Daniel J. Evans Wilderness

Backpacker in a Mountain Meadow
More than 95% of Olympic National Park is designated wilderness, including mountains and valleys in the interior of the park as well as stretches of undeveloped coast. Most structures, signs, roads, and other development infrastructure are concentrated in the remaining five percent of the park. These lands are called the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness, and are one of the largest wildernesses in the lower 48 states.

On March 15, 1988, Senator Daniel J. Evans introduced the Washington Park Wilderness Act for himself and Sen. Brock Adams. Senator Evans’s bill proposed more than 1.7 million acres of wilderness within the state’s three national parks. President Reagan signed the bill into law on November 16, 1988. The Act designated 877,000 acres in Olympic National Park as the “Olympic Wilderness.” It was rededicated as the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness in 2017.

The park’s wilderness contains some of the nation’s cleanest air and water and is home to diverse plants, animals, and ecological processes, which is especially important given the park’s location near heavily logged and developed lands. Ongoing and potential future degradations to the natural quality of wilderness in the park include the extirpation of native species, presence and introduction of nonnative species, acceleration of disturbance regimes, and presence of pollutants. Climate change also poses a threat as warming temperatures irreversibly alter ecological communities and processes.

Recreational opportunities in park wilderness include more than 600 miles of trails, from easy strolls to challenging paths and hundreds of thousands of remote trailless acres where one can experience tranquility and escape reminders of mechanized society, and where individuals can be truly alone in the enormity of the natural world.

The ongoing stewardship of these lands by the Skokomish, Quinault, Queets, Hoh, Quileute, Makah, and Klallam/S'Klallam peoples stretches back over time immemorial.
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5 minutes, 10 seconds

If the wilderness could speak, what would it say? Olympic National Park's Daniel J. Wilderness doesn't just speak...it sings! Enjoy the symphony of nature in one of the most acoustically diverse wilderness areas of the country. With 95% of its land a designated wilderness, Olympic National Park protects a unique and endangered resource: natural sound.


Last updated: March 19, 2024

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