Celebrate National Park Service’s 100th birthday with free admission to parks

To celebrate its 100th birthday, the National Park Service will offer free admission to all national parks from August 25 – 28. Many parks will feature special activities and ranger-led walks. Visitors are encouraged to share pictures with hashtags #NPS100 and #FindYourPark.

An astronaut — Jeff Williams — shares this unusual view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound from space:

Which are your favorite parks to explore? What do you like to do in our national parks?

For more information

Preparing for a massive earthquake in the Pacific Northwest

To prepare for a devastating earthquake, many organizations throughout the Northwest will practice responding to a 9.0 magnitude quake during a readiness drill this week. The drill will start on Tuesday, June 7 with this scenario: a massive earthquake strikes near Eugene, OR, damaging areas throughout the Northwest and triggering a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean.

Known as Cascadia Rising, this emergency preparedness drill is the largest in the Northwest and will include about 20,000 people from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia. The exercise assumes a worst-case scenario in which bridges and roads are closed, power is out and water covers lowland areas. Local, state and federal agencies will practice moving food and water, conducting search and rescue operations, communicating on ham radios and more during this four-day megaquake and tsunami drill.

#CascadiaEQ Tweetchat

Scientists, emergency personnel and others are sharing information about earthquakes, communications and what to do after a quake on Twitter today. Follow #cascadiaeq to ask questions, share information about previous quakes and learn more. Here’s an example:


Be prepared

The Cascadia Rising event is a good reminder for people to have emergency kits with food and water at home, work and in the car. Here’s how to build a kit for at least 7 days to make it through the “big one.”

For more information:


US Open highlights Puget Sound region

The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay showcased so many positives in the Puget Sound region: natural beauty, friendly and involved people, competitive businesses, delicious food, thriving arts, a championship golf course, and more.

Photo of Chambers Bay

Chambers Bay – an awesome championship golf course with fantastic views!

Pierce County owns the 8-year old Chambers Bay links-style golf course, which previously was a sand and gravel mine. In the 115th year of the US Open, a public golf course has hosted the national championship only three times.

The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay experienced many firsts:

  • The June 2015 event marked the first time the Open was played in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The US Open is the largest event ever held in the South Sound. Approximately 235,000 attended in person with millions more watching on tv and online.
  • Over 5,000 people signed up to volunteer for the US Open in record time: just 36 hours. Typically, volunteer sign-ups take several months to fill up.
  • Photo of golf ball

    Golf ball “bouncy ball” — a popular item in the Merchandise Pavillion

    The Merchandise Pavillion at 41,000 square feet in Spectator Square was the largest merchandise facility. Merchandise sales broke records with over 130,000 transactions. Pre-event sales were the largest with many vendors re-ordering supplies in time for the week’s event.

  • USGA allowed mobile devices on the course for the first time, including the US Open mobile app.
  • Four golfers topped the leader board on the Open’s final day, a rare occurrence.
  • At 21, Jordan Spieth became the youngest player to win the US Open.

    Photo of Jordan Spieth with trophy

    Jordan Spieth with trophy and US Open supporters. Photo: Pierce County

  • After the championship, all leftover food (70,000 lbs) was donated to a local food bank, Emergency Food Network. This food donation makes a big difference in our community! Thank you to Ridgewells Catering, who also featured local Puget Sound food on the US Open menu. What a great example!
Photo of Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods smiles on the driving range at Chambers Bay.

And the championship featured much golf drama! Tiger Woods attracted huge crowds but failed to make the cut. The world’s #1 golfer, Rory McIllroy, stormed back on the final day to pull even for the tournament. Jason Day fainted on the 9th hole, and then came back to tie for the lead heading into championship day. The players competed to the very last stroke of the day, as Dustin Johnson hit the 18th green on his second shot, but could not put for the win or tie. In the previous group, Jordan Spieth birdied for the lead and the eventual win!

Photo of volunteer and tree

Proud volunteer

I’m proud to have volunteered at the South Sound’s largest event and hope the Open returns to Chambers Bay!