Quinault Rain Forest, Olympic NP, Washington

Olympic National Park is found on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The park was established in 1938 and covers over 1,400 square miles of mountains, rainforests, and coastline. Each of those areas is home to ecosystems including glaciers, meadows, and freshwater lakes. You will even find different types of forests in a park this large. Lowland, temperate rain forest, montane, and subalpine forests can all be found with a little driving. Unlike many of the volcanic mountains of Washington, the Olympic Peninsula was created by tectonic activity.

The Quinault rain forest is located in the southwestern portion of the park and is one of four temperate rain forest regions in the Olympic Mountains. You could measure ten to fifteen feet of rainfall every year in these biomes with additional moisture from fog and light drizzles. An advantage to this constant rainfall and thick forest is a relatively constant temperature in the area. The region changes outside of the rainforest and both flora and fauna change.

Under the canopy, you will find ferns, devil 's clubs, and moss on almost every tree limb. The trees that create the canopy include Douglas firs, silver firs, red cedars, spruce, and hemlock. Even with a rich forest, you can see that sunlight does reach the floor of the forest, allowing many species to grow successfully. Animals include black bear, coyote, bobcat, and Roosevelt elk herds.

Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios

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