Basin and the Snowfinger Trail.
Photos 333,898 to 222,917 illustrate the Queets Basin and south side Mt. Olympus, though weather
was cloudy and unsatisfactory for good views.
Photos 221,304 to 221,308 illustrate Mt. Olympus and Blue Glacier in distance from Bogachiel
Ridge. Nos. 221,338 to 221, 351 illustrates Mt. Olympus and Blue Glacier intimately from north
Olympic Primitive Area
This area of about 155,000 acres, as indicated on the map, is a wonderful example of alpine
wilderness. Of this acreage not less than 137,000 acres is alpine type with no commercial
timber value. It is gentler in topography on the average than Project Area 1. It is not only
spectacular, but restful as well. Its chief charm, perhaps, will be the frequent groupings of
small lakes nestled in large, graceful alpine gardens to delight the eye and senses and
contrasting with the rugged peaks which bristle about. The country roughens to the northeast.
This area should be included in the special detailed write-up recommended for the Project
Area 1. In fact, the entire area of Projects 1 and 2 may be described as to recreational uses,
perhaps under the popular name of "Olympic Primitive or Wilderness Area". Project Area No. 2
then will be intended to function as the real technical, practically unmodified primitive area,
and my be pointed out as such to those enthusiasts who may be inclined to doubt the integrity
of the main area. The only modifications here should be in the way of such Forest Service
administrative improvements as are absolutely necessary for protection, such as trails, telephone
lines and lookout houses. Other buildings beyond such rough shelters as may be considered
necessary, should be kept out.
This area being rather long and narrow would appear in its natural condition to be fairly safe
and well adapted for the purpose. A set of Primitive Area rules may be found necessary at a
See description in Project No. 1 about colored trail guide markers, which should probably be
very effective in this Project 1 as well.
The boundaries of this area are intended to skirt the upper edge of the commercial timber
bodies, except where it joins with Project Area No. 1. The usable portions of East Fork Quinault
Valley are not intended to lie within Project No. 2.
Photos 220,520 to 220,533 and 220,539 to 220,555 illustrate the northeastern half of this
Low Divide Recreation Unit
This area, which is within Project 1, has been studied and is provided with a detailed unit
recreation plan, which is on file. This unit will be intimately related with and naturally
govern to a large extent the recreational range of Project No. 1, especially the south side.
The expected development of Project No. 1 will hardly occur without proper development of the
Low Divide as the heart of the enterprise.
Quinault Lake Recreation Unit
The Quinault Recreation Unit is covered in detail by special recreation plan, which is approved
and on record. This unit includes about 300 acres of usable land.
The surrounding region of about 6,750 acres will be very careful handled, scenic and recreation
values taking precedence.
Recreation interests are strongly established here and real estate values are correspondingly
high adjoining the lake. The unit is also a natural depot for visitors to the high country, -
fishermen and hunters who take pack trips to the interior, as well as a great local attraction
in it self. The completion of the Olympic Highway loop will add considerably more recreation
value to this unit.
Lake Crescent Unit
This area has been planned in detail for recreation uses, which plan is on file. It includes
about 200 acres of usable ground all of heavy timber type. It is a heavily developed area in a
recreational way; they're being private resorts and many private homes on the lake. It is the
Forest Service policy to favor recreation interests and scenic values on and near this lake over
all other uses.
Lower Elwha Recreation Unit
This area has been planned in detail for recreation uses, which plan is on file. It has been
an area of quite heavy recreational use, which will probably give way largely to the popularity
of Project No. 7, recently developed. It includes about 114 acres of usable recreation ground,
all of timber type. [Note added: this refers to Elwha and the proposed Altair campgrounds, Elwha
Ranger Station, Waumila Lodge, and adjacent resort and store.]
