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Title: Olympic National Park, Washington - Natural History Handbook Series #1
Author: Fagerlund, Gunnar O.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            Stewart R. Udall

                         NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                         George B. Hartzog, Jr.


This publication is one of a series of handbooks explaining the natural
history of scenic and scientific areas in the National Park System. It
is printed by the Government Printing Office and may be purchased from
the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C., 20402. Price 30

                        national park-Washington

                         By GUNNAR O. FAGERLUND

                 WASHINGTON, D. C., 1954 (Revised 1965)


Olympic National Park, established on June 29, 1938, and containing
about 1,400 square miles, is administered by the National Park Service,
U.S. Department of the Interior.

The National Park System, of which this park is a unit, is dedicated to
conserving the scenic, scientific, and historic heritage of the United
States for the benefit and enjoyment of its people.

A superintendent, whose address is 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles,
Wash., 98362, is in immediate charge of the park.

                     _America’s Natural Resources_

Created in 1849, the Department of the Interior—America’s Department of
Natural Resources—is concerned with the management, conservation, and
development of the Nation’s water, wildlife, mineral, forest, and park
and recreational resources. It also has major responsibilities for
Indian and territorial affairs.

As the Nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department works to
assure that nonrenewable resources are developed and used wisely, that
park and recreational resources are conserved, and that renewable
resources make their full contribution to the progress, prosperity, and
security of the United States—now and in the future.


  THE MOUNTAINS ARE FORMED                                              2
  GLACIATION                                                            5
  THE SHAPE OF THE LAND TODAY                                           5
  GLACIERS TODAY                                                        6
  CLIMATE AND THE WATER CYCLE                                           9
  THE FORESTS AND WILDFLOWERS                                          11
      Rain Forest                                                      13
      Mountain Vegetation                                              16
  HOW TO IDENTIFY SOME COMMON PLANTS                                   23
      Trees                                                            23
      Shrubs                                                           27
      Nonwoody Plants                                                  28
  WILDLIFE                                                             35
      You and the Animals                                              36
      Seeing the Mammals                                               37
      Birds                                                            42
      Fish                                                             46
      Other Animal Life                                                47
  PACIFIC COAST AREA                                                   48
  MAN IN OLYMPIC                                                       51
      Indians of the Olympic Peninsula                                 51
      Exploration by sea                                               52
      Exploration by land                                              54
      Establishment of the Park                                        56
  SUGGESTED READINGS                                                   57

    [Illustration: _Here is truly a living wilderness nurtured by the
    ocean! The Olympic Mountains stand first in line against the
    moisture-filled Pacific winds. These winds, rising and cooling on
    the western slopes, drop 12 to 18 feet of rain and snow on forest
    and mountain each year. Two extraordinary conditions result—a
    temperate-climate rain forest and an abundance of permanent ice
    bodies at comparatively low altitudes. Many rushing streams return
    the water from snowfields, glaciers, and forest slopes to the sea. A
    complete and endless circuit of water from ocean to land and back to
    the ocean may be observed from a single mountain vantage point. One
    can hardly fail to notice a water cycle of this magnitude and
    completeness or to appreciate its great influence on the Olympic

Olympic rocks tell of their having been formed of mud, sand, and lava,
uplifted from the sea; they tell of earth disturbance that alternately
submerged the land beneath the sea and elevated it into mountains. The
rocks and the shape of the land also tell of colder climates, when ice
from the north made almost a glacier island of the Olympic Mountains,
and of mountain valley glaciers which sculptured the mountains during
thousands of years. The rugged beauty of the Olympic high country,
enhanced by scores of mountain lakes, bears testimony to the former
presence of these extensive glaciers.

Only about 11,000 years have passed since the last wave of northern ice
retreated and laid bare Olympic rocks. Since then the moist and gentle
climate has favored the growth of plants and the development of soil.
The present Olympic forests and flowering meadows are products of a
succession of plantlife from the first lichens and mosses that grew on
Olympic rocks. Animals returned when the ice retreated. Plant eaters and
meat eaters, large and small, throve in abundance. When primitive man
came, he found the land and sea kindly. He easily obtained what he
needed for food, clothing, and shelter without depleting the supply.

While most of the Northwest was being explored and settled by the white
man during the 19th century, the bulk of the Olympic Peninsula remained
virtually unknown. Its rugged mountains, dense forests, and isolation
contributed to the delayed advance of modern civilization to this
northwesternmost corner of conterminous United States. The Olympic
Peninsula thus remained one of the last frontiers, and the park retains
genuine wilderness quality, even to its boundaries which descend to sea

In this piece of original America the perceptive eye and mind will find
a functioning model of nature—a model of earth forces, climate, and

                        The Mountains Are Formed

The present Olympic Mountains were born between 12 and 20 million years
ago when western Washington was pushed up into a great range that
extended from Cape Flattery southeastward to the eastern part of the
State. At the same time, the land to the north and south was depressed
and remains depressed today as Juan de Fuca Strait and Chehalis Valley,
respectively. The Olympics were further elevated about 5 million years
ago. This coincided with the building of the Cascade Mountains and the
down-folding of the land between to form the Puget Sound trough. The
Olympics were now isolated, having lowland on all sides.

Olympic rocks formed in shallow seas that at least five times have
covered western Washington. Sediments washed from adjacent land areas
and accumulated on the sea bottom. Muds became shales and sands were
cemented into sandstones. Molten lava erupted through these beds and was
quickly cooled by the water. Thousands of feet of rock material formed
in this way.

    [Illustration: Moss-covered tree]

When earth forces lifted the sea floor, the sea disappeared, and for
long periods there were mountains where the sea had been.

Pressure and heat changed the rocks, especially the sedimentary rocks,
which became harder and tougher. Shale changed progressively into slate
and phyllite. All of these rocks are found in the Olympic Mountains. The
sedimentary rocks and lava flows, originally horizontal on the sea
floor, were tilted and folded when uplifted and this is how we see them

Long periods of erosion have removed thousands of feet of rock and
remolded the Olympics into magnificently rugged mountains. Thus, earth
forces build mountains and water slowly carries them back to the sea. So
it has been since the first rains fell upon the cooling earth.

Today only the oldest rocks remain, for these were the bottom layers.
The greater part of the Olympic Mountains are made up of these rocks,
now mostly slates and hardened sandstones. This includes all the rock
inside a horseshoe-shaped line running from the village of Sappho east
to Lake Crescent, Lake Mills, and Deer Park, then south to the west side
of Mount Constance and the north end of Lake Cushman and then west to
Lake Quinault. The horseshoe-shaped rim of the mountains outside this
line is mostly basaltic lava.


Because fossils are scarce in the oldest rocks, geologists are not
certain about their age, but they are thought to be about 120 million
years old. The rocks in the outer rim of the Olympic Mountains contain
more fossils. These have been found in the sandstones, shales, and
limestones interbedded with the thick volcanic rocks. Fish teeth, marine
clams, snails, algae, wood fragments, and microscopic shells found here
represent forms of life that existed 50 to 60 million years ago.


Other important geological events started about a million years ago. As
the climate of the world became colder a great ice sheet formed to the
north and moved down across Canada into the United States. There were
periods when the climate warmed and the ice retreated. It advanced again
when temperatures lowered during tens of thousands of years. The sheet
moved southward at least four times during the last million years.

At the same time, valley glaciers flowed out of the mountains of British
Columbia, joined forces, and formed a piedmont glacier that moved
southward into Puget Sound and against the eastern edge of the Olympic
Mountains. A lobe of this glacier branched off and flowed westward
through Juan de Fuca Strait. This piedmont glacier, at least 3,000 feet
thick, rubbed the northern edge of the Olympic Mountains and sent ice
fingers up the valleys. It brought granite boulders from the north and
dropped them along the way when it melted. Some of these granite
boulders have been found near Camp Wilder, 25 miles up the Elwa River
Valley, and as high as 3,000 feet on the side of Klahhane Ridge.

As the ice moved west along the northern border of the mountains, it
plowed and scraped the deepened and ancient valley that filled with
water when the ice melted. This valley contains Lakes Crescent and
Sutherland. These and numerous other telltale marks attest to the work
of a thick ice sheet.

Approximately 11,000 years have elapsed since the retreat of the last
northern ice sheet from Washington.

With the onset of colder climate, valley glaciers also formed in the
Olympic Mountains. They flowed from high mountain cirques down the
valleys, probably filling the valleys during times of greatest ice
volume and becoming thinner and shorter during times of warmer climate.
Like the larger ice sheets from the north, the valley glaciers of the
mountains must have advanced and retreated periodically. The greatest
advance was as much as 25 to 40 miles in the Hoh, Queets, and Quinault
Valleys. A terminal moraine left by a glacier dams Quinault Valley and
holds the lake behind it.

                      The Shape of the Land Today

Knowledge of the geological history of an area enables us to better
understand the shape of the land today. It will be recalled that earth
movements depressed the land on the north, south, and east, leaving the
Olympic Mountains standing alone, isolated from other mountains.
However, they are a segment of that elongated western fringe of
mountains known as the Coast Range. In all that range the Olympics are
the highest; yet, for western mountains they are not high, dominating
Mount Olympus being only 7,965 feet above sea level. This is not to
suggest, however, that the Olympics are small. These mountains have
their base at sea level, or not much above, and viewed from any lowland
position they appear impressive indeed. A mountain climb will confirm
this idea of their size.

The Olympics are not a single range of mountains but a profusion of
peaks and ridges with intervening valleys—a mountain dome 60 miles
across from north to south and east to west, cut by glaciers and
numerous streams into rugged peaks and steep-walled valleys. There are
nearly a hundred named peaks in Olympic National Park.

Mount Olympus occupies a central position on the Peninsula. To the west
the ridges descend gradually and merge with the coastal plain which
varies from a few to 20 miles in width. The eastern half of the Olympics
maintains a high elevation all the way to the eastern edge. There they
drop steeply to Hood Canal, an arm of Puget Sound, leaving but little
lowland on that side of the Peninsula. The mountains end abruptly on the
north side, too, but with some foothills between them and the shores of
Juan de Fuca Strait, some 3 to 6 miles distant. Except for the western
slopes, the ridges have a fairly uniform elevation of between 5,000 and
6,000 feet, and the peaks rise 1,000 to 2,000 feet higher.

