• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    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.

  • Hurricane Ridge Road Closed to Vehicles Sunday 8/3 (6:00a - noon)

    Due to the "Ride the Hurricane" bicycle event, the road to Hurricane Ridge will be closed above the Heart o' the Hills entrance station from 6:00a to noon on Sunday August 3rd.

  • 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 »

Euro-American Settlement of the Olympic Peninsula

Historic photo of the Anders Nylund home built around 1904

The Anders Nylund home was built in true Scandinavian style, just after the turn of the century on a slope above the Ozette River.

NPS

The westward homestead wave reached the Olympic Peninsula in the mid-19th century. The earliest settlers clustered along the coast, near Hood Canal and present-day Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, and Neah Bay. In 1891 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Charles and Samuel Gilman's journey through the western Olympic Peninsula. They praised the potentially fertile soil, excellent pasturage, and abundant rainfall. Though infant colonies were established around the coastline, and isolated settlements and individual homesteads circled the inner core, their prediction that many people would come to settle never came true.

Homestead life on the remote Olympic Peninsula was tedious and hard. It began with building a cabin. Unless they used clearings maintained by local tribes, settlers expended enormous effort to clear the imposing forests for gardens, orchards and pastures. In the long, rainy winters, hunting and fishing helped feed the family. The challenges proved too much for many. But those that remained often wrote of the beauty and vast resources in correspondence to family back east. Slowly, the peninsula began to draw attention.

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.