Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is one of the quietest places on Earth.
You may have to go a little farther than you thought to find quite in today’s world. A tiny plot of land there on the Olympic Peninsula – a five hour drive from Seattle and two-hour hike is what one expert says is the single quietest place in the lower 48 states. See Video.
In the man-made realm, the world’s quietest room is in Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, Minn. Completely sound-proof, decibel levels in the room can reach an incredible negative nine – compare that to an airport’s background noise of 72 decibels or 59 in a car or 57 in a quiet office.
“CBS This Morning” special correspondent Jeff Glor spent some quiet time at the Olympic Peninsula and at the Orfield Laboratories soundproof room, listening to the sound of silence in its many forms. Watch his experience in this video on the Olympic Peninsula.
On the Olympic Peninsula, the Sol Duc Hot Springs in the Olympic National Park celebrates its 100th year of operation.
The resort about 40 miles west of Port Angeles, will commemorate the milestone with promotions and a special event planned at the hot springs May 5-6. The event will be hosted by Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, the National Park Service and the Clallam County Historical Society and will include food, entertainment and a special look at the history of the hot springs.
“Sol Duc Hot Springs has been the Northwest’s premier natural hot spring destination for the past century,” said Amanda Lovelady, district manager for Aramark Parks and Destinations, Olympic Peninsula. “The resort is deeply tied to the history of this area, and we hope to share that story with locals and our visitors.”
The resort features three mineral hot spring soaking pools and one freshwater pool, with temperatures ranging from 85 to 105 degrees. An original Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagon on which early visitors rode the last part of their two-day journey from Seattle to visit the hot springs will be featured during the celebration.
For special 100th anniversary rates and more information, visit http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/plan/specials–packages/sol-duc-hot-springs.aspx
Congratulations to the Belfair “Taste of the Hood Canal” who is now a Seattle Seafair Community Event.
The North Mason Rotary who sponsors this Hood Canal summer celebration to support the community was notified today this free annual event held on August 11 is now part of Seafair.
For those outside the Puget Sound, Seafair is Seattle’s traditional summer festival. A month-long, region-wide barbecue, that brings an entire community together in celebration. For over 60 years Seafair has been about community events, parades, Miss Seafair, the Navy and Coast Guard, amateur athletics, airplanes and of course, hydroplane boat racing.
The Hood Canal “Taste” features a larger and expanded custom and classic car show as well as beer and wine tasting by Riverhill Winery. On Saturday, August 11, come and experience specialties from local restaurants, family entertainment & live music throughout the day, food including seafood and a variety of wonderful treats, informational displays, art and craft booths, fire engines, local artists and lots of fun for all!
There is a reason why Seattle chose to include the Hood Canal “Taste of the Canal” as Mason Counties only contribution to Seafair. Bring the family to Hood Canal this August 11 so you don’t miss this free fun.
|Matthew Gardner has released The Gardner Report Q4 on his performance evaluations of Washington real estate. This quarterly report is exclusive to Windermere Real Estate but is made available here at no cost.
His conclusion to our Q4 market is:
As has been the case for all of 2011, an increase in sales of Washington real estate does not mean an increase in prices. The value of transacted units in our market declined by 15.5 percent from a year ago, excluding the volatile San Juan County which saw a drop of 14.8 percent. Looking at the specific counties within our survey, there were two that exhibited price growth from December of 2010, these being Island (+7.1%) and Clallam (+4.5%). Counties that saw the greatest price declines included: Jefferson (-30.1%), Kittitas (-28%), Mason (-26.4%), Grays Harbor (-20.5%), and San Juan (-20%).
There are, I believe, two reasons why we have not yet seen the price stability in Washington real estate that we are all looking for. The first of these is that the sale of distressed homes continues to make up a very large percentage of all transactions and these homes sell for substantially lower than market price. In King County, for example, distressed transactions made up 40 percent of all sales in 2011. Additionally, with such low levels of supply, we have seen a pronounced change in the make-up of sales with a disproportionate percentage of homes selling in very affordable price ranges. Both of these factors are having negative effects on home prices.
I am keeping the housing market at a “C-“ grade this quarter and am unlikely to change this until we start to see more housing choices become available and the percentage of foreclosures start to decline.
To see all of Mr. Gardner’s reports and his charts that make more graphical his analysis, click here to go to http://mikemostyn.com/windermeres-gardner-report/or use the navigation links to the left of this page for “Market Research” and click on Windermere’s Gardner Reports
“It will be business as usual” says the new executives at Black Ball Ferry Line who acquired the link between Victoria BC, Canada and the Olympic Peninsula. The 52-year-old company, which operates the MV Coho between Victoria and Port Angeles, has been purchased from the Oregon State University Foundation by the company’s executive management team.
Black Ball had been bequeathed to the foundation by former owner Lois Acheson in 2004 as part of a $21-million gift of her estate to establish an endowment in OSU’s college of veterinary medicine.
“The goal right now is to keep the course we have, the culture of the company intact and not try to change in too many respects,” said president and COO Ryan Burles, one of the five new owners. “The trustees at Oregon State did a great thing to keep it within the employees and maintain the legacy. It was Mrs. Acheson’s wish that the employees were taken care of.”
