Olympic National Forest

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Olympic National Forest
location Washington , USA
surface 2,564 km²
Geographical location 47 ° 49 '  N , 123 ° 4'  W Coordinates: 47 ° 48 '36 "  N , 123 ° 4' 0"  W
Location of the Olympic National Forest
Setup date 1897 as the Olympic Forest Reserve
administration US Forest Service
Panoramic view from the Marmot Pass to the Buckhorn Wilderness . far right Buckhorn and Iron Mountain

The Olympic National Forest is a National Forest ( National Forest ) in the State of Washington . With an area of ​​2,564 km², parts of it surround the Olympic National Park and Mount Olympus . The Olympic National Forest is located in Clallam , Grays Harbor , Jefferson and Mason Counties . The landscape of the National Forest varies from the temperate Olympic rainforest to the saltwater fjord of Hood Canal and the peaks of Mount Washington . Annual rainfall averages over 5.6m, creating streams like the Humptulips River .

The Olympic National Forest was originally established as the Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897 and then renamed the Olympic National Forest in 1907. A study by the American Forest Service found in 1993 that the forest originally expanded to around 108,000 hectares. The forest is administered from two ranger districts: the Pacific Ranger District on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula and the Hood Canal Ranger District on the eastern side.

The head office of the forest is in Olympia and the offices of the ranger districts are in Forks , Quinault and Quilcene . The former Hoodsport office closed in 2005 and is now home to the local Chamber of Commerce . Other places on the edge of the forest are Port Angeles , Sequim, and Amanda Park .


Wilderness areas

In 1984, the Washington Wilderness Act created five wilderness areas in the Olympic National Forest . Together they cover 357 km² and thus about 15% of the area of ​​the National Forest. All five protected areas are managed by the US Forest Service and are accessible free of charge, but as in all wilderness areas, there are no roads or other infrastructure in these either, only hiking trails. People are allowed to enter the area for natural use and only on foot or on horseback. Vehicles of any kind (including mountain bikes ) are not permitted.

The Brothers from the Hood Canal

The Brothers Wilderness

The The Brothers Wilderness is located north of Lena Lake of the Olympic National Forest in the eastern part. The Wilderness Area borders in the north on the Buckhorn Wilderness and in the south on the Mount Skokomish Wilderness, in the west on the Olympic Wilderness in the Olympic National Park. The Dosewallips River in the north and the Hamma Hamma River in the south are still outside the Wilderness Aera. Except for a section of the East Fork of Lena Creek, the 6750 hectare area consists of densely forested wilderness in steep, hilly terrain. The lowest point is at 213 m near the Dosewallips River, the highest point is a summit of the 2092 m high double summit of The Brothers . The Duckabush River flows through the wilderness through a wide, forested valley formed by glaciers. From the valley the terrain rises steeply, in the north to Jupiter Lake and to the 1737 m high Mount Jupiter , in the south to the peaks of The Brothers.
The sanctuary lies in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, so that at 2032 millimeters, there is relatively little rainfall every year. The climate is temperate with temperatures in summer up to 26 ° C and only rarely frost in the valleys in winter. The lower areas are densely forested with West American hemlocks , Douglas firs and giant arborvitae , in higher areas with purple firs and mountain hemlocks , which merge into subalpine mountain meadows and alpine rock zones.
There are only a few paths for day and multi-day tours through the area. The Brothers Trail leads over the Lena Lake Trail to The Brothers, who are a popular climbing area.

