• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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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 »

Timeline of the Elwha Through 1940

25,000-10,000 years ago: The Fraser glaciation occurs and upon receding, the Elwha watershed is created.

Until late 1800's:
The Klallam and other tribes inhabit a great deal of the northern Olympic coast and the mouth of the Elwha River, fishing, hunting, clamming and harvesting the lands.

Late 1800's:
Port Angeles begins to grow as European-American homesteaders arrive and settle the peninsula.

1910: With financial backing of the Olympic Power Company created by Thomas Aldwell and investors, construction of Elwha Dam begins.

1912: First gravity dam blows as the reservoir fills. Thomas Aldwell receives more funding to rebuild dam.

1913: Elwha Dam becomes operational. Despite an 1890 state law requiring "fish passage wherever food fish are wont to ascend," the dam operates without providing for fish passage.

1915: When Washington State Fish Commissioner Leslie Darwin offers to waive the fish passage requirement, Aldwell constructs a hatchery adjoining the Elwha Dam. It was abandoned by the state in 1922.

1925: Construction on Glines Canyon dam begins at river mile 13.

1927: Glines Canyon Dam becomes operational. No method of fish passage is provided.

1935:
U.S. Representative Monrad C. Wallgren sponsors a bill for the establishment of a national park on the Olympic Peninsula.

1937:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to the area in the fall seals the effort for those pushing for establishment of Olympic National Park.

1938: Congress passes Rep. Wallgren's bill, and with the President's signature, 634,000 acres is designated as Olympic National Park on June 29, 1938.

Elwha 1940 – 1992
Elwha 1992 – 2010

 
 

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.