Elwha Reservoir Unit
This area has been planned in detail for recreation uses, which plan is on file. Actual
recreation development has not yet started, since the power reservoir, which created the new
unit, has been very recently completed. In includes about 180 acres of recreational ground
and scenic reserve strip, all burned over, but of type productive of heavy timber. [Note
added: this refers to Glines Canyon Dam and Lake Mills]
Olympic Hot Springs Unit
This area has been used for many years, and quite strongly developed as a resort. A road is
now being built to make it accessible from the Elwha river country. As a result of pioneering
and better shelter planning, this enterprise is not a very satisfactory exhibit. At rough
estimate, there are about 50 acres of recreational ground of timber type, but recreational
A recreational plan of this unit should be made in the near future. The resort buildings should
be accurately mapped with reverence to the area and springs, so that definite inspection and
approval of construction plans will be possible.
This area itself is in a rather narrow canyon. There appears to be usable benches for camps
and summer home adjacent. These will probably be in demand as soon as the road enters.
Seven Lakes Unit
This is a very scenic high-mountain area. It is already popular with those who are visiting
the Sol Duck Hot Springs resort on private land just below. This area includes about 15,000
acres, all alpine in type and without timber value.
The examiner recommends that this area be kept pretty much as it is, with one exception. There
is a point marked as a "Safety Station", which should be developed as such, with some resort
features. The location for this safety station just east of Bogachiel Peak is on a small grassy
flat of about 4 or 5 acres at about 5,000 feet elevation on the main ridge. Here is provided
one of the very most remarkable mountain views ever seen by the examiner, - one well worthy
of development for other people to enjoy, though undoubtedly short in season. The extremely
rugged north slope of Mt. Olympus is in the uninterrupted view. Blue Glacier strongly denotes
its prescience by the clear blue easily visible at eight miles distance. Just under the crest
to the north lies 7-Lakes Basin. Running water in limited amount comes down the ridge from
Bogachiel Peak to westward. Summer snow conditions would need study before resort building.
As soon as the new U.S.G.S. topographic map for this locality is finished, a detail map on
probably 2-inch-to-mile scale should be prepared with topography base, and a simple unit
recreation plan prepared, showing trails and proposed trails, lakes, camps, proposed safety
stations, etc., including Sol Duc Hot Springs resort and camp and Hoh bottom and Olympus
station to southward. No roads should be planned in this project. This area should also be
included in the popular descriptive pamphlet for Projects 1 and 2 when they are prepared.
Photos No. 221,301 to 221,325 illustrate this unit.
Photos 221,326 to 221,336 illustrate the valley floor of the Hoh River just to the south.
Mount Angeles Unit
This area is valuable principally because Mount Angeles is located so near Port Angeles, and its
future use will be principally by local residents.
It includes about 6,000 acres, of which not more than 500 are timberland of questionable value,
the remainder being alpine type.
Over a fair auto road six miles in length people from Port Angeles can reach the base of the
mountain, from which it is an easy climb to the top at an elevation of 6,500 feet, where a
magnificent view of the Olympics and a large part of the Puget Sound country may be obtained.
The Klahhane Club of Port Angeles, a mountain-climbing organization, has a special use permit
for a headquarters camp at the base of Mount Angeles. A small private resort, with store, gas
station and housekeeping cabins, is located at the end of the road. [Note added: this refers to
Heart O' the Hills]
A recreation trail should be built from the Mount Angeles trail to connect with the trail from
Hurricane Ridge to Obstruction Pt.
No further use permits should be issued here until a unit recreation plan is prepared and
This is a small area between the forks of the Dungeness River. It includes about 50 acres,
which is of commercial timber type. There are two summer-home permits on the area; several lots
surveyed which have not been taken, and a public campground. A small meadow furnishes horse
feed for travelers. A survey was made several years ago, which should be revised and a regular
recreation plan made.
This unit has been studied in detail and a recreation plan is on file. It includes about 10
acres of questionable commercial timber type. It is not an involved project and will perhaps
never bulk large as a recreation attraction; but may serve somewhat as a trail depot for
entrance to the Primitive Area (Project 2). The Boy Scouts have a summer camp on the lake and
a good many fishermen visit it.
