• Olympic: Three Parks in One


    National Park Washington

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  • Olympic Hot Springs Road Closed

    The Elwha Valley's Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed to public entry beyond the Altair Campground during removal of the Glines Canyon Dam. Olympic Hot Springs is not accessible from the Elwha.

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.

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

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?


Although related to other marmots and groundhogs of North America, the Olympic marmot is unique. An endemic species, it is found only in the Olympic Mountains. Visitors to the high country of Olympic National Park may be lucky enough to encounter a marmot sunning itself near its burrow.