Popular Lodge Burns Down in Olympic National Park
This article originally appeared on Backpacker
At about 4:30 PM on Sunday, a patrolling law enforcement ranger came across an unexpected sight: Olympic National Park's Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge, engulfed in flames, just weeks before the popular spot was expected to reopen for Memorial Day weekend.
Clallam County Fire District 2 and Port Angeles Fire Department quickly responded to the incident, attempting to extinguish the fire. But the fire ultimately caused a complete loss, leaving the lodge a pile of wreckage.
The Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge closed its doors to visitors in March after the park received about $11 million dollars to fund a renovation project that was intended to replace the building's roof, upgrade plumbing, and overhaul the HVAC system. But now park officials are unsure whether or not there will be a Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge at all.
Built in 1952, the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge quickly became a staple destination for hikers, who came to dayhike the popular trails on adjacent Hurricane Ridge. The weekend's fire not only devastated of the property, but it also shocked the nearby community Port Angeles, where locals have always revered the structure.
"We just want to wrap our arms around the park and as a community say, 'How can we help? How can we get this historic and iconic building back?’" Tommy Farris, owner of Olympic Hiking Company told the Seattle Times.
Sen. Maria Cantewll (D-WA) said in a statement that she is committed to bringing the lodge back to life, no matter what it takes: "I am working with [Interior] Secretary [Deb] Haaland and the National Park Service to make sure this historic lodge is rebuilt."
The cause of the fire is currently unknown; Acting Deputy Superintendent Roy Zipp said the park was still in the process of gathering the facts. A National Park Service structural fire investigator began evaluating the smoldering structure yesterday, and a federal fire investigator will begin an investigation into the incident sometime this week.
No one was inside the lodge at the time of the incident, and no injuries have been reported at this time.
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