Partners in the Park 2011August 31st, 2011
The University of Washington Honors Program was excited to participate in the growing NCHC Partners in the Parks by hosting a new program in Olympic National Park in August, 2011. Working in partnership with the National Park Service, NCHC, UW researchers, and community members, the Honors Program advisers led this week long exploration of Olympic National Park for undergraduate Honors students from across the country.
Described by the National Park Service as "a land of contrast and variety," Olympic National Park reveals diversity in all forms. In this Partners in the Parks program, students explored the dramatic physical diversity of the park while examining the diverse ways in which humans interact with this wilderness. We moved from the rugged Pacific coastline to the dramatic Hoh rainforest and up to the sweeping alpine vistas of Hurricane Ridge and beyond.
Over the course of one week students came to understand the many different ways that one park is meeting the mission of the National Park Service and explored how Olympic National Park is meeting the demands of its own popularity by discussing some important questions:
- What are the major challenges that face Olympic National Park, and what does it consider its most significant accomplishments?
- How does the park balance the diverse interests of the urban and industrial areas surrounding its borders?
- How has research conducted in the park contributed to this understanding? And why is this essential for understanding the future of this important place?
Over the course of one week students moved together throughout the park, meeting with park officials, University researchers, and everyday citizens who care deeply for Olympic National Park. Through service, research, discussion, hiking, questioning, teaching, and more hiking, we above all explored why this place matters in our culture and to our future.