While I normally write about local places where you can enjoy a nice hike, I'd like to take a small detour today and talk about the importance of being aware of natural disasters, especially landslides. Washington State is a beautiful place to hike and includes many nature trails. The recent landslide that occurred in Oso, Washington serves as a reminder that with that beauty comes some danger. According to a USA Today article, "the event happened with no warning and so quickly that the victims in its path had little chance to run for safety" (Weise & Wiley, 2014, para. 6). So please be careful when choosing a place for your hike, and make sure to check the risks for the area before you go. Also, please join me in writing to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) or your state's Department of Natural Resources to ask for more user-friendly natural disaster alert systems. We need a system that will provide an alert whenever a new incident is reported. This way if a scientific report states that there is a "potential for a large catastrophic failure" (Miller & Miller, 1999, p. 6) like was reported for the Oso area, residents can easily learn of this informaiton and make informed decisions on whether they should remain in such a dangerous area. With such an alert system in place, we can hopefully prevent the devastation that occurred in Oso and also provide a safe resource for hikers everywhere to use.
Miller, L. & Miller, D. (1999). Answers in geomorphology and land use planning. Seattle, WA: U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers.
Weise, E. & Wiley, E. (2014, March 30). Oso landslide hit fast, hard and with no warning. USA
Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/28/oso-landslide-