Park History

Park History


Preserved and Cherished History

Olympic National Park is a place of tremendous natural diversity and breathtaking beauty with over 922,651 acres of preserved wilderness. Little has changed since its first traces as a home of Native American tribes and, later, its first settlements by Europeans in the late 1500s. President Grover Cleveland designated the Olympic Peninsula's forests as the Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897, forever preserving its serenity and majestic beauty in History. Ultimately, in 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the act establishing Olympic National Park.

In 1981, the Historic Olympic National Park was named a World Heritage site in recognition of its exceptional natural beauty and outstanding diversity of plants and animals. Located in the northwest of Washington State, Olympic National Park is renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. An extensive old growth forest surrounds glacier-clad peaks interspersed with many alpine meadows, making Olympic National Park the best example of intact and protected temperate rain forest in the Pacific Northwest.

Eleven major river systems drain from the Olympic Mountains, offering some of the best habitat for anadromous fish species in the country. The park also includes 100 km / 62 miles of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States, and is rich in native and endemic animal and plant species, including critical populations of the endangered northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.

Today, the Olympic Peninsula is a dramatic and beautiful setting for hiking, boating, fishing, beach combing and reconnecting with nature. The vast and varied landscape includes a temperate rainforest, radiating mountain range, large lowland lakes, wild rushing rivers, tidelands and saltwater beaches.

Bird watching at Olympic National Park & Forest is exceptional year-round - and the pristine wilderness is home to magnificent wildlife, including threatened and endangered species like the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, bald eagle, bull trout and Puget Sound Chinook salmon.

The unlimited recreational activities, mild climate, and easy accessibility make it an ideal place to experience the majesty of the Pacific Northwest.