Introducing the Olympic National Park Blanket!

Editor’s note: For National Park Week, we are reposting some of our favorite national park posts! We hope you get out there and enjoy your parks this week, but if you can’t, we will take you to the wilderness as best as we can. 

 

Pendleton is proud to unveil our latest national park blanket, celebrating Washington state’s Olympic National Park.

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The colors of this blanket pay homage to the Olympic National Park in our neighboring Washington State. This unique region is famous for its varied ecosystems—from rugged coastlines and dense old-growth forests to glacier-capped alpine peaks and lush rainforests.

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This very special design uses a ground of heather grey with two bands of stripes in muted, natural tones. Fans of our national park blankets can attest to the fact that we don’t usually use heathered yarns in this group, making this blanket uniquely beautiful, just like the park for which it’s named.

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…Diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park. Encompassing nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline. https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

Rainforests

Visitors to the Pacific Northwest are often surprised to learn about our rainforests. The entire area was once home to a huge rainforest that stretched from Oregon’s southern coast to southeastern Alaska. Why? Because of our bountiful, wonderful (and sometimes depressing) level of rainfall.

The Olympic National Forest receives 12 to 14 feet of rain per year, with temperatures that rarely dip below freezing or rise above 80 degrees. These temperate, damp conditions allow rain forests to thrive, nourishing an array of vegetation: mosses, ferns, Douglas fir, red alders, Western hemlocks and Sitka spruce. As in all rain forests, downed trees become “nurse logs,” fertile places where seeds grow, animals nest and insects burrow.

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Olympic National Park is home to four rain forests; Hoh, Quinault, Queets and Bogchiel. Quinault Rain Forest is home to the world’s largest Sitka spruce. This tree is more than 1,000 years old, 191-feet-high with a 96-foot spread. Aside from the Redwoods of California, Quinalt holds the largest trees in America—and, a gorgeous lake! Read more about a wooden boat  trip to Lake Quinalt by our friend Greg Hatten here: Lake Quinalt.

Mountains

The Olympic Mountains are part of the Pacific Coast Ranges. They’re not especially high – Mount Olympus is the highest at 7,962 ft (2,427 m)–but its eastern slopes rise out of Puget Sound from sea level, making for a towering ascent. The range’s western slopes are the wettest place in the 48 states thanks to—you guessed it—rain! That 12 to 14 feet of rain we mentioned earlier.

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Hurricane Ridge, at a mile above sea level, offers an unmatched view of the Olympic Mountains. You can observe right there, or take off on hiking trails. You can even take an off-road ready rig up two narrow dirt roads–Obstruction Point or Deer Park—to take in some incredible views of snow-capped mountains.

Beaches

As part of its varied landscape, Olympic NP contains a 73-mile long stretch of wilderness coast. The rocky headlands, beaches, tidepools and sea stacks are wild and undeveloped. Ruby Beach—named for ruby-like crystals that are found in deposits of the beach’s sand–has been attracting artists and photographers for decades, thanks to its unique sea stacks.

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By Adbar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27301905

Wildlife

We love our animals out here, and Olympic NP is full of them. Old growth preserves provide unique and safe habitat for several endangered species, including the northern spotted owl. Birdwatching in the park is popular, with over 250 species of birds. The mountain meadows draw blue grouse, woodpeckers, gray jays, and more. At the coast, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles.

On land, several species are found only in the Olympic forests: The Olympic marmot, Olympic snow mole and Olympic torrent salamander. Cougars, bobcats and bears are just a few of the carnivores that roam and hunt these forests. For a full list, see here: https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/nature/mammal-species-list.htmAnd don’t forget the ocean. Offshore, the waters that wash the beaches of Olympic NP are home to whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea otters.

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But that’s not all!

Other things to remember about visiting the area:

  • The Olympic peninsula was once one of the PNW’s best-kept secrets until a certain book series ignited interest in the area. If that’s your jam, Forks is VERY close to the park, as are La Push and Port Angeles.
  • If you would like to set foot on the westernmost  point of the contiguous 48 states, you can do it at Cape Alava, Washington (48.16974° N, 124.73004° W) during low tide, by walking out to the west side of Tskawahyah Island. Cape Alava is accessible via a 3-mile boardwalk hike from a ranger station in the park.
  • Dogs are not allowed in most of our national parks. But Olympic has dog-friendly trails where you can hike with your pooch, as long as you follow a few rules. Read more here: pets in Olympic National Park

So snuggle up in the made-in-the-USA warmth of the Olympic National Park blanketand start planning your visit. The Pacific Northwest wonderland awaits.

