Olympic National Park

State of Washington
N47 44 54 W123 26 56
Date of Inscription: 1981
Criteria: (vii)(ix)
Property : 369,659.8 ha
Ref: 151
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Located in the north-west of Washington State, Olympic National Park is renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. Glacier-clad peaks interspersed with extensive alpine meadows are surrounded by an extensive old growth forest, among which is the best example of intact and protected temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. Eleven major river systems drain the Olympic mountains, offering some of the best habitat for anadromous fish species in the country. The park also includes 100 km of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States, and is rich in native and endemic animal and plant species, including critical populations of the endangered northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.

Olympic National Park features a spectacular coastline, scenic lakes, majestic mountains and glaciers, and a magnificent virgin temperate rainforest. Olympic National Park has a wealth of geological formations – including rocky islets along the coast formed by a continuously receding and changing coastline, deep canyons and valleys formed by erosion and craggy peaks and beautiful cirques sculpted by glaciation.  Olympic National Park is also the lowest latitude in the world in which glaciers form below an elevation of 2000 meters and occur below an elevation of 1000 meters. The park’s relative isolation, high rainfall, strong west-to-east precipitation gradient, ten major watersheds and rugged topography have combined to produce varied and complex life zones – from coastline to temperate forest to alpine meadows to glaciated peaks. As a result, the park is rich in biological diversity and has a high rate of endemism.   

Criterion (vii): Olympic National Park is of remarkable beauty, and is the largest protected area in the temperate region of the world that includes in one complex ecosystems from ocean edge through temperate rainforest, alpine meadows and glaciated mountain peaks.  It contains one of the world’s largest stands of virgin temperate rainforest, and includes many of the largest coniferous tree species on earth.

Criterion (ix): The park’s varied topography from seashore to glacier, affected by high rainfall, has produced complex and varied vegetation zones, providing habitats of unmatched diversity on the Pacific coast. The coastal Olympic rainforest reaches its maximum development within the property and has a living standing biomass which may be the highest anywhere in the world. The park’s isolation has allowed the development of endemic wildlife, subspecies of trout, varieties of plants and unique fur coloration in mammals, indications of a separate course of evolution.


Suggested Bases:

Bremerton is located on the Kitsap Peninsula in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Bremerton is a safe, environmentally clean community within an hour’s ferry ride from downtown Seattle where you can visit the Navy destroyer Turner Joy, stroll along a delightful block-long waterfront promenade and check out the new Kitsap Conference Center Plaza with its fascinating fountains, and enjoy a bounty of seasonal community events and concerts. Downtown Bremerton is experiencing a renaissance, starting with the new Transportation Center, Kitsap Conference Center and a new hotel on the city’s waterfront. A new government center, which provides combined governmental services in a single building, anchors the town’s revitalized core. Already contributing to the downtown revitalization are art galleries, the Admiral Theatre, museums and many quaint shops and restaurants. Downtown has three museums, in one block, within walking distance of the ferries. Native American Salish people lived comfortably in the Puget Sound area navigating the local waterways in well made cedar canoes for thousands of years before 1792 when Captain George Vancouver ‘discovered’ the area, named it after one of his officers and declared the area for Great Briton [read more].

Seattle, Washington sits at one of the most beautiful spots in the United States. Occupying a narrow isthmus between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it is the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, with 750,000 people in Seattle and close to four million people in the metro area. Seen from above, carpets of evergreen trees, pristine blue waters, and snowy white mountains surround the downtown’s metallic skyscrapers, earning the city its nickname The Emerald City. On the ground, you will find a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Next to the progressive downtown and the freewheeling feel of Capitol Hill, you can find a laid-back atmosphere in the districts to the north and ethnically diverse neighborhoods to the south. The many restaurants, coffee shops and microbreweries are worth indulging in after a day spent strolling through the city’s many parks and beaches or admiring the arts and architecture. And just outside the hectic city are snow-covered mountains, evergreen forests, and stunning coastline to explore [read more]

Tacoma in the state of Washington, is the state’s second-largest city, with just under 220,000 residents. It has a dynamic art scene and a great ballet. Tacoma often gets a negative description reminiscent of the one given to Oakland, California. These negative vibes are equally unrealistic and often come from those who have never lived in or even visited the city. While it has neither the tourist amenities of its neighbor Seattle to the north nor the suburban safety of Olympia to the south, you can certainly spend a few pleasant days in Tacoma. See Point Defiance Park. Point Defiance is a 700-acre city park featuring old growth forests, gardens, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Owen Beach, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, as well as a playground, picnic areas and countless hiking trails. It is the north end of Tacoma and is accessible from I-5 by following I-705 past downtown to Schuster Pkwy which goes along the Ruston Way waterfront to N 51st & Pearl [read more]



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