• Olympic: Three Parks in One


    National Park Washington

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  • Work Scheduled for Hwy 101 at Lake Crescent Starting July 7

    Hwy 101 will be reduced to one-lane of traffic through work zones and delays of up to 15 minutes should be expected. Work will occur weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. through mid-July, weather permitting.

  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

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

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.


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.