The Olympic high country shows the effects of glacier scouring
everywhere. Numerous lakes lie in basins that were scooped out by the
same glaciers that carved circular hollows at the heads of valleys.
Slopes sweep upward from the basins with increasing steepness and in
many places end in serrated rock ridges and pinnacles.

More than a dozen streams flow out of the Olympic Mountains, returning
rain and melt water to the ocean. They drop down steeply from the high
level basins; after a few swift miles they flatten out and the water
takes a slower pace.

                             Glaciers Today

A glacier is an accumulation of ice large enough to move of its own
weight. Mountain glaciers form at high altitudes where snowfall exceeds
melting and the snow builds up annually until, largely due to its
weight, the lower layers become solid ice. When the depth of this ice
becomes great enough—100 feet or more—it will flow down slope and the
ice is transported to lower altitudes where warmer temperatures cause
the ice to melt. The glacier terminates where this melting equals the
amount of ice moving down from the area of accumulation.


The glaciers in the Olympic Mountains today are small indeed compared to
the extensive glaciers that formerly filled the valleys and sculptured
the mountains. The shape of the land testifies that a greater number of
glaciers once were here. However, more than 60 glaciers, having a
collective area of at least 20 square miles, are present today in the
Olympic Mountains. Mount Olympus alone has 6 major glaciers, and the
total area of permanent snow and ice on it is more than 10 square miles.
Several other mountains also have glaciers, notably Mounts Anderson,
Christie, Tom, and Carrie.

In addition, there are numerous snow patches that remain from one winter
to the next but are not thick enough to form glaciers. Viewed from a
high position, a panorama of north-facing slopes presents a profusion of
snow and ice patches. The presence of so much snow and ice in mountains
of modest height does not mean they are enveloped with inhospitable
cold. It is due to the abundance of winter snow and considerable cool
weather which retards its melting.

Glaciers are very sensitive to climate. Even slight changes in snowfall
or temperature can cause them to advance or recede. Most glaciers
everywhere have been shrinking during the past century. In recent years,
western Washington climate has been cooler and wetter. As a result, many
glaciers in this region, including Blue Glacier, have enlarged slightly.


                      Climate and the Water Cycle

  Of all inorganic substances, acting in their own proper nature, and
  without assistance or combination, water is the most wonderful. If we
  think of it as the source of all the changefulness and beauty which we
  have seen in clouds; then as the instrument by which the earth we have
  contemplated was modeled into symmetry, and its crags chiseled into
  grace; then as, in the form of snow, it robes the mountains it has
  made, with that transcendent light which we could not have conceived
  if we had not seen; then as it exists in the foam of the torrent—in
  the iris which spans it, in the morning mist which rises from it, in
  the deep crystalline pools which mirror its hanging shore, in the
  broad lake and glancing river; finally, in that which is to all human
  minds the best emblem of unwearied, unconquerable power, the wild,
  various, fantastic, tameless unity of the sea; what shall we compare
  to this mighty, this universal element, for glory and for beauty? or
  how shall we follow its eternal changefulness of feeling? It is like
  trying to paint a soul.—_Ruskin_

The earth’s supply of water is fixed—it is used over and over again.
What falls on land as rain or snow runs off, evaporates, or sinks into
the ground. That which sinks into the ground may return: (1) to the air,
by transpiration from plants and by evaporation from soil; and (2) to
the sea, as ground water either flowing into streams or directly into
the sea. All water falling upon the land eventually returns to the sea
or to lakes whence it came. It evaporates and precipitates again and
again. This continuous round of moisture is known as the hydrologic, or
water, cycle. It is impressively demonstrated in the Olympics.

Salt water borders the Olympic Peninsula on three sides. Lowland on the
south completes the isolation of the mountains. From atop some mountain
peaks one can see the Olympic water cycle in its entirety—ocean,
“cloudscape,” snowfields, glaciers, streams from source to mouth
returning water to the sea, and forests transpiring moisture into the

A landscape is an expression of climate. The Olympic landscape, with its
rain forests, snowfields, glaciers, lakes, and numerous streams in deep
valleys, is a superb expression of a superhumid climate. Abundant water
is the prime source of Olympic’s character. The prevailing on-shore
winds acquire much moisture in passing over the ocean. The windward
slopes of the Olympics cause this nearly saturated ocean air to rise.
Consequently, the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains receive the
greatest precipitation in the conterminous United States.

The Hoh Ranger Station has a mean annual precipitation of 142 inches,
with 174.6 inches recorded in 1961. Precipitation on Mount Olympus
recorded in 1958 was 149 inches but this same year only 130 inches were
received at the Hoh. Scientists who have been studying Blue Glacier on
Mount Olympus since 1957 believe the heads of the western valleys
receive 200 inches in some years.

Marine climates have greater precipitation in winter than in summer.
Seventy-six percent of the yearly precipitation in northwest Washington
occurs during the 6 months between October 1 and March 31. There is no
definite time for the beginning and ending of the “dry” and “rainy”
seasons, as the transition is gradual and variable.

The Olympic Peninsula would be well watered even if there were no
mountains. The mountains, however, are responsible for wringing the bulk
of the moisture from the saturated clouds and for creating local
variations in the amount of precipitation. After passing over the
mountains, the air is warmed in descending the leeward slopes.
Consequently, the lowland areas on the lee side of the mountains are
much drier than on the windward side. For instance, on the Olympic
Peninsula at Sequim (pronounced Squim) the mean annual precipitation is
less than 17 inches, and irrigation is required for successful

Another prominent characteristic of the climate is the mildness of the
winters at low elevations. In fact, western Washington is milder in
winter than any other section of the continent in the same latitude. The
reasons for this are the warming influence of the ocean and the
protecting influence of the Cascade Mountains and of the Rocky Mountains
against the flow of cold continental air westward to the coast.

Storm centers that pass eastward across Washington in winter shift to
the north in summer, resulting in sunny summer weather that is
delightfully cool under the influence of the ocean.


                      The Forests and Wildflowers

Our continent has a variety of climates, and each climatic area has its
appropriate vegetation. Generally, the interiors of continents do not
have forests, but have grass or desert vegetation. The most luxuriant
forests develop near oceans where climate is sufficiently moist. This is
true of other continents as well as North America.

The differences in the general character of our natural vegetation from
coast to coast and border to border are apparent despite three centuries
of man’s disturbance in the East and one century in the West. Sizeable
samples of some of the many kinds of original vegetation are preserved
in national parks and monuments. These are precious remnants of our
plant heritage that become more valued year by year in proportion to
their scarcity elsewhere.

The mild, humid climate of the northern half of the Pacific slope is
unusually favorable for forest growth. The most luxuriant of the western
forests developed here in unbroken stretches. The forests that girdle
the Olympic Peninsula represent the best development of this evergreen
forest domain. Its ultimate composition is of western hemlock and
western redcedar in dense stands, with trunks commonly 4 to 6 feet in
diameter and 125 to 200 feet tall. Their crowns shut out most of the
sunlight, but enough gets through to the bottom of the forest for the
growth of mosses and ferns. Shrubs grow dense and tall, in places
becoming almost impenetrable to hikers. Fallen trees of all sizes soon
are enveloped by the lush growth in the damp shade, and in time return
to the soil through decay.

Hemlock and redcedar seedlings take root in the forest litter or on
prostrate, moss-covered trunks. They are able to live in the deep shade.
The most hardy of them outstrip their rivals, and when a vacancy occurs
in the forest canopy their growth speeds up. Thus a forest of hemlock
and redcedar is maintained. This is the climax forest in the lowlands of
the northwest coast. It is the kind of forest the climate here will
produce and maintain in the absence of interference.

Interference has been the rule, however, both before and since the
coming of man. Therefore, the climax forest is less common than the
subclimax in which Douglas-fir is the dominant tree. Forest fires have
repeatedly exposed the forest floor to sunlight and thus allowed the
development of Douglas-fir, by far the most abundant and widespread tree
in northwest forests. In the regeneration of a forest after fire,
logging, or other disturbance, it is Douglas-fir that is ever present.

The northwest coast is an evergreen land. This may not be apparent in
summer, however, when all plants are green. Not counting the numerous
mosses that are always green, there are 73 species of evergreen plants
on the Olympic Peninsula.



An extraordinary forest has developed along the western slopes of the
Coast Range where moisture is available in the greatest abundance. The
most typical and beautiful expression of this coastwise forest is found
in the western valleys and on the coastal plain of the Olympic
Peninsula. It is the most luxuriant growth in any temperate climate and
may properly be called a rain forest. This temperate-climate rain
forest, however, is not like the rain forests of the hot, superhumid
tropics. Here, there are tall conifers instead of broad-leaved trees;
there are mosses and ferns on the ground instead of an understory of

The rain forest is principally distinguished by the presence of Sitka
spruce. This tree grows only in a narrow belt along the coast from
northern California to Alaska. The other trees of the rain-forest
community have much wider distribution.

The trees of this forest are among the largest in the world. Many of
them have trunks that exceed 10 feet in diameter at 4½ feet above the
ground, and are up to 300 feet tall. The largest known trees in the park
for the most common species are: western redcedar, 21 feet 4 inches in
diameter; Sitka spruce, 13 feet 4 inches; Douglas-fir, 14 feet 5 inches;
western hemlock, 9 feet; and Pacific silver fir, 6 feet 10 inches.

A visit to the rain forest offers a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
Although it is possible to drive through some sections, this provides
only a view of the trees. A forest is more than a stand of trees—it
includes animal life, smaller plants, and micro-organisms, such as
bacteria. All these serve the forest and in turn, their well-being
depends upon the forest. They form the forest community.

Splendid examples of rain forest may be seen in the Hoh, Queets, and
Quinault Valleys, but the Hoh Valley is the most accessible. A paved
road runs 19 miles up the Hoh from U.S. 101, ending 7 miles inside the
park boundary where a National Park Service campground has been
developed. The Hoh River Trail starts just beyond the nearby visitor
center. It extends 18 miles to Glacier Meadow, close to Blue Glacier on
Mount Olympus. Approximately 12 miles of it is in rain forest along the
valley bottom. Only a small fraction of this distance need be traveled,
however, to see the forest.

