Olympic National Park planning big upgrade for Hoh visitor center

Olympic National Park plans to spend between $1 million and $5 million reconfiguring and upgrading the Hoh Visitor Center near Forks.

The center, which is a focal point for visitors on the park’s west side, served 116,000 visitors last year. Its rangers provide information, wilderness permits and animal-resistant food containers, and the building has a bookstore and exhibits about Olympic’s temperate rain forests.

Built in 1963, the center’s facilities no longer match current demands – especially its cramped restroom, said Olympic spokeswoman Barb Maynes.

The planned work includes reconfiguring the interior to allow for expanded restroom space and a larger information desk. Also on the to-do list: get rid of asbestos, replace heating and electrical systems, install energy-efficient lighting, replace all windows and floor coverings, turn a storage room into an office, build a free-standing shelter, and make various parking, walkway and restroom modifications to allow better disabled access.

The project’s money will come from a regional National Park Service rehabilitation fund and recreation fees charged at the park.

The park has invited contractors for site visits on May 22. The job is open to businesses that make under $33.5 million per year.

Not sure about the fate of the much-photographed mossy payphone stand, but I’m crossing fingers it stays.

Photo: Glenn Scofield Williams/Flickr