The Coho can accommodate 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles on any one sailing. According to a 2006 study, it ferries more than 400,000 passengers and 120,000 vehicles and brings $123.7 million into the Victoria economy annually. The company employs more than 120 people and operates terminals in both Victoria BC and Port Angeles.
For those of us who watch the Northwest economy and how it affects Washington real estate, Mr. Matthew Gardner and Windermere Real Estate has released “The Gardner Report” for Q3.
Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered by many to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to managing his consulting practice, Mr. Gardner is a member of the Pacific Real Estate Institute; chairs the Board of Trustees for the Washington State Center for Real Estate Research; the Urban Land Institutes Technical Assistance Panel; and represents the Master Builders Association as an in-house economist. He has appeared on CNN, NBC and NPR news services to discuss real estate issues and is regularly cited in the Wall Street Journal and all local media.
The Q3 Gardner Report concludes:
- “We continue to see modest employment growth in Washington State, but improvements are certainly not equal across the counties. Continued contraction in the government sector and construction are acting as anchors by restraining any significant improvement. In as much as I still contend that Washington State does, and will continue to, fare better than the nation as a whole, uncertainty appears to have permeated all businesses. The Federal Government now appears to be understanding the importance that real estate has in our economic growth. There are numerous proposals being proposed in Congress and the Senate relative to stabilizing our housing market. Although they are not a panacea, I am glad to see that they are starting to understand how important it is.”
“The housing market continues to demonstrate modest signs of stability, but financing and appraisals are still acting as impediments. Inventory levels saw a modest increase this summer, but are starting to exhibit their traditional seasonal decline—and are still considerably down from historic averages. Pending sales remain well above figures seen a year ago and closed transactions are also trending higher.”
To download the entire report, go to http://www.thesouthsounder.com/newsletters/Gardner_Report_Q3.pdf
SHELTON — U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., are floating a proposal to add roughly 130,000 acres to wilderness areas to the Olympic National Forest. Their staffs were in Shelton Friday for public feedback before drafting a bill to accomplish that goal.
The plan would take existing federal forest land surrounding the Olympic National Park and tighten the managerial restrictions however much of these forest would be left in its current condition. Logging would be eliminated and hiking would remain.
These forests have numerous U.S. Forest Service roads already earmarked for closure, which would still take place. Some forest service roads would remain intact — the only ones that would allow mountain bikes and motorized vehicles. However, hikers might have longer walks into the wilderness from where they can park vehicles.
As part of the 130,000 acres are five segments of land totaling about 20,000 acres targeted to become “preserves.” In these areas, if the private owners were to sell to the federal government, the government would manage the land in a manner less restrictive than as an official wilderness.
About 400 Olympic Peninsula residents from various groups made the original proposal. So far, the original proposal has been trimmed after some initial feedback by the tribes and other agencies and groups, said Kristine Reeves, Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula director on Murray’s staff.
The Department of Natural Resources announced on December 1, it will reopen two campgrounds west of Belfair in Tahuya State Forest — Camp Spilman and Kammenga.
Budget cuts closed the campgrounds two years ago but received grant funding from the Non-highway and Off-road Vehicle Activities program. The new funding will help pay for enforcement, maintenance and staffing. Crews from the Mission Creek Corrections Center will help maintain the facilities and trails and will installing small bridges where needed.
This is an area made popular with off-road trail riding. See a video made last year.
Visitors can start camping Jan. 6 at the Tahuya River Horse Camp on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to download a map of the park
The Olympic Peninsula Rain Shadow did it again!
A fall storm, not unlike any other on the Olympic Peninsula, hit us November 16 and 17. It poured in Seattle, caused power outages in Tacoma but less than 50 miles as the crow flies on Discovery Bay in Sequim, the day was clear. Again, we experienced the effects we call the “Olympic Rainshadow”
The Olympic Rain Shadow is a small region northwest of Seattle which experiences significantly dryer and brighter weather than surrounding locations. WHY? The Olympic Mountain range, home of the Olympic National Park protects communities directly east and northeast and depending upon the direction of the weather, get much less rainfall and in some cases even more sunny days.
That was the case yesterday. The storm tracked from the WSW and areas of Sequim had a sunny day, albeit with a bit of wind. To explore more on this frequent natural phenomenon, go to http://www.olympicrainshadow.com/.
At the Big Bend on Hood Canal near Shelton, snaggle-nosed chum salmon take over the fishing spotlight about this time each year. Between the Coho and winter steelhead runs, I can report the Chum have arrived right on time.
State Fish and Wildlife Department checked at the Hoodsport Hatchery on Hood Canal one day last week and counted 23 beach fishermen with 76 chums. That’s hard-to-beat salmon fishing, particularly considering you don’t need a boat. These fish are in good shape and plentiful but they won’t stay that way very long.
The tribal beach fishery started on the Olympic Peninsula Nov. 14, according to a state spokesman at the hatchery, running Monday, Wednesday and Friday at least through the end of the month. Sport fishing is concentrated along the hatchery stream channel, using steelhead-type gear, and since it’s necessary to keep firm control of hooked fish, thicker line is better than light. Fly fishermen score as well, working surrounding water.
This area of Hood Canal also has a handicapped fishing platform for wheelchair-bound anglers, best at high tide. Call the hatchery’s recorded fishing line for current conditions, at 360-877-5222.