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A Pendleton Adventure with the Grey Wolves of Yellowstone

Editor’s note: For National Park Week, we are reposting some of our favorite national park posts! We hope you get out there and enjoy your parks this week, but if you can’t, we will take you to the wilderness as best as we can.

 

wolf-2106894_1920The gray wolves of Yellowstone are heard more often than seen. Their eerie howls can echo up to fifty miles, summoning the pack before or after a hunt. Yellowstone’s wolves are efficient predators, able to take down animals many times their weight by hunting in packs. Through strategic harrowing, you can watch them bring down a buffalo here. They are strategic, efficient and effective predators. They are also protected within the park, but this was not always the case.

When Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872, the goal to “conserve and protect” didn’t extend to the park’s wildlife. Visitors were free to hunt and kill any game in Yellowstone. The gray wolf was especially vulnerable, even after the Secretary of the Interior regulated hunting in 1873. As an “undesirable predator,” the gray wolf was subject to a massive kill-off by the US Army in 1907 (1,800 wolves and 23,000 coyotes). The 1916 legislation that created the National Park Service included language that authorized the “…destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of said parks, monument and reservations.” This is known as “extirpation,” and the consequences are devastating.

By 1926, the gray wolf of Yellowstone was eradicated. This allowed the elk population to grow, contributing to the overgrazing of Yellowstone’s deciduous trees, which affected the small animals and birds that rely on the aspen and cottonwood groves for their habitat, and the fish in the streams churned by more hooves. Without competition from the grey wolf, the coyote population rose dramatically, and those able predators over-thinned the pronghorn antelope population. Park managers, biologists, conservationists and environmentalists were in agreement; the wolf was a necessary part of Yellowstone’s ecosystem.

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The campaign to re-introduce the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park began in the 1940s. By the 1960s, there was an explosion of awareness concerning ecosystems. Scientist, conservationist and hunter all agreed that there was a need to restore Nature’s balance. When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1966, it paved the way for identification and preservation of fragile species. The gray wolf was one of the first animals to be declared endangered.

The program to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone began with 14 wolves trapped in Canada, near Jasper National Park. Seventeen more Canadian grey wolves were captured the next year, and added to the program. The wolves were initially placed in “acclimation pens.” They were released fully into the wild in April of 1996. By the late 1990s, the wolves were making their comeback.

This sighting comes from Pendleton’s own Katie Roberts, who shared a Pendleton employee park memory with us.

I took a Science class in high school where we got to take trips to both Yellowstone and Glacier. We were allowed access to the parks in the offseason, so we were basically the only ones there. On the Yellowstone trip, we were tracking wolves for our class. They’re pretty elusive creatures, so we didn’t see any until the very end of the day, right before sunset. Not only did we see the biggest Wolf Pack in Yellowstone (at the time), we saw it chase down an elk and kill it! It was pretty crazy, the “Nature Channel” in front of our eyes. I spent a lot of times in both parks growing up, but that was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever witnessed!

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Here’s Katie at the time (left). She doesn’t look too traumatized by her National Park adventure with wolves…

Wolves are magnificent and eerie, and absolutely vital to Yellowstone’s ecosystem.Today, there are around 100 living in 10 packs in Yellowstone. The effect on the park’s ecosystem has been extensive, thanks to the “trophic cascade” that falls from an apex predator at the top of the food chain to all the animals, birds, insects and plants that make up the food chain of its prey. Wolves actually help to transform their physical environment. Here’s a fascinating video that talks about how the wolves of Yellowstone have changed the rivers of Yellowstone. It is well-worth watching, and explains trophic cascade. Enjoy.

And you can support the National Park Foundation with Pendleton’s Yellowstone collection here: SHOP

Images courtesy Pixabay

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Every Blanket Tells a Story: Louise Kelly

Editor’s note: For National Park Week, we are reposting some of our favorite national park posts! We hope you get out there and enjoy your parks this week, but if you can’t, we will take you to the wilderness as best as we can. 

We first saw this blanket when Judy Goodman of Joseph, Oregon, contacted us for information on a blanket that belonged to her grandmother, Louise Kelly.