Buckhorn Wilderness

The Buckhorn Wilderness is located in the northeast section of the Olympic National Forest. In the west it borders on the Olympic Wilderness in Olympic National Park and in the south on The Brothers Wilderness. The 179 km² wilderness is divided into a smaller northern part and a larger southern part by the Dungeness River and an 87 hectare mining area. It is named after the 2130 m high Mount Buckhorn in the southern part of the reserve. The highest mountain is the 2174 m high Mount Fricaba , other mountains are the 2118 m high Iron Mountain and the 1935 m high Tyler Peak . In the lower zones the reserve is forested with a primeval forest of Douglas firs, West American hemlocks and giant arborvitae as well as dense undergrowth of ferns and berry bushes, in higher areas western Weymouth pines and rocky mountain firs grow up to the forest in subalpine mountain meadows and finally in steep, rocky terrain passes over.
The Gray Wolf River flows through the northern part . South of the river, the terrain changes into a very steep and impassable range of hills. The southern part is even steeper and more impassable than the northern part. The Dungeness and Quilcene Rivers flow through glacier-
shaped valleys .
Around 95 kilometers of paths for day and multi-day tours lead through the area.

Colonel Bob Wilderness

The Colonel Bob Wilderness is east of Lake Quinault in the southwest corner of the Olympic National Forest. In the north it borders on the Olympic Wilderness in the Olympic National Park. Two mountain ranges run through the 4840 hectare Wilderness Aera, most of the area is above an altitude of 500 m. The lowest point is at 90 m height in the Quinault Valley and then rises steeply within 1.5 kilometers to over 1200 m. The highest point is at 1374 m on the eastern border of the area. It is named after the 1369 m high Colonel Bob in the middle of the area . Several small streams flow north to the Quinault River or south to the Humptulips River. The Colonel Bob Wilderness receives annual rainfall of up to 3800 millimeters and is largely forested with a dense temperate rainforest of West American hemlocks and purple firs, interspersed with giant arborvitae, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce . The dense undergrowth consists of ferns, shrubs and wildflowers. In the higher zones the vegetation changes into sub-alpine meadows and alpine, rocky terrain.
Over 19 kilometers of partly steep and difficult hiking trails lead through the area, including the Colonel Bob Trail. From the summit of Colonel Bob there is a panoramic view of Lake Quinault.

Snowshoeing in the Mount Skokomish Wilderness, with Mount Pershing in the background

Mount Skokomish Wilderness

The Mount Skokomish Wilderness is located north of Lake Cushman in Mason County in the southeastern part of the Olympic National Forest. The Wilderness Area borders the Olympic Wilderness of the Olympic National Park in the north.
Two ridges run through the 5267 hectare area from northeast to southwest. The area consists of very steep, mountainous terrain, the lowest, 250 m high point is on Lake Cushman, the highest point is the summit of 2015 m high Mount Stone. The eponymous, 1961 m high Mount Skokomish, which lies on the north-western border of the reserve to the Olympic National Park. Other peaks are the 1828 m high Mount Henderson, the 1814 m high Mount Ellinor , the 1875 m high Mount Pershing and the 1907 m high Mount Washington. The lower zones are forested with primeval forests of Douglas fir, West American hemlocks and giant arborvitae. In the higher part of the Wilderness, the forest consists of rock mountain firs and western Weymouth pines, which eventually give way to barren alpine vegetation and bare rocks. The Hamma Hamma River, whose origin lies in the Mildred Lakes, flows through the valley between the mountain ranges.
Only four steep paths with a total length of 20 kilometers run through the area. The peaks in the reserve are popular climbing destinations.

Wonder Mountain Wilderness

The Wonder Mountain Wilderness is located in Mason County west of Lake Cushman in the southeastern corner of the Olympic National Forest and bordered to the north by the Olympic National Park. The smallest wilderness area of ​​the Olympic National Forest with 950 hectares has the shape of a triangle. The southern tip of the triangle is formed by the abruptly rising 1477 m high rocky summit of Wonder Mountain, at the deepest point the park is 530 m high. In the park area around 1500 millimeters of precipitation falls annually, a large part of it as snow. Temperatures rarely exceed 26 ° C. The mountain slopes are densely forested with West American hemlocks, Douglas firs and purple firs and an undergrowth of berry bushes. The headwaters of McKay Creek and other streams lie in the wilderness. The streams are covered with a dense jungle of alder, willow and grape-leaf maple .
There are no developed roads through the area. There are only two forest roads in the southeast and southwest of the area; entering the wilderness is only possible across country.

Web links

Commons : Olympic National Forest  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files