North Fork Skokomish
The construction of Lake Cushman reservoir by the City of Tacoma has backed water up the North
Fork Skokomish several miles and thereby has created potential recreation values. It includes
about 150 acres of recreational value, which is also of value for timber exploitation. Some
considerable recent interest has been directed to this locality in a recreation way, and a
recreation plan is being prepared. Therefore, a unit plan will be necessary in the near future
in order that we be prepared.
Main resort and tourist campground enterprises will without doubt be handled by city on private
lands adjacent to the lake itself. The Government lands along the river above will probably be
most suitable in general for summer home and club site uses, though camp ground and resort will
be adequately provided for.
The above projects or areas numbered 1 to 15 are all found to have definite present or future
recreation values, the scope of which varies considerably on different areas. The area involved
is divided approximately into the following classifications:
Alpine and sub-alpine type -
Barren, mountain meadows, glaciers, etc.
Mt. Hemlock - fir type -
Commercial timber, non-operative
Commercial timber type - fir, hemlock, spruce, cedar, etc.
Recreation values dominant
Note: This does not include the area of 6,754 acres adjacent to Quinault Lake, which is to be
handled very carefully and with due respect to strong recreation values, nor does it include
such scenic strips of fire protection zones which are recommended to be left along valley roads.
On these project areas certain fundamental principles of land and forest management must be
carried out, such for instance as fire protection and water storage, where higher recreation
values are not destroyed.
Bearing the above in mind, all officers of the Forest Service are instructed to carry on the
administration of these projects with regard to, and the proper advancement of, the important
recreational values involved. Timber exploitation and issuance of special use permits, as well
as other activities authorized by the National Forest regulations should be carefully
considered to the end that those recreation values might be protected and fostered.
This report attempts to show and recommends that the high Olympics for the most part should be
reserved permanently as a primitive area or as near primitive areas. Fast growing population
of Puget Sound and Grays Harbor cities and increased auto accessibility to the Peninsula by
way of the Olympic Highway will doubtless tend to overwhelm the wilderness in fact, even though
theory and sentiment may be strongly in its favor. The Forest Service will be under a heavy
obligation to keep safe for human travel this empire of rocks, glaciers, knife edged ridges,
its many, many canyons now unmarked by human trail or other human handiwork, more especially
as the country is quite susceptible to occasional desolating summer storms and fogs, and
misleading elk trails.
Major power development will probably not be physically feasible in the primitive or alpine
portions. Examiner welcomes any power development, under proper restrictions, as a staunch
addition to recreation assets, even though the primitive area itself might be slightly invaded
in the distant future. High mountain lakes of sizeable area are nil in the high Olympics.
The value of large bodies of water to recreation is unquestionable.
It is rather unfortunate that an accurate topographic map of the Olympic Forest is not
obtainable at present. Within a few years such a map will be finished. Radical changes in
present map will be the result. This will necessitate a revision of attached map and result
in a much more intelligible instrument.
A concise selection of photos should be made and mounted for addition to the report.
Submitted: May 25, 1928
/s/ F. W. Cleator
Approved: /s/ H. L. Plumb Forest Supervisor
Approved: /s/ C. M. Granger, June 10, 1929, District Forester
Initialled: C.J.B., F.E.A., PH.D., F.H.B., Q. O W.
[Note added: C.J.B. presumed to be C. J. Buck, Regional Forester]
Letter about correction to Cleator's map
December 16, 1935
(North Fork Skokomish Recreation Unit)
In checking over primitive area designations, etc., we find that our map illustrating the North
Fork Skokomish Unit shows the river flowing through the Northeast corner of Section 25, and the
east half of Section 24, T. 24 N., R. 0 W. This does not agree with the recent base map, which
shows the same river flowing through the west half of Sections 19 and 30, T. 24 S, R 5 W.
We assume the base map to be correct, and are making a change in the unit map to agree. It is
suggested that you do likewise on your copy of the map.
Also there is a primitive area correction by elimination of one section about Big Log, which
should be noted on the map.