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The label identified it as a Rainier National Park blanket, but it’s so very different from our current version that we knew it was a special treasure.

Label_web We reached out to our National Park blanket expert, Fred Coldwell of Denver, Colorado. He identified the blanket right away. Here is his information:

The blanket is Pendleton’s very first Rainier National Park Blanket, No. 18, introduced on February 1, 1928. It had overstitched ends and a border design of flowers (lupine, paint brush and daisy) on one of three color bodies (white, light blue or moss green).

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These three flowers are found on Mt. Rainier in these subspecies: Broadleaf Lupine, Dwarf Lupine, Magenta Paintbrush, Scarlet Paintbrush, Subalpine Daisy. They can be seen here under Subalpine flowers in the Blue/Purple Pink/Red folders.

Back to the blanket. Four points (indicating the 66″ x 80″ size) were sewn into the lower left hand corner of the blanket’s large center field. This blanket came in only one size, 66″ x 80″, and was made with virgin wool on a cotton warp. It was wrapped in paper for packing. The wholesale price was $9.00 in 1928 and 1929. This Rainier Park Blanket is listed in Pendleton’s February 1, 1928 Wholesale Price List No. 6 and in the March 1, 1929 Wholesale Price List No. 8. But it had disappeared by 1934-35 when retail Catalog No. 11 was issued. I have no information about it from late 1929 to 1933, but I imagine it was a casualty of the early 1930s Depression.

Ms. Goodman was thrilled to have Fred Coldwell’s information. When we asked her if she’d like to share the blanket on our blog, it spurred her to do some serious family research; not just the names, dates, family tree kind of research, but research into her grandmother’s story. How did she come to the Northwest? How did this blanket tie into her life? The story of a blanket is also the story of the person who owned it. We would like to share Louise’s story, as told by her granddaughter.

My grandmother, Louise Kelly, was born on October 26, 1906 to John and Mattie (Landreth) Evans in Taberville, MO. Like many families of this era, Louise had eleven brothers and sisters. She rode a horse to school and purchased school supplies by exchanging farm eggs at the store. Once she’d finished eighth grade, Louise (at age 12 or 13) had to stay home to care for all the other small children in the family. Some of her brothers were never able to attend school. They stayed to work the farm with their father.

Louise married at the age of 24 and gave birth to her first child (my mother, Wilma) in 1931. My uncle was born a few years later. The family farmed, raised chickens, made their own blankets and clothes, and preserved fruits and vegetables. They managed to survive the Great Depression and were looking at a new future when this photo was taken of Louise in 1941 near Mt. Rainier on a trip to Yakima, Washington.

(Louise Kelly, 1941)

(Louise Kelly, 1941)

The family was taken with the West. Eight years later, the family finally saved enough to move there, settling in Zillah, Washington. My mother was a senior in high school when her father suffered a heart attack. My grandmother Louise found herself widowed with two teenagers. She worked two jobs to support her family, running her own morning café and cooking at another restaurant at night. 

(Louise [left] and her daughter Wilma [right] in front of Louise’s café [obviously the dog didn’t want to be in the photo])

(Louise [left] and her daughter Wilma [right] in front of Louise’s café [obviously the dog didn’t want to be in the photo])

Percy Kelly was a business man who enjoyed breakfast every morning at my grandmother’s café. He was a potato dealer – buying potatoes right from the field, sorting and bagging them in a warehouse in Toppenish, WA, then shipping by rail using “ice” stops along the way to keep the potatoes cool. He had also lost his wife in 1949. Percy asked Louise out on a date, but she was too busy with work and family. One day at the café, Percy took off his suit jacket, rolled up his shirt sleeves and started to wash dishes with Louise just so he could spend time with her. That was the beginning of their love story, and how this beautiful Pendleton Mt. Rainier Blanket came into my possession.

Percy (who I knew as Papa) and Louise were married in 1951 and moved to the Columbia Basin in 1952. They grew potatoes near Winchester, Washington. Papa was a member of the Washington State Potato Commission. They built their own potato storage and started to ship potatoes. This was the beginning of their potato empire, and their life together. Percy had two daughters who were still in high school at the time. My mother started college and her brother enlisted in the Army.

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Louise always loved Mt. Rainier. This photo of the mountain and a CCC camp at its base hung on the wall of her home for most of her life.

