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Leave the traveling to her
As a North Olympic Peninsula resident for a dozen years, Linda Barnfather of Sequim revels in its flora and fauna, plus destination sites like Victorian Port Townsend and the lavender farms of Sequim.
On June 1, she launched a new tour company, Olympic Peninsula Adventures, and already has day trip bookings from her Internet site at www.OlympicPeninsulaAdventures.com.
“I noticed a real need for it on this (east) side and I realized we needed someone to go more toward Port Townsend,” Barnfather said, noting that she also works with the management of the MV Coho.
“I had to go through regulatory processes which were lengthy but necessary and had to comply with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission and Olympic National Park. They’ve all been wonderful to work with and I found the process pretty easy.”
Part of being certified as a tour provider required Barnfather to upgrade her CPR and first aid skills, plus earn a Leave No Trace certificate.
“People with me will know I’ll be able to handle a problem. Being married to a first responder (James), those are pretty important things,” Barnfather said.
She purchased a 2007 Mercedes Sprinter van, seating nine tourists plus herself, to ride in style and comfort. The van, which runs on biodiesel, has large windows for sightseeing, with three rows of seats.
“It’s almost like driving a car,” Barnfather said, and indeed it was.
Currently she’s offering two excursions — Talk of the Towns and The Best of the Park. The former features tours of Port Angeles, Sequim and the Dungeness Valley plus downtown Port Townsend and Fort Worden State Park; the latter highlights Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent Lodge, Marymere and Sol Duc falls. This trip also includes a gourmet picnic lunch at a scenic spot.
The day trips run between 6-8 hours. Plans are in the works for a third tour, called Wild Rivers and Beaches of the North Coast, spotlighting Olympic National Park’s signature wilderness beaches.
Barnfather knows the peninsula quite well, having been a supervisor with the Clallam Conservation District for three years and past president of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau. She’s also roamed the area’s backroads as a semi-professional photographer and has sold photos to National Geographic.
“I like showing people about the good of why we like living here and why we want to be here,” Barnfather said. “I love showing off this area — it’s a pleasure to showcase what we have. I’m really hoping Canadian tourists will come over to explore the peninsula.”
Barnfather’s brochure touts, “Get to know the Olympic Peninsula like a local … with a local.”
She describes in detail each of the tours and features such classic icons as the Point Wilson Lighthouse and Port Townsend’s Victorian downtown.
Wedged in between scheduled tours, she welcomes private tours for photography, history and culture, food and farms, plus wine tours.
“A lot of people on the peninsula are doing really cool things and it’s going to be great working with some very creative and talented people promoting the peninsula,” Barnfather said. “The Olympic Peninsula really is on the map worldwide now. (Tourism) is really growing and it’s exciting. I expect a busy summer and fall.”
Perks for customers, she said, “are they get to be with a local who knows a lot about Clallam and Jefferson counties and can go places where they wouldn’t see on a large coach tour. They can get to know their fellow travelers and have a more flexible schedule.”
Olympic Peninsula Adventures accepts credit cards and PayPal and is available for tours from June through September, when Barnfather has to get back to her job as senior executive legislative assistant to state Rep. Kevin Van De Wege. She advises that the tours aren’t designed for children under age 12. See tour prices on the OPA website.
“I think this is something I’ll want to do for several years and I really enjoy the hospitality and sharing the experiences of life on the peninsula.”