Olympic National Park
Olympic National Forest, Olympic Peninsula, Washington
One of the most famous National Parks in the State of Washington, the Olympic National Park is nearly surrounded by the Olympic National Forest, on the Olympic Peninsula, in the state of Washington. It consists of four regions within it – the alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest, the east side forests, and the Pacific coastline. The park hosts three distinct natural eco-systems: (1) temperate forest, (2) rugged Pacific Shoreline, and (3) sub-alpine forest and wildflower meadows. This section of the Olympic National Forest was created as the Mount Olympus National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt on March 2, 1909; then designated as a National Park in 1938 by President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1976 it became an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site in 1981. The Park hosts 60 miles of rugged sandy beach shores along the Pacific Ocean, and two main rivers – the Hoh River and the Quileute River. The first inhabitants were the Hoh people who lived along the Hoh river and thd the Quileute people along the Quileute River. The earlier inhabitants of the area primarily fished, hunted and gathered. Then came the influx of Euro-American settlers who decimated the indigenous populations with their European diseases and genocide. The Euro-Americans came in for lumber and timber harvest, trapping, hunting, and use of the natural resources. The Olympic National Park preserves numerous valuable flora and faunal resources that need protecting. The region is abundant with chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, six species of bats, weasels, muskrats, beavers, red foxes, coyotes, fishers, river otters, mountain goats, martens, black bears, bobcats, cougars, Canadian lynxes, moles, snowshoe hares, shrews, whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, raptors, winter wrens, gray jays, Hammond’s flycatchers, wilson’s warblers, blue grouses, pine siskins, ravens, spotted owls, red-breasted nuthatches, golden-crowned kinglets, chestnut-backed chickadees, swainson’s thruses, hermit thrushes, olive-sided flycatchers, bald eagles, western tanagers, northern pygmy owls, townsend’s warblers and solitaires, vaux’s swifts, band-tailed pigeons, and evening grosbeaks. The park is used for fishing, boating, hiking, camping, repelling, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, surfing, water sports, elk watching, and rafting. The foggy sea stacks are a popular attraction along the beaches. Mount Olympus and the Blue Glacier are other outstanding natural features.