It is possible that the Mt. Rainier Park blanket was a wedding gift to Louise and Percy, but more than likely it was a wedding gift for Percy and his first wife in 1929. The blanket remained in the family all of these years. It was often stored in a cedar trunk that came into my possession in 1999 when Louise passed away. “Percy loved beautiful handcrafted things,” his daughter, Jeanette Burk, recently told me in a phone conversation. “He liked well-crafted items made of leather and wool, and he definitely would have wanted this blanket for his family.”

So that is the story of one National Park Blanket and the person (and family) it belonged to.  The blanket spends most of its time displayed in Judy’s Oregon home. Currently, the blanket  is on display at Wallowology (www.wallowology.org) where Judy works. Above it is Louise’s Pendleton 49’er jacket, a beauty that appears to have all its original shell buttons—a rarity. You can pay both of these treasures a visit if you’re in the neighborhood.

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Our thanks to Judy for sharing her grandmother’s story and her photos.

Grand Canyon Historic Train Depot Project is Underway!

Editor’s note: We have been working with the National Park Foundation for years to protect and preserve America’s national parks through donations generated by purchase of select products. You’ve already read about the restoration of the Grand Helical Stairway at Many Glacier Lodge (now complete); this report concerns our second project, a major restoration of the Grand Canyon Train Depot. Here’s an update from the National Park Foundation. 

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With support from Pendleton and their licensed collaboration partners, the National Park Service facilitated the kick-off of a multi-year project to restore the Historic Grand Canyon Train Depot at Grand Canyon National Park. The full scope of the project will allow future generations to experience and enjoy this popular landmark for many years to come.

Background

The Grand Canyon Depot is a National Historic Landmark constructed in 1910, nine years prior to the Grand Canyon’s official national park designation. The depot is one of three remaining structural log railroad depots in America and still serves an operating railroad. Originally built for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, it helped establish the rustic western sense of place for the Grand Canyon. The depot is one of the park’s “front doors,” serving not only as a major arrival point for thousands of visitors each year but a gathering site for over 100 years. Today, it is threatened by serious physical deterioration and fails to meet accessibility standards and adequate function for visitor enjoyment. The restoration project is an attempt to ensure this iconic structure remains accessible and intact in preserving the history of the park.

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Project Update

Initial work began in late 2017 to produce a scope of work for updating the Historic Structure Report and completion of structural analysis on certain sections of the depot to create an informed treatment plan. The National Park Service secured professionals for contract services to complete both tasks and entered into agreements to begin these assessments. In May of 2018, a structural engineer, architectural preservationist and wood scientist began visual analysis, condition assessment, and structural integrity testing – all necessary steps to evaluate the current building condition in preparation for restoration and preservation.

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Using information gathered during the on-site analysis, the team began to determine building decay patterns and draft a treatment plan. At the same time, an architect has continued to update the depot’s existing Historic Structure Report. This report now includes current structural condition assessment and treatment recommendations, with a special focus on the exterior building envelope which includes the roof, siding, log structure, doors and windows.

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Through these efforts, the National Park Service will have a comprehensive report on the status and integrity of the depot and will have expert recommendations for restoration and repair. Once the information collection and planning pieces are complete, the project will move into the repair phase. Depending on the extent of the treatment recommendations and funding, structural repairs are expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019.

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The depot is currently open and in use for railway passenger services under the operation of Grand Canyon Railway. The hope is that the depot will remain open for the duration of repairs. The efforts underway will result in a restored and sustainable train depot, poised to educate visitors about the rich history of the Grand Canyon for decades to come. With over 6 million visits to the Grand Canyon each year, it’s a gift that will have a resounding positive impact on the park and visitor experience.

We appreciate the generous support of Pendleton and their licensed collaboration partners on this critical project. Additional status updates will be provided in 2019 as implementation begins.

We are excited to watch the progress of this much-needed restoration in 2019, and will keep you all posted. Thank you for your support!

You can see our National Parks products here: Pendleton for the National Parks

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Introducing the Olympic National Park Blanket!

Pendleton is proud to unveil our latest national park blanket, celebrating Washington state’s Olympic National Park.

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The colors of this blanket pay homage to the Olympic National Park in our neighboring Washington State. This unique region is famous for its varied ecosystems—from rugged coastlines and dense old-growth forests to glacier-capped alpine peaks and lush rainforests.

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