• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Spruce Railroad Trail Closed from Lyre River Trailhead to Devil’s Punchbowl

    The trail will be closed for improvements 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 »

Marine Mammals

Sea otter floating on back in ocean with dark brown pup on her belly

Sea otter with pup

If you stand on the rugged coast of Olympic National Park and scan the Pacific Ocean, you might spot seals, sea lions, a spouting whale, or sea otters frolicking amid the kelp. These waters are part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, an area of over 3,310 square miles (about twice the size of the park). The sanctuary has documented 29 species of marine mammals in its waters.

The cold northern Pacific Ocean provides a rich feeding ground for marine mammals, including several success stories. Sea otters were hunted to extinction off the Washington coast by the early 1900s, but a reintroduction in 1969 and 1970 began a recovery that continues today. Over 800 otters are now at home again in the kelp forests and waters off the park.

Gray whales, also once driven to near extinction, recovered enough to be removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act. From March into May, look for their spouts or barnacled-splotched backs as they migrate north to their summer feeding grounds.

Click here for a list of marine mammals that might be seen in the nearshore environment.

Did You Know?

belted-kingfisher1

The Belted Kingfisher will hover in place directly over a river, lake, or pond, watching for fish before diving to catch them.