Very Truly Yours,
F. V. Horton
Assistant Regional Forester
Cover letter of 1937 Report
February 24, 1937
Mr. W. D. Hagenstein, Editor,
Forest Club Quarterly,
University of Washington,
Reference is made to my letter of February 13. You will find attached the promised article.
Very truly yours,
F. W. Cleator
Copy sent Supervisor
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES OF THE OLYMPIC NATIONAL FOREST
AND FOREST SERVICE PLAN OF DEVELOPMENT
By Fred W. Cleator
February 24, 1937
The Olympics were pioneered by National Forest recreationists in 1910. During that summer,
Theodore Rixon and helpers, by instruction of the Regional Forester, made recreation plans and
surveyed several groups of summer home sites and small campgrounds on Lakes Crescent and
Quinault, two of the largest on the Peninsula.
At this early date horses, Indian canoes, boats or "Shank's ponies" furnished practically all
transportation, and the recreation plan was very well balanced to take care of the needs.
Probably nobody at that time had the slightest realization of the amazing transportation
changes about to take place, nor the revolutionary effect it would have on recreation usage
in the quarter-century to follow.
For a decade after 1910, there came a quite strong summer home and resort development, and a
few Fords began to venture into the backwoods. In another 5 years, the great Olympic blow-down
was becoming history, and the Lake Crescent ferry gave way to the Olympic Highway on the
North. Simultaneously, from southwestward, the same Olympic Highway was opening up the
Quinault Lake country.
The Forest Service saw the handwriting on the wall and revamped it a recreation plans well
in advance of the deluge of auto campers. Large summer home tracts on each lake, which had
not yet been leased, were reclassified and developed as Forest Camps to take care of the
public. Subsequent activity proved the wisdom of this epochal change.
On August 6, 1921, the Lake Crescent Recreation Plan was officially approved and became a
guide, which has since been followed in administration of that area. Besides setting aside
public forest camps and picnic areas, in the most favorable locations, it provided for the
necessary administrative sites, a state fish hatchery, a few summer homes on less valuable
ground, and local parks and scenic strip reservations, to the extent of 16,600 acres on the
timbered Government owned slopes surrounding the lake.
A bit later, the policy of exchanging timber in other parts of the Peninsula for lands of
recreation value on Lake Crescent was inaugurated. By patient effort since that time, several
thousand acres near Lake Crescent and along rivers of recreation value are being acquired
and planned for recreation usage, where most valuable for that purpose.
The Regional Forester on April 15, 1982 made more certain of the protection of public
recreation values by dedicating a territory of 6,621 acres surrounding Quinault Lake as a
Recreation Area, in which only sanitation cuttings might be made. About this time, the old
log hotel at Quinault was destroyed by fire and not long after was replaced by a fine $160,000
During this period also, Lake Cushman, by virtue of a power development of the City of
Tacoma, became a large body of water, and though severally cut over along the adjoining
shores, began to attract visitors. This was a sign to more aggressively plan for recreation
on National Forest lands of the east side of the Peninsula. The Olympic Highway had
opened up Hoods Canal much earlier, but a score or more privately owned resorts had been
absorbing the recreationists. However, people had begun to tire of the more sophisticated
resorts. Many struck back up the mountain trails for sure adventurous recreation, and a
feel of the wild.
In the later "twenties", the wilderness idea really took root in the Olympics. Matt Mathias
and Clarence Mumow of the Grays Harbor Region and Asahel Curtis and the Mountaineers of
Seattle, talked Primitive Area with the Forest Service. The Olympic Development League
took form. The Forest Service made extensive study of the high country in the summer of
1927, and after a huddle with the Olympic Development League, formulated the so-called
Cleator Plan, which were a classification of recreation values and a coordinated plan of
management of these recreation assets along with the utility values for the entire Olympic
National Forest. It did not purport to be a perfect instrument, but provided a safety
valve for recreation usage from the moat intensive to the most primitive form. It established,
moreover, a well-balanced system for handling the extremely important and sharply defined
multiple uses, which were crystallizing in the Peninsula, and becoming a subject of great
By the time the Depression struck, two wilderness chalets had been developed under private
initiative on leased Government ground in the backcountry, partly backed by the Olympic
Development League. Both were placed in charge of packer guides and equipped with rough
but clean accommodations.