Unexpectedly, one finds this forest beautifully luminous. It is filled
with soft, green light that drops down where it can find room between
the towering spruces and hemlocks. In the lower levels of the forest it
filters through the translucent leaves of the vine maple and bounces
from one green surface to another. Nature, in an exuberant mood, has
lavishly decorated this forest with mosses and clubmosses. Moss carpets,
with patterns of Oregon oxalis and beadruby, cover the forest floor. The
same material upholsters fallen trees and the trunks of those standing.
Mosses ascend to the very tops of some of the tallest trees. Arched
trunks of vine maple are cushioned with them. Curtains of clubmosses
hang from the same archways, separating one green forest room from


The forest cycle from seed germination to death of giant trees and their
return to soil may be seen here in the course of a short stroll. This is
a cycle endlessly repeated. No part of it is disturbed by man. Trees
felled either by uprooting or by breaking of the trunk are scattered
everywhere in various degrees of decay. Rain-forest trees have shallow
but widespreading roots. To obtain nourishment, there is no need for
deep roots where water is available in dependable abundance. But shallow
roots in saturated soil do not always anchor trees firmly enough against
storm winds.

Though dead and prostrate, the fallen trees still have an important
function in the forest. They are soon accepted into the forest-floor
community and become covered with lichens and mosses. Various fungi and
bacteria attack them from within. They become nurseries for spruce and
hemlock, whose seedlings prefer rotting wood. The most vigorous
seedlings outgrow all others and send their roots down the flanks of the
rotting log and into the ground. Such old nurse logs, if big enough,
will last until the trees they foster grow to large size. Colonnades of
huge trees may thus be seen straddling old moldering logs. Seeds may
even take root upon a broken stump 12 feet or more above the ground. The
roots reach the soil after creeping down the full length of the stump.
The result, when the stump rots and crumbles away, is a tree standing on
stilts. Thus the forest is regenerated. New life compensates death.
There is neither increase nor decrease in total amount. What is dead
eventually returns to soil and feeds the living. This is brought about
through the work of saprophytes—plants without chlorophyll, the
substance which gives plants their green color. They must obtain their
food already made and are content to take it dead. Many of these are
mushrooms and other fungi with colorful and beautifully shaped fruiting
bodies. No better description of their function in the forest can be
found than that written by Donald Culross Peattie.


  Breaking up the debris of what was living, releasing the precious
  materials in it, these fungi, and certain bacteria, retrieve the vital
  elements from what would otherwise be a permanent and cumulative and
  ultimately disastrous loss. They are part of what we call decay, but
  they are as much a part of life. They turn over its wheels....


A visit to Olympic is not complete without at least one trip into the
high country. Aside from the numerous trails that lead up into the
mountains, there are two high country areas that may be reached by car.
These are Hurricane Ridge and Deer Park. Whether the trip is made on
trail or on road, an understanding of the changing pattern of plantlife
will make it more enjoyable.

The climate at the top of a mountain is unlike that at the base;
accordingly, the plants are different. Plant scientists have found that
these vegetation differences on a mountain are similar to the changes
seen between the equator and the poles. Generally speaking, each
100-foot rise in elevation is equivalent to about a 20-mile distance
north. Although the change may be gradual, there are distinguishable
belts of vegetation on a mountain. These belts are called life zones and
have names that indicate their correspondence to zones between the
equator and the poles.

Altogether there are four life zones in the Olympic Mountains:
Transition, Canadian, Hudsonian, and Arctic-Alpine. The vegetation of
the last three is similar to that of regions to the north at lower
elevations, as indicated by their names.

The Transition zone in the Olympics is the lowest. It is intermediate
between southern and northern vegetation. The lowland forests, including
the rain forest already described, are in this zone.

The next two zones also are forest, but somewhat different. The highest,
or fourth, zone is treeless. The boundaries between the forest zones
here are not sharp; it is difficult to know exactly where one ends and
the next begins. This merging of forest zones in the Olympic Mountains
may be due to the equable temperature extending well up the mountain

The Canadian zone should be apparent when an elevation of 2,000 feet is
reached. The forest of this zone is somber compared with that of the
Transition zone. Although it has many kinds of small shrubs and
herbaceous plants, it lacks the striking greenness of the Transition
forest. Western white pine and Pacific silver fir have entered it.
Western redcedar is absent, while Douglas-fir and western hemlock
remain. There are numerous saprophytes on the forest floor—most of them
flowering plants such as pinedrops, Indian-pipe, and coralroot.


The Hudsonian zone is next, and is the highest one having forest
vegetation. Around 3,500 feet elevation there is a mingling of Canadian
and Hudsonian trees. Some trees of the Canadian zone are still found,
but some different kinds are included in the forest composition. The
characteristic Hudsonian zone trees are mountain hemlock, Pacific silver
fir, alpine fir, and Alaska-cedar. The last-named has typical cedar
foliage. Its branches and twigs droop as if they were wilted. Trees in
this zone are much smaller than those at lower altitudes and become
still smaller with every upward step. At the uppermost fringe of tree
growth the winds hold them close to the ground as deformed growths. This
is known as _krummholz_, a German word meaning “crooked wood.” The name
is applied to stunted forest commonly found in alpine regions.
Timberline in the Olympic Mountains is generally at about 5,000 feet,
which coincides with the height of many of the ridgetops. The beginning
of the Hudsonian zone is the beginning of the high country. The sky is
bluer and in summer an alpine fragrance adds zest to the air. The
forested slopes give way, in depressions, to meadows that are brilliant
with wildflowers in summer. Basins carved by snow and ice hold numerous
mountain lakes, with streams flowing into and out of them.


The Hudsonian meadows, in depressions above 3,500 feet, are knee-deep in
grass in July and August, and flowers form a medley of color. Aster,
pedicularis, arnica, shootingstar, cinquefoil, and false-hellebore are
among the conspicuous flowers there.

Stream margins and marshy ground are preferred by such plants as
marshmarigold and globeflower.


Higher in the Hudsonian zone there are prairielike meadows where flowers
bloom in profusion. Extending 60 miles across the north and east sides
of the park there are thousands of acres of this meadowland on the
ridges. Hurricane Ridge is in the midst of this and presents some of the
finest flower displays. Some slopes in early summer are white with
avalanche lilies, one of the most abundant and widespread of the
mountain flowers. Near timberline they grow among the trees, as well as
in the open. Other meadows are yellow with pure stands of glacier lily,
one of the earliest of spring flowers. Impatient with winter, it pushes
through the thinning snowbanks. Where soil is deep, subalpine lupine
blooms profusely. Among the most common and conspicuous in rich meadows
are larkspur, buttercup, cinquefoil, paintbrush, arnica, tiger lily, and
mountain buckwheat.

Several plants found in the mountains in the northeast part of the park,
where rainfall is lighter, are more typical of the hot, arid lowlands of
eastern Washington and Oregon. Some of these are nodding onion, woolly
eriophyllum, and barestem lomatium—their presence in the mountains may
be due to the fact that the broad ridgetop meadows in the northeastern
part of the park are remnants of a lower plain where these plants grew
before the Olympic Mountains had risen to their present height. As the
mountains were pushed up, these plants could have continued to grow and
reproduce despite changing conditions.

On hillsides where the rock has weathered only into chips, or where
little soil has formed, carpets of spreading phlox and rosettes of Lyall
lupine are most conspicuous in early summer. Some plants grow on talus
slides, on rocks broken and tumbled from peaks above, and on rocks laid
bare by retreating glacial ice. Lichens and mosses, pioneers among
plants, etch the rock with weak acids and thus start the slow conversion
of rock into soil. Some flowering plants are pioneers, too. Common ones
growing in crevices and soil pockets among the rocks in the Hudsonian
zone are smooth douglasia, alumroot, and bluebell. Eventually, a
flowered meadow or forested slope develops where first there was only
bare rock.

The Arctic-Alpine zone is the region above timberline. It corresponds to
the arctic meadows of northern Canada. In the Olympics its lower limit
is about 5,000 feet and its upper limit is the tops of the peaks.

It is a harsh environment. Its shallow soil and rocks, its wind and
prolonged snow and cold exclude all but the hardiest perennials. Annuals
cannot live there. One growing season is too short for a plant to start
from seed, complete its vegetative growth, flower, and ripen its seeds.
Many of the plants are surface plants, such as mosses and lichens, which
do not produce flowers. But even the flowering plants hug the ground.
Their over-wintering buds are at or below the ground surface. It is a
struggle for moisture and against time. Only low perennials, having
small, tough leaves covered with hairs or wax, are able to survive.
These properties help protect the plants against loss of water.

There are 8 kinds of mountain plants in the Olympics that are not known
to grow anywhere else. It appears that these plants grew in the Olympic
Mountains before the ice came and were able to survive on ridgetops that
remained free of glacial ice during the long cold periods. They are thus
relicts from preglacier time. None of them are trees and only two are
shrubs. All the rest are herbs. Several of these, among which piper
bellflower and Flett violet are especially attractive, may be found on
Hurricane Ridge and on the upper slopes of Mount Angeles.

Snow is vital to mountain flowers. It provides most of the moisture for
their growth and governs the length of the growing season. Spring
flowers appear earliest where the snow melts first. Where snow piles up
deeply, it may not melt completely till midsummer or may melt too late
for plants to complete a season’s growth. On northern slopes the snow
may remain all summer, and there can be no growing season.

The high country has many floral patterns, which change as the seasons
progress. The flower displays are usually best around the middle of
July. Flowers of spring, summer, and autumn are blooming then, according
to the progress of the seasons in different elevations and habitats.





                   How To Identify Some Common Plants

Out of more than a thousand kinds of trees, shrubs, ferns, and flowering
herbs on the Olympic Peninsula, 28 are described in the following
paragraphs. While this is but a small fraction of the total, they
represent the most common and noticeable plants that can be identified

The park is a sanctuary for all natural features, and care should be
taken not to disturb, injure, or destroy trees, flowers, or other


DOUGLAS-FIR (_Pseudotsuga menziesii_) gives principal distinction to the
Northwest forests. Growing from sea level to 5,000 feet elevation, it is
the most abundant and widespread tree on the Olympic Peninsula. Average
mature trees in the virgin forests of the lowlands are 180 to 250 feet
in height and 4 to 6 feet in diameter. The largest on record—14 feet 5
inches in diameter—is located in the Queets River Valley, about 3½ miles
by trail from the end of the road. Next to the sequoias of California
the Douglas-fir is the largest tree in the forest of the Western

Large Douglas-firs in the forest commonly have nearly cylindrical boles,
clear of limbs for a hundred feet. Such trees have a reddish-brown bark
which is rough with ridges and deep furrows. The cones, whether on the
tree or on the ground beneath the tree, provide easy and reliable
identification. They are mostly 2½ to 3 inches long with 3-pointed, thin
bracts protruding among the scales. The seeds are a favorite food of the
Douglas squirrel.

