Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Olympic National Park

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

Clouds settle within the peaks of several snow-covered mountains.
The Olympic Mountains.

Photo by Dave Turner, NPS.

With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park. Centered on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and encompassing nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2018

In an effort to better understand and manage the natural resources of the park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was completed, and published in 2018. Staff from the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey worked together to identify five guiding questions that led to the identification of the natural resources and stressors to include in the report. The report includes 12 focal resource topics:

- Roosevelt elk

- sea stars

- riparian vegetation

- amphibians

- river geomorphology

- Barred owl (Northern Spotted Owl)

- pacific salmonids

- Balsam Wooly Adelgid (Subalpine Fir)

- Razor clams

- invasive non-native plants

- Olympic marmots

- air quality and contaminants

Five of the 12 resource topics (elk, riparian vegetation, river geomorphology, Balsam Woolly Adelgid/Subalpine Fir, and invasive non-native plants/native plants) assessed were considered to be of moderate concern and four (razor clams, Olympic Marmots, sea stars, and Barred owl/Northern Spotted owl), of significant concern. The condition of pacific salmonids and air quality and contaminants was rated as variable. The status of amphibians was indeterminate as the status of most species in the park is unknown. Collectively, the assessment depicts complex systems with numerous interacting factors affecting park resources, and processes underway may be difficult to address or manage in meaningful ways. The assessment aims to further the discussion of resource management priorities and viable management strategies.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: February 25, 2022


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