• Olympic: Three Parks in One


    National Park Washington

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  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

    The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.

  • Spruce Railroad Trail Improvements to Begin August 5

    Spruce Railroad Trail will be closed from the Lyre River TH to approximately 0.25 miles east of Devil’s Punchbowl. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October. The remainder of the trail will be accessible from the Camp David Jr. Road TH. More »

  • Safety Advisory: Mountain Goats

    NPS has received reports of aggressive mountain goats near trails at Hurricane Ridge, Royal Basin, Seven Lakes Basin, Lake of the Angeles, & Grand Pass. Visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 50 yards from all wildlife. More »

  • Safety Advisory: Rabies

    Rabies has been detected in a single bat in the Lake Crescent area of the park. Rabies exposure is extremely rare, but fatal if untreated. Anyone observing unusual or aggressive behavior among park wildlife should inform a park ranger as soon as possible. More »

Freeing the Elwha: Social Studies Unit 2

Homesteader Era

Lesson 1 - To Go or Not to Go

Guiding Question: What hardships and rewards were involved in maintaining a sustainable homestead?

Overview: To introduce the Homestead Era of United States history, students will read a summary of the Homestead Act of 1862.

Through classroom discussion the conditions required to "prove up" a homestead will be listed. Students will be given a scenario and an 1870 catalogue to complete a graphic organizer to decide if they would make the move west. They will write a short essay of their decision.

Time Needed: One 45-50 minute class period


Lesson 2 - Neighbors Along the Elwha River

Guiding Question: Who were the people that homesteaded along the Elwha? How and what can we find out about their lives?

Lesson Overview: After reading an article explaining the use of Township and Range to identify land parcels, students will look at two specific townships along the lower Elwha River. The teacher will assign each student a name to research on the BLM website and find information about homesteads. The student place the homesteader's name on n individual Clallam County map, the teacher and students will fill in a large class map to show all the homesteaders in each section of Township 30N and 31N, Range 7W. Students will write a journal entry on the additional name they selected to research on the website. The paragraph will include who they selected, why they selected that name and what information they found. If they were successful in finding another homesteader the journal entry should include where the homestead was located.

Time Needed: One - two 45-50 minute class periods. Part of the assignment could be done as homework.


Lesson 3 - Life on the Homestead

Guiding Question: What was the life of a homesteader like and what tools from today would make their lives simpler?

Lesson Overview: After reading articles, as a class, students will brainstorm how living in 1890 was different than living today in the 21st century. Students will examine photographs of homesteads on the Olympic peninsula and complete a graphic organizer. Students will write a short essay to describe a homestead then choose something from today that would be useful to an 1890 homesteader and explain why.

Time Needed: One 45-50 minute class


Lesson 4 - Local History

Guiding Question: What was the life of a homesteader like and what tools from today would make their lives simpler?

Lesson Overview: During this lesson students will read three articles and create a time line by putting the events in chronological order using a graphic organizer. The time line can be used in future lessons to add later occurring events. The time line will allow students to see how events in one area can affect local, state, national and world history and visa versa.

Time Needed: One 45-50 minute class period



This webpage was made possible in part by a grant from Washington's National Park Fund.

Did You Know?

DYK fisher release

Fishers (members of the weasel family, related to minks and otters) were reintroduced to Olympic National Park in 2008-10. They are native to the forests of Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula, but disappeared due to overtrapping in the late 1800s/early 1900s and habitat loss.