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The Olympic National Park is located northwest of Washington State; the diversity in the park is spectacular. Within the park are three ecosystems from the wild and mostly foggy pacific coastline to the snow covered alpine peaks of the Olympic Mountains with its fabulous wild flower meadows to the temperate rain forests with its lush and green moss covered conifer trees and wildlife. We started our trip in Forks Wa near the Hoh Rainforest the idea of having a rainforest in the US that far north is something you would never expect. It is one of the world’s largest stands of virgin temperate rainforest, and includes many of the largest coniferous tree species on earth. The Hoh Rain Forest is one of four rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula.

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Success for the sea otter!

Sea otters were once locally extinct from the Washington coast, but in 1969 and 1970, 59 sea otters were relocated there from Alaska. These otters have thrived: today more than 1,800 individuals call the Washington coast home! Most of them live in the waters of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. 

Each year, researchers survey the population – the 2016 census was organized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with assistance from volunteers and staff from the sanctuary, Seattle Aquarium, and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. One large raft of over 600 sea otters was observed off the mouth of the Hoh River! 

(Photo: NOAA)