WESTERN REDCEDAR (_Thuja plicata_) grows in the valley bottoms and other
moist places. Although it is mainly a lowland tree, it extends up into
the Canadian zone wherever conditions are favorable. Large trees in the
forest average 150 to 175 feet in height and 3 to 8 feet in diameter.
The largest western redcedar on record is 21 feet 4 inches in diameter.
It is located in the Pacific Coast Area near Kalaloch and can be reached
by a short spur road near Beach Trail 6.

The trunk of the western redcedar commonly tapers rapidly from a swollen
and sometimes fluted base. Its bark is thin, fibrous, and stringy. The
foliage hangs in long, lacy sprays. It is the only tree of the lowland
forests which has leaves that are tiny, overlapping scales.

WESTERN HEMLOCK (_Tsuga heterophylla_) is abundant in Northwest forests
up to about 3,000 feet elevation. Large forest trees are 125 to 175 feet
in height and 2 to 4 feet in diameter. The largest recorded specimen of
this tree, 9 feet in diameter, is located above Enchanted Valley in the
park. Western hemlock can be identified by its foliage and cones. The
needles vary in length from ¼ to 1 inch and are pliable and
round-pointed. The lacy sprays of foliage have a delicate appearance.
The top shoot of the tree bends over in an arc—another identifying
characteristic. The cones, about three-quarters of an inch long, are
usually abundant near the ends of the branches.

SITKA SPRUCE (_Picea sitchenis_) is a coastwise tree from Alaska to
California. In the park it is common only in the rain forest on the west
side. There, large trees are 225 to 300 feet in height and 5 to 8 feet
in diameter. Many are 10 feet or more in diameter. The largest specimen
recorded, 13 feet 4 inches in diameter, is located in the park about 4
miles above the Hoh Ranger Station. Sitka spruce and the three preceding
species comprise what might be called the “big four” in Olympic forests.

Sitka spruce can be identified by its stiff and very sharp-pointed
needles. They are ½ to ¼ inches long and extend outward from all sides
of the twig. It can be distinguished from other associated trees by the
thin silvery-gray to purplish-gray scales on its bark. The base of the
tree is commonly enlarged because of the massive roots that grew
downward from the top of a stump or large fallen tree where the seed


PACIFIC SILVER FIR (_Abies amabilis_) is a tree of middle elevations, or
the Canadian zone. In favorable sites, it attains a height of 140 to 160
feet and a diameter of 2 to 4 feet. The record tree, 6 feet 10 inches in
diameter, is by the Bogachiel River about 8 miles by trail from the end
of the road. A striking characteristic of this needle-leaved tree is its
smooth, ashy-gray bark, conspicuously marked with chalky-white areas and
numerous resin blisters.

ALPINE FIR (_Abies lasiocarpa_) is the spirelike tree of the highest
life zone, the Hudsonian. Under favorable conditions it reaches a height
of 60 to 90 feet, but at timberline it is a twisted, stunted growth only
a few feet high. Its narrow crown extends to the ground, which makes
this tree particularly susceptible to crown fires. Many ridgetop areas
have “silver” forests of bleached trunks of fire-killed alpine fir. The
purple to gray-purple cones, 2 to 4 inches long, stand upright on the
branches as in all true firs.


ALASKA-CEDAR (_Chamaecyparis nootkatensis_) is a Hudsonian zone tree,
easily identified by its foliage. The slender, drooping branches and
flat, weeping sprays appear to be wilted. The leaves are of tiny,
overlapping scales. This tree could be confused with the western
redcedar, but as the two grow at different elevations identification
should be easy. The largest specimen recorded, 7 feet 8 inches in
diameter, is on the trail to Hart Lake above Enchanted Valley.



PACIFIC MADRONE (_Arbutus menziesii_) is a tree of the lower elevations
distinguished by its smooth, reddish-brown trunk and branches and its
shiny, leathery, broad-leaved, evergreen foliage. The bark of the trunk
may be loosely scaly, peeling off in long, thin, irregular pieces. This
is especially noticeable in late summer when new, light-green bark is
exposed by the flaking away of the older red bark.


SALAL (_Gaultheria shallon_) is the most common shrub in the forests of
the Olympic Peninsula. Near the coast it grows 6 to 10 feet high in
nearly impenetrable stands. Inland and at higher elevations up to about
3,000 feet, it is much smaller. Its evergreen, leathery leaves with
finely toothed edges are easily distinguished from those of other
shrubs. They are oblong and mostly 2 to 3 inches long. Urn-shaped, white
to pink flowers in 1-sided racemes become black, edible berries later in
summer. These berries were gathered by coast Indians and made into syrup
or thick, dried cakes.

PACIFIC RED ELDER (_Sambucus callicarpa_). This large shrub becomes
noticeable along roadsides in summer because of its large, dense
clusters of brilliant red “berries.”

CREAMBUSH ROCKSPIREA (_Holodiscus discolor_) is an erect shrub, growing
5 to 14 feet high. In June it becomes conspicuous in lowlands because of
its numerous, large, dense, drooping sprays of cream-colored flowers.
Ocean spray is another common name for this shrub.



FIREWEED (_Epilobium angustifolium_). The rose-colored, spirelike,
flowered tops attract attention wherever it is found. The name fireweed
has been given because it comes up quickly in burned areas. It is not
restricted to burned places, however, for it grows wherever there is
unpreempted space in sunny locations, as along roadsides. It may be seen
in flower throughout the summer, since it grows from sea level to 5,000
feet in elevation. The blooming progresses to higher elevations as the
season advances. Its leaves are similar to those of willow, which
accounts for another common name—willowweed.

WESTERN SWORDFERN (_Polystichum munitum_). This is the western
counterpart of the common Christmasfern. It is a large, conspicuous,
evergreen fern—the most prominent fern in these forests. The individual
leaflets are lance-shaped, have fine-toothed edges, and are attached to
the stem of the frond by means of a short stalk.

DEERFOOT VANILLALEAF (_Achlys triphylla_). This is probably the most
common herbaceous, flowering plant in these forests from sea level to
about 4,000 feet in elevation. It is a foot or more in height and
commonly forms extensive patches. It can be identified easily by the
three broad, fan-shaped leaves at the top of the slender, wiry stem. If
the central leaf is bent back, the other two represent a spreading,
green-winged butterfly. The small flowers form a slender, white, upright
spike above the leaves. The foliage contains a compound which has the
fragrance of vanilla. This is given off when the leaves wilt and
accounts for another popular name—sweet-after-death.

OREGON OXALIS (_Oxalis oregana_). This small, delicate, white-flowered
plant, has leaves that resemble a three-leaf clover. It grows among the
mosses in the moist, shady forest and is especially noticeable in the
plant carpet on the floor of the rain forest. The plant contains oxalic
acid, which gives the leaves a pleasant sour taste. Another common name
is wood sorrel.

QUEENCUP BEADLILY (_Clintonia uniflora_). The hiker will find this
attractive plant in flower at middle elevations, mostly in the Canadian
zone. Each plant has two or three prominent, narrowly oblong, lilylike
leaves growing from the base of the plant and one clear-white, lilylike
flower. The fruit is a single turquoise berry.

OREGON WINTERGREEN (_Pyrola rotundifolio_). This handsome pyrola is
found up to about 3,000 feet elevation. Several leathery, roundish
leaves, which have stems as long as the leaves, arise from the base of
the plant and spread out to form a rosette. They are glossy green on
top. From the center of this rosette rises a reddish flower stalk, 8 to
16 inches tall, that bears pink to reddish, waxy flowers about a quarter
of an inch in diameter.

    [Illustration: DEERFOOT VANILLALEAF.]

    [Illustration: OREGON OXALIS.]

    [Illustration: QUEENCUP BEADLILY.]

    [Illustration: WESTERN SWORDFERN.]

SUBALPINE LUPINE (_Lupinus subalpinus_). Early in July the mountain
meadows become ornamented with large patches of this blue-flowered
plant. Its flowers are the shape of pea blossoms. Lupine can be
identified by the leaf, which consists of many leaflets radiating from a
central point like the spokes of a wheel. This lupine is a leafy plant 8
to 24 inches high.

LYALL LUPINE (_Lupinus lyallii_). This small lupine grows in dry, rocky
soil at higher elevations, mostly above timberline in the Arctic-Alpine
zone. Its small, but typically lupine, leaves are hairy and spread out
to form a rosette. The blue flowers, in many short, compact spikes,
usually are spread in rosette manner.

    [Illustration: SUBALPINE LUPINE.]

AVALANCHE LILY (_Erythronium montanum_) is a white lily, with a yellow
center, abundant in early summer on mountain meadows and in woods near

GLACIER LILY (_Erythronium grandiflorum_). This plant is similar, except
that the flowers are yellow and slightly smaller. It blooms earlier than
its white counterpart and one must look for it where the snow is
melting. Both the avalanche and glacier lilies have two basal leaves.

    [Illustration: MAGENTA PAINTBRUSH.]

SCARLET PAINTBRUSH (_Castilleja miniata_). The brilliant color of this
plant is not in its flowers, which are hidden, but in the leafy bracts
that surround them. One can imagine that the “flowers” are brushes
dipped in scarlet paint and then turned upward.

MAGENTA PAINTBRUSH (_Castilleja oreopola_) is similar to the scarlet
paintbrush, except in color.

    [Illustration: AVALANCHE LILY.]

    [Illustration: TIGER LILY.]

