by Jeff Goulden
Olympic National Park, located in the north-west corner of Washington State, is undoubtedly the most diverse national park in the United States. Because of this diversity and its incredible beauty, the United Nations designated Olympic National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
The central core of the park has high glaciated mountains and expansive alpine meadows. Surrounding this central region are extensive old growth and temperate rain forests. There are eleven major river systems that drain the Olympic mountains. These riparian zones provide quality habitat for the region's anadromous fish species. As if this weren't enough, the park also protects over 70 miles of wilderness coastline, making it the longest undeveloped coast in the lower 48 states.
Over 90% of Olympic National Park is designated as wilderness. You can access the outer edges of the park by road but the heart of the Olympics along with the coastline is primitive wilderness. It is here that the visitor is required to travel on foot, living with Mother Nature on her terms.
Influenced by mountains, glaciers, rivers and sea, Olympic National Park has diverse climate conditions. About twelve feet of rain falls each year on the west side rain forests. The eastern side of the park lies in a rain shadow, barely receiving 25 inches of annual rainfall.
From tiny flowers in alpine meadows to the sea stars in coastal tide pools, many species populate Olympic National Park. Geology, climate, isolation, history and sheer size come together to protect the ecosystems of this nearly one million-acre park. Olympic National Park is indeed a living laboratory and a home for flora and fauna of all sizes.
If you are interested in helping to protect and preserve the park, please consider joining Olympic Park Associates, a non-profit organization formed to promote the values and resources of this national treasure.
More pictures of Olympic National Park can be seen in my Olympic National Park Featured Gallery. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
Jeff's Photo Blog
In this Photo Blog I have combined my 50 year passion for photography and my love of the natural world, creating a portfolio that reveals nature in its pure and simple beauty. I am pleased to share my passion with you through this blog.