(Dated prior to 10/31/11 - actual date unkown)

Friends of Olympic Trail Shelters
434 No. 35th Seattle, WA. 98103

US Forest Service, Olympic National Forest
PO Box 280 Quilcene, WA 98376
Attn: Susan Piper (

Dear Susan,

I am writing to you as it has come to my attention that you are taking input for the new "Dungeness Watershed Action Plan" project list. As the Chairman of Friends Of Olympic Trail Shelters (FOOTS) I would like to submit a proposal for your review and consideration.

It may be appropriate to give you just a bit of background on our small but efficient organization. Here is some brief history of FOOTS.

History of FOOTS:
FOOTS has been in existence since the mid 70's and was organized initially by Mr. Richard Pargeter, a well know map maker in the Pacific Northwest. He and a number of other concerned outdoor enthusiasts saw the ongoing destruction of trail shelters by the OPN as a tragedy and felt it must be stopped. We were so pleased when the OPN decided to discontinue this practice. As a result of that successful action FOOTS basically became an inactive group. It was not until the early 90's when a few of us diehards noticed that the shelters within the USFS boundaries were not being maintained. We mounted a campaign to address this and have been an active organization since then.

Though the initial offer to volunteer our services to restore the Shelters within the Buckhorn Wilderness was met with some resistance by USFS due to the fact we were an unknown entity, we eventually gained acceptance due to our high level of commitment organized project plans.

The key factors in having these restoration projects move forward were that we (FOOTS) would make every effort to preserve the historical value of the shelter by following as close as possible the original construction on the same site.

The first shelter FOOTS restored was Boulder Shelter in 1993. There have now been a total of nine shelters restored with two being repaired twice due to weather related damage.

FOOTS started a dialog with the Olympic National Park to discuss how we could support their ongoing efforts to restore and retain the historical trail shelters within the Park. ONP management agreed and had FOOTS restore the Happy Four Shelter on the Hoh River in 2005.

Since then only some minor repairs have been done on two shelters by FOOTS in an effort to help maintain shelters they have restored.

FOOTS would respectfully request that following be considered as part of the "Dungeness Watershed Action Plan" project list: Gold Creek Shelter Restoration.

In the late 1920s, the USFS built three shelters along the Tubal Cain Mine Trail #840 - at Gold Creek, Silver Creek and Buckhorn Lake. All were of the classic USFS Standard Plan L-4, an "Adirondack" 3-sided, post-and-beam, design with cedar shake walls and roof. Of these, only the Silver Creek shelter survives today (restored by FOOTS in 1998). The Gold Creek shelter was lost to age, neglect and vandalism in the late 1990s. In 2001, USFS Hood Canal RD Wilderness and Trail Coordinator Scott Burgwin asked Friends Of Olympic Trail Shelters (FOOTS) to consider its reconstruction. A proposal was submitted to the USFS in 2002, but the agency did not respond due to lack of funding.

Gold Creek Shelter remains eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Historic Preservation Act obliges the agency to consider actions that affect its existence and restoration. We re-submit this proposal for its historically accurate restoration, as part of the Dungeness Watershed Action Plan.

To further support this proposal I would submit the following points about the value of retaining these structures.
(1) Visitor health and safety is of the utmost importance. It does not take many trips into the Olympic backcountry to experience unexpected inclement weather. Trail shelters have been the safe refuge for many a rain soaked hiker. They also have been utilized as base camp operations for Search and Rescue work. This I know first hand as these teams have sought us out to thank us personally for our restoration efforts.
(2) These trail shelters are indeed rich with history and add a unique historical color to the National Forest. They are part of mans initial efforts to access the backcountry and see all of it's beauty as well as a means to assist in protecting this wilderness.
(3) Another relevant point is the natural occurrence of camping taking place around the immediate shelter area. This is a form of Leave No Trace as it does detour new campsites being made along with things like more fire rings (when authorized at lower elevations).

Since the Gold Creek Shelter site is not longer readily accessible by vehicle it is unlikely that excessive damage would occur. It is our hope that the original trail network along with the proposal the Gray Wolf Trail Crew are recommending for the 2860 road would make this once again an appropriate site for a shelter.

In addition, FOOTS as we have done from the beginning, is willing to assist USFS in helping maintain all existing trail shelters and that certainly would include Gold Creek should it be restored.

As in the many other shelter restoration projects undertaken by FOOTS, it is assumed that the USFS will permit the use of on-site timber, primarily windfall logs, for the reconstruction based on a new site survey (yet to be completed), and will supply cedar bolts (confiscated in timber theft enforcement investigations as had been done for past projects). Administrative access is also requested from the Lower Dungeness Trailhead gate to the Gold Creek Trailhead at the FS2860 concrete bridge over the Dungeness River, as permitted by the 2001 USFS Dungeness Roads Project EA Decision Notice.

All labor and tools will be supplied by USFS volunteers. This is a non-wilderness site so power tools will be used. It is estimated that this project would be accomplished over a number of phases during a period of time both USFS and FOOTS agree.

Estimated cost: $1000 to split cedar shakes and purchase fasteners.

It is also worthy of mention that there are some members of other organizations that have endorsed this project proposal: Rod Farlee, Tom Mix and Jeff Chapman.

Respectfully submitted,

Mike Kelly
Chairman, FOOTS

CC: Dean Yoshina, Olympic National Forest District Ranger
Attachment: Photo of Gold Creek Shelter 1996

Gold Creek Shelter - 1996

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