OWLCLOVER (_Orthocarpus imbricatus_) is a relative of the paintbrushes;
it may be incorrectly identified as one of them. The “flower” is
magenta-colored, but it differs from that of the paintbrush in being
compact and nearly ball-like. Each plant has only one flower stalk,
while paintbrush usually has more than one. Paintbrush and owlclover
bloom in the mountain meadows in midsummer.

TIGER LILY (_Lilium columbianum_) is a tall, leafy plant of the rich
meadows that bears from two to many large, orange, brown-spotted
flowers. On the lowland meadows the flowers appear in May, but in the
meadows of the Hudsonian zone, they do not bloom until July.

MOUNTAIN BUCKWHEAT (_Polygonum bistortoides_). Although this flower is
not especially attractive, its abundance in mountain meadows gives it
importance among the common plants of the park. It grows thickly among
grasses and sedges, is 10 to 20 inches tall, and in July and August
bears a compact, oblong spike of white flowers at the top of the slender

SPREADING PHLOX (_Phlox diffusa_) is a prickly, mosslike plant that
forms cushions or mats on dry, gravelly slopes above timberline. In
early summer, it bears numerous, small, white-to-lavender flowers close
to the foliage. Entire hillsides may be covered with a patchwork of this
hardy alpine plant.

BLUEBELL (_Campanula rotundifolia_) grows from sea level to the dry,
rocky slopes above timberline. At the higher elevations it blooms from
July to September and can be recognized easily by its pale blue,
nodding, bell-like flowers about three-quarters of an inch long.

    [Illustration: SPREADING PHLOX.]



One of the reasons for establishing Olympic National Park was to insure
“protection and preservation of interesting fauna, notably the rare
Roosevelt elk....” There are 54 species and subspecies of wild mammals
occupying their primitive homes on the Olympic Peninsula (Murray L.
Johnson and Sherry Johnson, _Check List of Mammals of the Olympic
Peninsula_). Probably all of these occur within the park. The wildlife
picture is not a static one, however, as natural disturbances, time, and
man bring changes in numbers, kinds, and distribution.

Climatic changes have greatly affected the animal life. There have been
periods of extreme cold and periods of warmth. At least four times the
ice-age glaciers advanced and melted back. When ice sheets moved down
from the north and extensive glaciers formed in the mountains, the
animals left. When the ice retreated, the animals returned. Not all
animal types were able to survive, so that some animals that once lived
in Washington are now extinct. One of these was the mastodon, resembling
the present-day elephant. In 1950, a fossil skeleton of a mastodon was
found in an excavation on a farm near Port Angeles, and tusks and parts
of skeletons have been found from time to time in the bluffs east of
Port Angeles.

Because the Olympic Mountains are isolated from other mountains, some
animals of the Pacific Northwest have never found their way to the park.
For instance, several kinds of animals in the Cascade Mountains are
unknown in the Olympics. These include the mantled ground squirrel, pika
or cony, and red fox. The wolverine, now rare in the Cascades, has never
been seen in the Olympics. But animals move about, and it is entirely
possible that there will be natural additions to the Olympic fauna. Dr.
Victor B. Scheffer has stated that the red fox and the porcupine are
expected to invade the Peninsula sometime in the present century. During
1951, two porcupines were seen on the Peninsula near the ocean—one at
Kalaloch and another south of Queets Village.

Other changes have been brought about directly or indirectly by man. The
Olympic wolf—a big, gray, magnificent animal—was once fairly numerous,
but, because of merciless poisoning and hunting before the park was
established, it is now probably extinct.

The coyote, renowned for his ability to survive civilization, has
invaded the Olympic Peninsula during the present century. To some extent
this animal fills the ecologic niche left vacant by the disappearance of
the Olympic wolf.

Long before the National Park was established, mountain goats were
brought from British Columbia and Alaska and released on Mount Storm
King, near Lake Crescent. The transplanted animals have thrived and
multiplied, and have spread eastward across the park.


The animals of the park are an integral part of the wilderness scene.
The principal purpose for which the park was established was to preserve
and display the natural wilderness. Thus, the animals are wild, living
in their natural habitat. Not only must the animals and their normal
habits be preserved, but their wilderness home as well. Whether the
presence of man will be disturbing to the wilderness and its dwellers
depends upon how humans behave in it. Any act that would tend to break
down wilderness animal behavior is harmful to wildlife and is a
violation of park rules.

Proper behavior of park visitors in the presence of national park
animals may need explanation. The feeding of wild animals by man is
harmful to their best interest. For thousands of years they have been
able to feed themselves, and their continued well-being depends on their
doing so now and in the future. For example, black bears in Olympic have
not yet become troublesome, but bears, by nature, are inclined to become
spoiled if artificial feeding habits are encouraged. Bears normally eat
many kinds of plant and animal foods, but a camper’s larder contains
tidbits that would tickle the palate of any bear. If an animal learns to
associate food delicacies with campers, he will repeatedly seek
experiences of that kind to the everlasting annoyance, misfortune, and
even tragedy of the campers. The thoughtless camper who wilfully, or
negligently, starts the bear on the road to ruin may escape the
consequences. It is the bear himself and people who appear on the scene
later who suffer for the deeds of earlier campers. The bear may become a
dangerous nuisance and may have to be destroyed.

The only intelligent and humane solution is to refrain from all
practices which tend to disturb or change the animal’s normal way of
life. Self-restraint and good camping practice are necessary in order to
accomplish this. Under no circumstances offer food to a bear or leave
food or garbage where he can get at it. Remember that he is powerfully
muscled and can climb trees. Refuse, including cans and bottles, should
be burned not only to destroy all that is edible but to destroy food
odors. Then, when the charred cans and bottles are placed in refuse
containers or buried, the bears will not smell them and dig them out.

While emphasis has been placed on the proper relationship with the bear,
the same attitude toward other animals will help insure their well-being
and your safety. Any attempt to feed a deer or a bear invites injury.
Proper conduct in relation to wild animals is so important that
regulations now prohibit the feeding, touching, teasing, or molesting of
any bear, deer, elk, moose, bison, bighorn, or pronghorn in National
Parks. The first three are found in Olympic.


As long as animals remain completely wild there is little danger from
them. The majority of mammal species are small, rare, secretive, or
nocturnal, so for these or other reasons they may not easily be seen.
They will try to avoid contact with people, and your problem will be to
find them and to get close enough to see them well, without disturbing
them. To do this, it is necessary to study their habits and to meet them
on their own terms.

There is no scarcity of animals in Olympic; but the conditions for
seeing even the larger ones, such as elk, deer, and bear, are not as
favorable as in Yellowstone National Park, for instance. Olympic has
less open country where unobstructed views may be enjoyed, especially in
the lowlands. Even in the high country the rolling or rugged topography
allows animals to move quickly out of sight behind ridges or rock

Do not let these difficulties discourage you. The following suggestions
may help you to see some of the more interesting mammals:

The ROOSEVELT ELK is also popularly known as the Olympic elk, because
the largest remaining herds of this animal are on the Olympic Peninsula.
The number here totals approximately 6,000 animals. These elk, however,
still are found in various other parts of their original range, which
includes the coastal forests from southern British Columbia to northern

The elk is the largest of the American deer family, except the moose.
The bulls sometimes weigh as much as 1,000 pounds and the cows, 700.
Both sexes have a heavy brown mane and a pale, yellowish rump patch. The
bulls carry antlers, which are shed in late winter.


Generally, the elk spend winters in the lowland forests and summers in
the higher mountain meadows. Many of them, however, remain in the
lowlands even in summer, so that it is possible to see elk in some of
the western valleys of the park the year round.

During certain times of the year they are vocal. In May and June when
the calves are born the cows sometimes bugle, and more frequently the
calves give a high-pitched squeal.

Elk are polygamous and during the rutting season a bull will gather a
harem, consisting of a few to a dozen or more cows, which he attempts to
hold against all other bulls. There is much bugling by the bulls
then—thrilling wilderness calls. You will probably recognize the source
of this call the first time you hear it. The bulls become less shy
during the rutting season and will permit closer approach. This should
be done cautiously, however.

Almost any high-country meadow, except in the north to northeast part of
the park, may hold a herd of elk from July through September. Cows,
calves, and yearlings gather and remain in large herds until split up by
the bulls when the mating season begins in the autumn. During summer,
bulls remain apart from the cows, either in small groups or alone. The
rutting period lasts from early September to mid-November, tapering off
in the last month.

When the snow deepens in the mountains the elk that have summered in the
high country come down into the valleys, where they gather in herds that
may number 50 or more animals.

The COLUMBIAN BLACK-TAILED DEER is one of the most frequently observed
larger mammals. Usually, it is seen in the early morning, late
afternoon, evening, and often at night—the preferred feeding times. It
remains bedded down in some secluded spot during much of the day. Anyone
driving in western Washington at night is likely to see a deer suddenly
bound out of the forest onto the highway. Where highways pass through
localities having large deer populations, signs warn motorists of this

In summer, deer prefer the upper Hudsonian zone, where forest and meadow
mingle to provide both nutritious food and nearby secluded shelter.
Hurricane Ridge and Deer Park are favorite summering grounds, and a
visit to either area at deer mealtime is likely to be rewarding.

With encouragement and repeated opportunities to sample human food, a
deer will become “spoiled”—a beggar lacking the sleekness and alertness
of a wild creature. It is then no more than a specimen—like a plucked
flower about to wilt. Also, it is potentially dangerous to the person
who tries to feed it, for it can, and may, strike damaging blows with
its sharp hooves. In the autumn mating season, males, “tame” or wild,
can be dangerous.

BLACK BEARS may be seen from sea level to alpine meadows in summer and
early autumn. The socially disinclined bear travels alone, except for
the mother with cubs. However, several bears may be in the same
neighborhood for the same reason—food. From a ridgetop, the sleek, black
forms may be seen against the green of the lush meadows below, where
they search out ants, small rodents, and succulent herbage of various
kinds. On mountain slopes covered with ripened huckleberries in late
summer, bears become so engrossed with gorging on the delectable fruits
that they may be stalked from downwind. A bear’s keen nose quickly
distinguishes nonwilderness odors. Should a shifting breeze waft a scent
message his way, you will have to find yourself another bear to stalk. A
bear’s hearing is good, but his vision is less acute.


