Park History

Park History


Park History

Olympic National Park the best example of intact and protected temperate rain forest in the Pacific Northwest. Known for the diversity of its distinct ecosystems – the rugged pacific coastline, massive glacier-clad peaks, a temperate rainforest on the west side that receives 150 inches of rainfall annually (considered to be one of the wettest areas in the continental US), and an old growth forest with a much drier climate to the east. Eleven major river systems drain from the Olympic Mountains, offering some of the best habitat for fish species in the country. The Park includes 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.

The Olympic Peninsula's forests were originally designated as the Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897, Olympic National Monument in 1909, and then – Olympic National Park in 1938. On October 1, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Lake Quinault Lodge during a fact-finding trip. During his visit, the topic of establishing a park came up over lunch. Nine months later, Roosevelt signed a bill creating Olympic National Park, which to this day remains a treasure countless visitors continue to enjoy. It wasn’t until decades later that the government and UNESCO would step in to legally protect the land. In 1976 the park was declared an International Biosphere Reserve and in 1981 Olympic National Park became a World Heritage site.

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, radiating mountain range, large lowland lakes, and saltwater beaches provide unlimited recreational activities making it an ideal place to experience the majesty of the Pacific Northwest.