Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Forest, WA
One of the largest rainforests in the United States resides in the Olympic National Park and is called the “Hoh Rainforest” after the river that runs through it. It is fully protected from industry, timbering, or the lumber world. The rainforest consists of over 24 miles of low elevation forest found along the Hoh River. This low elevation valley was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. Unfortunately between the park’s borders and the Pacific Ocean, most of the neighboring rain forest has already been exploited by commercial interests. The bio-diversity of this rainforest is highly protected, studied, and observed. The main species of trees in the forest are the Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), as well as the Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), Red Alder (Alnus rubra), Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum), Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), and Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) also being popular species found here. The forest is also home to various lichens and mosses, unique insects like the banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus) and the black slug (Arion ater), as well as the usual suspects of fauna such as the Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), Black tailed Deer (Odocoileus columbianus), Olympic Black Bear (Usus americanus altifrontalis), Cougar (Felis concolor couguar), Bobcat (Lynx rufus), racoon (Procyon lotor), Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), and the Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) as the most common neighbors.
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