Bears frequent valley bottoms and other lowland areas during late
autumn, winter, and spring and may be seen along streams during salmon
runs. Apparently, bears in the Olympics do hibernate, but the mild
winters make a long dormancy unnecessary. It appears that all Olympic
bears are black—the brown pelage phase has not been reported.

A black bear is not a dangerous animal unless he has learned to seek
food from people or from their camps. Although a mother bear with cubs
is not to be trifled with, a bear without those family responsibilities
is easily frightened by a shout or other sudden loud noise.


OLYMPIC MARMOTS live just above or below timberline usually near
well-watered meadows bordered by alpine fir clumps. Some are found on
windswept ridgetop meadows or on rockslide areas. Marmots come out of
hibernation in May and remain active until early September. They are
most active in the early morning or evening during warm summer days.
They have many burrows, which are easily spotted on alpine meadows.
While they may feed long distances from their home dens, they are seldom
far from burrows down which they can scurry at the first sign of danger.

Although marmots can best be seen and photographed on Hurricane Hill or
Deer Park, they also occur in other high-country locations. The marmot
blends well with his surroundings. You may not be aware of his presence
until you hear his shrill alarm whistle, which at first you may mistake
for a human whistle. It is so frequently heard in marmot territory that
the name “whistler” has been given the animal.




The snowy peaks, the mountain meadows, the forests, the lakes and
streams, and the salt-water shores of the Olympic Peninsula constitute a
variety of habitats for birds. The kinds of birds you can expect to see
depend on where you are.

In summer, there are approximately 140 species on the Olympic Peninsula.
The following list includes birds most easily identified and most likely
to be seen, and those of special interest. Many common birds are not

                     _Birds of the Mountain Peaks_

GRAY-CROWNED ROSY FINCH—a rose-colored, sparrowlike bird, tame and
easily observed. It feeds characteristically on or near open, rocky
slopes and snowbanks.

             _Birds of the Mountain Meadows and Timberline_

HORNED LARK—a brownish ground bird, whitish beneath, a little larger
than a sparrow. Usually in pairs on bare field and open ground; they
utter a plaintive _tee_ when startled into flight. At close range, the
forehead and throat show a pale yellow, bordered and striped with black.
The male has two black, hornlike feather tufts on the head.

SPARROW HAWK—a small, slender hawk with pointed wings and a rusty-red
tail and back. It commonly hovers in the air above fields and meadows
and is numerous on the ridges during grasshopper season.

BLUE GROUSE—a dark, hen-shaped bird commonly seen feeding on the ground
in meadows and woodland.

GRAY JAY—a usually silent, gray bird with a whitish area on top of the
head and a black patch behind the white. It is a little larger than a
robin. This jay appears at your camp or picnic expecting food and
sometimes helping himself to it.

COMMON RAVEN—distinguished from the crow by its greater size and coarse,
guttural croaks. It is seen on the meadows when grasshoppers are

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD—“... a flash of azure blue—a crumb from the blue sky
above!” (E. A. Kitchin in _Birds of the Olympic Peninsula_.)

OREGON JUNCO is the size of a sparrow, with black head, rusty-brown
upperparts and white underparts. The blackish tail has white outer tail

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD—the smallest bird in the park. It can be identified
by the rapid, darting, humming flight.

COOPER’S HAWK—a medium-sized hawk with short, blunt wings and a long
tail. Its flapping, darting, twisting flight, with comparatively little
soaring, is characteristic.

RED-TAILED HAWK—a large, soaring hawk with broad, blunt wings. In adults
the tail is red on top.

                         _Birds of the Forest_

Few birds live in the deep forest, but many prefer its edges near
streams and openings.

OREGON JUNCO—described in _Birds of the Mountain Meadows and

WINTER WREN—a tiny, dark-brown, short-tailed wren of the deep quiet
woods. It sings a trill song from atop a snag or small tree during
nesting season and scolds passers-by with staccato, rasping notes.

RUFFED GROUSE—similar to the blue grouse, but reddish-brown, with broad,
blackish band toward tip of the tail.

PILIATED WOODPECKER—a big, black, crow-sized woodpecker with a white
streak down each side of head and neck. The male has a scarlet tuft on
top of head. This bird is found in the deep forest, particularly where
there are many dead trees and snags.

GRAY JAY—described in _Birds of the Mountain Meadows and Timberline_.

STELLER’S JAY—a harsh-voiced blue bird with black head and conspicuous
black crest.

VARIED THRUSH—somewhat resembles a robin, but has a black bib across the
breast. It is a bird of the deep forests, where it is more often heard
than seen. “... out of the silence comes a long-drawn quavering note
with something of the quality of escaping steam; after a short interval
the note is repeated in a higher pitch, again in a lower.” (Ralph
Hoffman in _Birds of the Pacific States_.)

RED-SHAFTED FLICKER—a stoutly built woodpecker with a black bib across
the breast and a white rump. Orange underwings can be seen when bird is
in flight, which is markedly undulating.

HAIRY WOODPECKER—a medium-sized, black and white woodpecker. It is
distinguished from a downy woodpecker by its slightly larger size and
the lack of black bars on the white outer tail feathers.

DOWNY WOODPECKER—a smaller edition of the hairy woodpecker; the white
outer tail feathers are barred with black.

SWAINSON’S THRUSH—distinguished by its russet back and brown-spotted,
buff breast; it is smaller than a robin but larger than a sparrow. It
sings in the late afternoon and evening; prefers a moist, shady
streamside habitat.

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD—described in _Birds of the Mountain Meadows and
Timberline_; it is abundant in the spruce forests along the coast during
nesting time.

                       _Birds Along the Streams_

DIPPER—a chunky, dark slate-colored bird, with a short, wren-like tail,
seen among boulders along swift-running streams. It bobs up and down as
it stands near the water and then plunges into the streams to feed on
the bottom.

BELTED KINGFISHER—a grayish-blue bird with white underparts and a blue
band across the breast; the female has a reddish sash. This bird is
distinguished by its large head, stout bill, and loud rattling call. It
dives from a tree into the water for fish.

HARLEQUIN DUCK—a rather small, dark-colored duck seen on the rivers in
spring and summer. The male is bluish above, has reddish-brown flanks, a
crescent of white in front of the eye, and various other striking spots
and streaks on head and neck—hence its name. The female, though duller,
also has white spots on the head.

GREAT BLUE HERON—a tall, lanky, slate-blue bird usually seen walking
knee deep in water. In flight, the neck is drawn back in an S-shape.

BALD EAGLE—a large, powerful hawk with slow wing beats. Mature birds,
but not the younger ones, have white head and tail. Seen along streams
when fish are spawning.

                       _Birds of the Ocean Shore_

GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL—common along the shores even in summer.

GREAT BLUE HERON—described in _Birds Along the Streams_.

BALD EAGLE—described in _Birds Along the Streams_; it is common along
roadless stretches of the Pacific Coast area, where it nests in trees
near the shore.

BLACK OYSTERCATCHER—a large, black, sandpiperlike bird with a long red
bill and pink legs and feet, about the size of a half-grown chicken.

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT—a large, slender, black bird with a slender,
hooked bill; it is often seen with body nearly erect on a rock in the

COMMON CROW—occurs in flocks; it caws, while ravens croak.

COMMON RAVEN—described in _Birds of the Mountain Meadows and
Timberline_; it is much larger than a crow and occurs chiefly in pairs,
singly, or in small groups; not in flocks.



The Olympic Peninsula is noted for its many miles of beautiful streams.
This water provides an abundant world for fishes and gives joy to the
fisherman. In these coastal streams the fisherman’s fishes are trout and
their relatives, the salmon.

Trout found in the streams include cutthroat, rainbow, brook, Dolly
Varden, and steelhead. The steelhead spends the greater part of its life
in the ocean, but enters fresh-water streams to reproduce. After
spawning, it returns to salt water. During its life span it may make
several winter spawning trips up the fresh-water streams. The lives of
sea-run cutthroat follow the same pattern, except they spawn in autumn.

In autumn or spring, salmon of several species swim up-stream, driving
hard to reach the tributaries where they were hatched. Their mission is
to spawn. This is their grand and final act, for unlike the steelhead,
they do not return to the sea after spawning, but die. Sport fishing for
salmon is done chiefly in salt water, and the waters around the Olympic
Peninsula have become famous for the excellent salmon sport fishing they

Some mountain lakes contain rainbow and brook trout. Lake Mills, which
is impounded water, contains rainbow, brook, and Dolly Varden trout.


The largest lake in the park, Lake Crescent, formerly contained two
varieties of trout that have not been found to be native anywhere else.
These were the Beardslee and the Crescenti, varieties of the rainbow and
cutthroat, respectively, which frequently reached a weight of between 10
and 15 pounds. These varieties of trout probably no longer exist in the
pure state. Recent studies indicate that present trout stocks,
contaminated by plantings of hatchery fish that were made before the
park was established, are now hybridized from crossbreeding. This is the
usual story that follows upon man’s interference with natural waters—a
story which has been repeated over and over again in the United States.

A license is not required for fishing in the park. There are
regulations, however, pertaining to the season, open water, catch limit,
and method of fishing. A copy of these regulations may be obtained at
the superintendent’s office or at a park ranger station.


In addition to mammals and birds there are other animals which, though
smaller and with less apparent personality, may be equally interesting.
They are part of the native wild fauna of the park and are accorded the
same protection as the larger forms. The few listed below are frequently
seen along trails.

NORTHWESTERN TOAD. This warty animal can be distinguished by the
light-colored line that runs down its back. It is common on forest
trails, but blends so well with the ground that it may not easily be

PACIFIC TREEFROG. This delicate, moist animal can be identified by the
adhesive pads on its toes with which it can cling to smooth surfaces. It
has a black line on each cheek, running through the eye. The eyes have a
bronze iridescence.

PACIFIC COAST NEWT. This attractive species of salamander can be
identified easily by its color—brown on top and orange underneath. They
are commonly seen in the spring when they congregate in ponds and small
lakes to spawn.

There are several other species of salamanders in the park that live
among the rotting logs in the damp woods.

GARTER SNAKE. This is probably the only snake you will see. _There are
no poisonous snakes on the Olympic Peninsula._

COMMON SNAIL. If not disturbed, this shelled creature of the woods can
be seen moving about carrying its “house” on its back. The shell is
about an inch across. The eyes are on the ends of two long stalks,
enabling the snail to see over obstructions.