The Forest Service, in accordance with its preconceived recreation plans, had by 1933
constructed or bettered and posted many miles of remote country trail, and along these
trails had built about a hundred sturdy camping shelters of rustic material, with fire-places
and rough sanitary conveniences, to accommodate the red-blooded fisherman and wilderness
seeker. These of course served also as administrative quarters for trail builders, fire
patrolmen, and traveling forest officers, and were frankly intended to be dual-purpose
On June 16, 1935, the transfer of the Mt. Olympus National Monument to the Park Service
disrupted the Forest Service recreation planning of more than 20 years. Scores of the
Forest Service shelter camps were included in the turnover. Since the transfer, a
campaign for creating a National Park out of the Monument, together with great timbered
territories adjoining outside, has been under way in Congress, in the press, and by
certain organizations and private parties. Powerful eastern interests and some local
interests have been hammering very hard for the Park. Others see a menace to the
bread-and-butter existence of local communities in the permanent tie-up of so great an
amount of timber.
Under the chaotic conditions which now prevail, long time constructive recreation planning
is pretty much at a standstill in the Olympics, awaiting the "will of the people", A formerly
coordinated and smooth working, amply safe-guarded administration of recreation and utility
values has broken down, and has become a football between two opposing forces. In the
wilderness are imaginary boundaries separating the Jurisdictions of two quite powerful
Bureaus of the Government.
In a few months, or perhaps years, the deadlock will have been broken by legislation and
whichever way the victory goes, constructive planning will again take place. If the intangible
boundary lines between Bureau administrations persist, there is bound to be lack of unity,
even though in the records authority is quite definitely segregated.
Aggressive proponents of a National Park in the Olympics are in favor of a normally developed
National Park. The promoters of the Wallgren Bill have frankly admitted this, and so far as
can be detected, lend no official sympathy to the plans of the Olympic Development League,
the Forest Service, and the local public for a Primitive Area. Developed like Rainier National
Park, we believe the Olympics would be robbed of their greatest appeal. Few of the proponents
know of the dismal weather, which is so prevalent in the Olympic high country, and how it
will suffer in competition for use with other National Parks.
From a purely economic standpoint, the removal of 8 1/2 billion Ft. B.M. of commercial timber
from National Forest to National Park status must have far-reaching results with communities
not only on the Olympic Peninsula, but with the State at large. The Forest Service had
previously set aside 4 1/2 billion Ft. B.M. in the Olympic Primitive Area, of which 2 billion
Ft. B.M. are an overlap by the new National Park Bill. Briefly, the total area of commercial
timber set-aside within the Primitive Area and proposed by the National Park Bill is about
11 billion Ft. B.M. The State definitely loses the 25% of the gross revenue, which would
otherwise be a perpetual tribute from a well-planned sustained yield operation, a share that
the Federal Government has from the very beginning turned over without encumbrance to States
involved. This 25% would be a pure sacrifice, since the Forest Service has proved that this
revenue is almost entirely available without noticeably depreciating recreation values.
Wherever there is Forest Land, there is Recreation. In many countries, and in many States of the
United States, the term "Forest", whether public or private, means a recreation area, park, or
hunting preserve. It is a fact, whether lamentable or not, that in a great many of those Forests,
the production of timber for utility is only incidental. Even in our own United States, we have
the New York State Forests, in which commercial timber cutting is "taboo" by legislative
Nowadays in the new West, we are coming to a realization that any agency, which handles
forestland, is bound to meet and must handle the recreation problem. The forest traveler
can be discouraged but he cannot be permanently dislocated from the God-given forests.
Therefore, any plan, which assumes that the Forest Service can drop its recreational
activities and specialize in the growing and nurturing of forests for utility alone, is
unworkable, and to carry out such a plan would mean the gradual disintegration of that
Service. This must not happen.
F. W. CLEATOR,
Reproduced at the National Archives and Records Administration-Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)