COMMON SLUG. The grayish-green slug with its shiny mucous track is
abundant on many forest trails. Some of these slugs are blotched with

                           Pacific Coast Area

There is a detached section of the park known as the Pacific Coast Area.
It is a narrow strip of land that borders the ocean for 50 miles—a
scenic coastline of unusual interest. The Olympic Highway (US. 101 and
Wash. 9) runs through the southern 12 miles of it, but the rest is
roadless except for the road to the village of La Push.

The shore is broken by many rocky points separating sandy beaches.
Numerous needle rocks and small islands, having survived the abrasion of
the encroaching sea, rise offshore.

In places where ocean waves have worn back the land there are rocky
platforms that are under shallow water when the tide is in and uncovered
when the tide is out. Myriads of animals may be seen among slippery sea
plants, under rocks, and in pools left behind when the water recedes.
This is a between-the-tides museum, with mussels and barnacles in dense
communities holding to rocks near shore, purple shore crabs scurrying
for shelter under rocks, ochre and purple starfish (blondes and
brunettes of the same species), and numerous limpets clinging tightly to
rocks farther from shore. Colorful hydroids, brilliant nudibranchs,
chitons, sea urchins, and anemones in pools also thrive where the shore
is rocky and protected from strong waves.

Other creatures prefer the sandy beaches. On a weekend in clam season,
when the tide is low, the miles-long Kalaloch Beach becomes pock-marked
with holes and bumpy with piles from clam diggers’ “guns.” A clam “gun”
is a spade with a long, narrow blade set nearly at right angle with the
handle. Each year, seasons and limits for razor clams are prescribed by
the Washington State Department of Fisheries. The season, which runs
from spring to autumn, generally coincides with the most favorable tides
and surf for clam digging.

Quileute and Quinault Indians dip silver smelt out of the surf with
nets. These small fish ride in on the surf to spawn in the sand,
especially during the highest spring tides. Anyone may engage in this
fishing sport, with a hand dip net, under certain restrictions. Current
regulations pertaining to razor clam digging and smelt dipping can
usually be obtained in the immediate area.

Three Indian reservations lie within the ocean strip and a fourth
adjoins it on the south. One of these, the Ozette at the northern end,
is no longer inhabited, but there are still signs of the village site.
An unimposing bit of rock juts into the water here. This is Cape Alava,
which is distinguished by being the western extremity of our country,
exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii.

Numerous birds nest on the offshore islands. Many others make rest stops
during migration, as the strip lies within a major migration flyway.
Birds, including gulls, crows, oystercatchers, and cormorants, are
always present along the shore. Usually several bald eagles may be seen
during a hike along the beach. They build their nests mostly in the tops
of tall snags.

Mammals, too, appear on the beach. Raccoons and skunks take advantage of
low tides to feed on the various and abundant life available then. Deer
frequently come to the beaches, perhaps to escape a cougar, to sun
themselves, or to obtain salt or certain beach plants. Not infrequently
a black bear is seen, and, occasionally, an elk.

Camping on the beach is pleasant during dry weather. There is ample
firewood everywhere and small streams flow out of the forest, providing
fresh water. Some of the streams may be contaminated, however, and the
water should be either boiled or treated chemically if its purity is

There are several trails leading to the beach. Starting at the north,
the most important of these are the following:

INDIAN VILLAGE TRAIL, starting at Lake Ozette and extending 3 miles to
the Ozette village site at the beach, leads through delightful forest
and prairie. Much of the trail is a boardwalk made of split cedar

SAND POINT TRAIL also starts at Lake Ozette and is 3 miles long. The
distance between the Indian Village Trail and this trail is also 3 miles
along the beach. Thus, a triangular 9-mile round trip is possible.

SECOND BEACH TRAIL is about one-half of a mile long.

THIRD BEACH TRAIL is about three-quarters of a mile long. These two
latter trails start from the road near the village of La Push and lead
to attractive, clean, sandy beaches.


    BY TRAIL.]

                             Man in Olympic


In aboriginal times, the Olympic Peninsula was a part of the Northwest
Coast cultural area, which stretched along the Pacific shoreline from
northern California to Alaska. The inhabitants of this extensive region
shared many cultural traits, perhaps the most distinctive of which were
a keen sense of personal property and a veneration of wealth. These
people did little to change their natural environment, but they showed
great skill in utilizing what resources their primitive technology made
available. Their dug-out canoes, for instance, fashioned from tree
trunks, were probably the finest which have ever been made by any
aboriginal people.

This remarkable culture was possible largely because the environment
provided an abundance of the necessities of life. Food was easily
obtained, and 3 or 4 months of gathering provided enough for the balance
of the year. Fish were the staple food. Salmon swarmed up the streams of
the Olympic Peninsula each summer and were trapped or speared in great
quantity. Smelt were dipped from the surf, and clams and other shelled
creatures were taken from the seashore. The diet was augmented by
berries and roots from the woodlands. Elk, deer, and birds provided
meat. Some of the Olympic Indians hunted seals, porpoises, and whales.
The capture of the whales required daring journeys on the open sea in
dug-out canoes 30 to 40 feet long and accommodating 6 to 8 men.

The great forests of the Peninsula were vitally important to the Indian
economy. Cedars provided hulls for canoes or were split into planks for
houses. From cedar bark were made baskets, mats, sails, cordage,
clothing, and other household necessities.

Most of the year these Indians lived in villages located above the
beaches along the ocean or arms of the sea, generally at the mouths of
rivers. Their permanent houses were stoutly built of planks. Some of
these rectangular structures, designed to accommodate several families,
were more than 60 feet long and 30 to 40 feet wide. Many of them were
beautifully decorated with painted designs. During summer it was a
common practice of these people to migrate, either inland to gather
berries and hunt, or along the watercourses to fish.

By primitive standards, the Indians of the Northwest Coast were wealthy;
that is, they had plenty of things to eat, wear, and use for shelter.
They also had much winter leisure. This combination of wealth and
leisure gave rise to a remarkable political and social system in which
power and prestige generally belonged to the richest individuals.

An important feature of the social structure was the giving away of
possessions during a feast, called a potlatch. Years, even a lifetime,
of saving and privation were frequently endured in order to accumulate
sufficient wealth for this purpose. Guests were invited from many
tribes. The host gave such valuable gifts as canoes, slaves, food,
fishing equipment, and, in more recent years, commercial blankets. As a
rule, gifts were given only to guests who could afford to give a return
potlatch. Gift-giving was a good investment for the host because the
recipient was obligated to give a larger gift in return. This act of
giving away one’s possessions elevated the giver and his family in the
social scale. Wealth was measured not so much in terms of what was owned
as by what was given away.

In recent years the Bureau of Indian Affairs has exerted pressure to
discourage the potlatch system, and it has declined greatly; but
potlatches are still held in modified form.

Today, the scene at Indian villages along the Olympic Peninsula is quite
unlike that of a century ago. The cedarplank communal houses are no
longer built; and, as the climate is not conducive to preservation, the
old ones have disappeared. White man’s clothes have replaced garments of
skin and shredded bark. Customs, too, have been modified under the
impact of modern civilization. Still, much of the old Indian tradition
survives, though it may not be discernible on the surface.

The main source of livelihood still is fishing. The Indians prefer to
use dug-out canoes, but now these are usually propelled by outboard
motors. Nearly every family owns a canoe, although only a few expert
canoe makers build them. They are similar to the oldtime canoes in
design, but the tools used to carve them are steel rather than the
stone, shell, or bone used for blades in primitive tools.

Thrilling dug-out canoe trips on the Quinault River are available in
summer for a moderate fee. The Quinault Indians at Amanda Park, where
the river flows out of Lake Quinault, offer such trips over the entire
distance of 35 miles to the ocean.


The first white men to explore the Olympic Peninsula came by sea.
Spanish navigators venturing northward from Mexico may have coasted the
shoreline as early as the 16th century. Juan de Fuca, said to have been
a Greek pilot in the service of Spain, claimed to have entered the
strait, which bears his name, in 1592, but satisfactory proof of this
discovery is lacking.

Extensive exploration of the Northwest Coast did not begin, however,
until the latter part of the 18th century, when rumors that the Russians
were venturing southward from Alaska stirred the Spaniards to fresh
efforts. In 1774, during the first of these renewed voyages, Juan Perez
saw the present Mount Olympus and named it “Santa Rosalia.” He was the
first European to name a geographic feature in what is now the State of

During the next 25 years the Northwest Coast, including that of the
Olympic Peninsula, was widely explored and mapped by Spaniards,
Englishmen, and Americans. The Spaniards were the first actually to set
foot on the Peninsula. During a voyage made by Bruno Heceta and Juan de
la Bodega y Quadra in 1775, Heceta landed at Point Grenville, near the
mouth of the Quinault River.

Capt. James Cook was the first of several English navigators to explore
the Northwest Coast. In 1778, during his search for the Northwest
Passage, he named Cape Flattery, in the northwest corner of the Olympic
Peninsula. While on the coast, some of Cook’s crewmen obtained furs from
the natives and later sold them in China for high prices. This event
turned the eyes of English and American businessmen toward the Pacific
Northwest, and thereafter exploration of this region was stimulated by
the fur trade.

In 1788, Capt. John Meares, an English trader, saw the mountain which
Perez had named 14 years earlier. Not knowing of the earlier discovery,
he christened the peak “Mount Olympus.”


Juan Francisco de Eliza, a Spanish captain, entered Juan de Fuca Strait
in 1791 and named the harbor, where present Port Angeles is situated,
“Puerto de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles,” which means “Port of Our Lady
of the Angels.” In the following year the Spaniards established a fort
and settlement at Neah Bay. The members of this colony, which existed
for only 5 months, were the first white settlers to touch the soil of
the Olympic Peninsula and, indeed, of the State of Washington.

In 1792, Capt. Robert Grey, an American trader, discovered the harbor at
the southern margin of the Olympic Peninsula which was later named in
his honor. Of all the explorers who came by sea, George Vancouver, the
English navigator, left the greatest mark in northwest Washington. He
explored Puget Sound waters in 1792 and named numerous geographic
features, including Port Townsend and Discovery Bay, on the Olympic


At the same time that maritime traders and explorers were making known
the features of the coast, other adventuresome men were opening overland
trails into the Northwest. By 1810, fur traders following in the wake of
Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, and Lewis and Clark were well
established in the present British Columbia and in the Columbia River
drainage basin. After 1821, the British-controlled Hudson’s Bay Company
dominated the fur trade of the Pacific Northwest and for a number of
years virtually excluded rivals from the area.

During the 1830’s and 1840’s, however, American traders, missionaries,
and settlers in ever-increasing numbers pushed into the Northwest.
British influence declined as the American population grew, until, in
1846, Great Britain bowed to the inevitable and gave up her hopes of
owning the region as far south as the Columbia River. In that year the
49th parallel was established as the boundary between American and
British territory west of the Rockies.

Up to this time few American settlers had established homes on the north
side of the Columbia River. Following the adjustment of the boundary
dispute, pioneers rapidly pushed into the Puget Sound basin. A few of
these newcomers established themselves at Port Townsend in 1851.

Although Port Townsend was the first permanent settlement on the
Peninsula, two trappers named John Sutherland and John Everett had
crossed the strait from Victoria in 1849 and had operated traplines on
the two large lakes west of Port Angeles. One lake still bears the name
of Sutherland. The other, first named Lake Everett, is now known as Lake
Crescent. The first permanent settlers in the Port Angeles area did not
take up claims until 1857.

Settlement of the Olympic Peninsula proceeded slowly, and the mountains
remained virtually unknown for several decades despite the fact that the
first ascent of Mount Olympus reportedly was made as early as 1854. The
first real attempt to explore the Olympic Mountains was made in 1885 by
an expedition under the leadership of Lt. Joseph P. O’Neil of the 14th
Infantry. Starting at Port Angeles, the explorers cut a trail past Mount
Angeles to Hurricane Ridge. They returned by the same route after
investigating the country to the southeast, perhaps as far as the head
of the Lillian River.

The next major expedition into the Olympic Mountains was promoted by
Edmond Meany, the 27-year-old city editor of the Seattle _Press_. At his
instigation, the paper, on October 23, 1889, carried an article calling
attention to this unknown land and the need for exploration. “There is a
fine opportunity,” said the article, “to acquire fame by unveiling the
mystery which wraps the land encircled by the snow-capped Olympic

Meany persuaded the _Press_ to finance an expedition, and a party was
organized, with James H. Christie, former hunter, Indian fighter, and
arctic explorer, as its leader. The company started up the Elwha River
in December 1889. It was believed that the mountains visible from the
coast were but an outer rim within which there was a central valley, and
by making a winter start the expedition hoped to be over the first range
and ready for work in the valley when spring should come. This ignorance
concerning the true character of the mountains might have brought a
tragic ending to the expedition had the explorers not been experienced
and resourceful in wilderness travel.

Six months later the party emerged from the mountains at Lake Quinault,
having endured severe hardships and privations without any serious
mishap. They had blazed a crude trail across the heart of the unknown
Olympics. They brought back photographs and a rough topographic map of
the country. They reported on its plants, animals, and minerals, and
they named 50 peaks, rivers, lakes, and other landmarks. Many of these
names remain today. Press Valley, on the Elwha, was named for the
newspaper which financed the expedition, and the Bailey Range was named
for William H. Bailey, the paper’s proprietor. Mount Meany perpetuates
the name of the young city editor, and Mounts Christie and Barnes honor,
respectively, the leader and narrator of the expedition.

The _Press_ explorers had been out of the wilderness but a few weeks
when another expedition was organized. The Oregon Alpine Club furnished
a scientific staff and much of the money; the Army supplied Lieutenant
O’Neil to lead the party and soldiers to assist. During the summer of
1890 this expedition crossed the Olympic Mountains from Hood Canal to
Lake Quinault by way of the Skokomish and Quinault Rivers. They, too,
left names on many geographic features. O’Neil Pass and O’Neil Creek
were named for the leader, Mount Henderson for the botanist of the
party, and Mount Bretherton for the naturalist-cartographer. In his
report O’Neil stated, “while the country on the outer slope of these
mountains is valuable, the interior is useless for all practicable
purposes. It would, however, serve admirably for a national park.”

These expeditions stimulated settlement on the fringes of the Olympic
Peninsula and in the river valleys. They also led to further exploration
of the interior and to a realization of the vast recreational resources
of this mountain fastness.


Olympic Forest Reserve was established in 1897 by Executive order, and
was surveyed during the next 3 years, by Messrs. Arthur Dodwell and
Theodore Rixon. They produced the first accurate map and gave a detailed
account of the forests.

Efforts to preserve the Olympic wilderness started in 1904 when
Representative Francis W. Cushman introduced a bill for the
establishment of Elk National Park. The bill did not pass. In 1906 and
1908, Representative William E. Humphrey introduced bills to create a
game refuge on the Olympic Peninsula. These bills also failed. Two days
before the end of the Theodore Roosevelt administration he asked the
President to set aside a National Monument in the Olympic Mountains
under authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906. By Presidential
proclamation, Mount Olympus National Monument was established in 1909.

The monument was within the boundaries of Olympic National Forest. From
1909 to 1933, it was administered by the Forest Service, U.S. Department
of Agriculture. By Executive order, the monument was transferred to the
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, on June 10,

Efforts to establish a national park in the Olympics were renewed in
1935. Representative Monrad C. Wallgren repeatedly introduced bills to
have this done, but without success at first. President Roosevelt
visited the Olympic Peninsula in 1937 and expressed approval of a large
Olympic National Park. The act of June 29, 1938, established Olympic
National Park and abolished Mount Olympus National Monument. The park
now has an area of 1,400 square miles.

                           Suggested Readings


  Underhill, Ruth. _Indians of the Pacific Northwest._ 232 pp. Haskell
    Institute. Lawrence, Kansas, 1944. Complete description of the
    culture of the Northwest Indians.


  Hult, Ruby El. _The Untamed Olympics._ 267 pp. Binfords & Mort.
    Portland, Oregon, 1954. History of the Olympic Peninsula from
    discovery to present.


  Danner, Wilber R. _Geology of Olympic National Park._ 68 pp. Univ. of
    Washington Press. Seattle, 1955. Well illustrated booklet explaining
    the complex geological history of the park in terms the untrained
    geologist can understand.

  Sharp, Robert P. _Glaciers._ 78 pp. Univ. of Oregon Press. 1960.
    Excellent description of the complex structure and behavior of
    glaciers. Provides information from current studies of Blue Glacier
    on Mount Olympus.


  Brockman, Frank C. _Trees of Mount Rainier National Park._ 49 pp.
    Univ. of Washington Press. Seattle, 1949. (Popular.) Excellent guide
    to identification of trees which also occur in Olympic National
    Park. Written by former chief park naturalist.

  Lyons, Chester P. _Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in Washington._
    211 pp. J. M. Dent. Vancouver, Canada, 1956. (Popular.) Well
    illustrated aid to identification of most of the plants in the park.

  Sharpe, Grant and Wenonah Sharpe. _101 Wildflowers of Olympic National
    park._ 40 pp. Univ. of Washington Press. Seattle, 1954. (Popular.)
    Excellent inexpensive guide to the most conspicuous flowers the
    visitor will see. Written by a former ranger-naturalist.


  Cahalane, Victor H. _Meeting the Mammals._ 133 pp. MacMillan, New
    York, 1943. (Popular.) A guide to the mammals of all our National

  Graf, William. _The Roosevelt Elk._ 105 pp. Port Angeles Evening News.
    Port Angeles, Wash., 1955. A study of the habits of the Roosevelt
    elk in the coast range of Oregon and California.

  Hubbard, Fran. _Animal Friends of the Northwest._ 32 pp. Awani Press.
    Fresno, Calif., 1957. Illustrated. Excellent for children.

  Newman, Coleman. _The Roosevelt Elk of Olympic National Park._ 23 pp.
    The Olympic Natural History Assoc. Port Angeles, Washington, 1958.
    Story of the most impressive wildlife species in the park. Written
    by a former park biologist.


  Kitchin, Edward A. _Birds of the Olympic Peninsula._ 262 pp. Olympic
    Stationers. Port Angeles, Wash., 1949. A description of 261 species
    of birds by a naturalist who spent 50 years observing the birds of

  Peterson, Roger T. _A Field Guide to Western Birds._ 366 pp. Houghton
    Mifflin Co. Boston, 1961. An essential manual for birds of the
    entire West. Illustrated.

  Wilhelm, Eugene J., Jr. _Common Birds of Olympic National Park._ 54
    pp. The Olympic Natural History Assoc. Port Angeles, Wash., 1961. A
    guide to 116 species by areas in the park. Written by a former


  Guberlet, Muriel L. _Animals of the Seashore._ 412 pp. Metropolitan
    Press. Portland, Oregon, 1936. Illustrations and descriptions of 198
    species. A handy reference on the seashore.

  Kirk, Ruth. _The Olympic Seashore._ 79 pp. The Olympic Natural History
    Assoc. Port Angeles, Wash., 1962. Guide to the human and natural
    history of the seashore of Olympic National Park, with maps and

  Ricketts, Edward F. and Calvin, Jack. _Between Pacific Tides._ 502 pp.
    Stanford Univ. Press. Palo Alto, Calif., 1952. An account of the
    habits and habitats of some 500 conspicuous seashore invertebrates.

Guide Book

  Kirk, Ruth. _Exploring the Olympic Peninsula._ 128 pp. Univ. of
    Washington Press, Seattle, 1964. Guide to the human and natural
    history of the Olympic Peninsula, including Olympic National Park.
    With maps and illustrations.

  Leissler, Frederick. _Roads and Trails of Olympic National Park._ 84
    pp. Univ. of Washington Press. Seattle, 1957. Guide with maps; very
    helpful for hikers. Written by former park ranger.

Parks in General

  Butcher, Devereux. _Exploring Our National Parks and Monuments._ 288
    pp. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, 1955.

  Tilden, Freeman. _The National Parks—What They Mean to You and Me._
    417 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1951. A guide to the parks,
    monuments, and historic sites of the United States.

                        U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1965 OF—778-401

    [Illustration: Snow-covered peaks]

    [Illustration: Rain forest understory]

    [Illustration: OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
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