Olympic National Park
Ducking under bright green licorice ferns and low-hanging moss, you make your way through a thick forest. You move carefully to avoid stepping on the newts, salamanders, and lizards that skitter around the forest floor. As you trek through the emerald landscape, large raindrops plop down from the sky. You’re in Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State’s Olympic National Park, a wet area with lots of splashy features.
Get a Life
Formed in 1938, Olympic National Park includes rivers and peaks in addition to forestland. But Hoh Rain Forest may be the park’s most extraordinary attraction. Hoh is a temperate rain forest. These ecosystems have a much milder climate than the hot, humid tropical rain forests found further south. Like tropical rain forests, temperate ones get a lot of rain. Hoh Rain Forest receives 12 to 14 feet of precipitation each year!
This forest is a lively place. Scientists believe it may contain more living things per acre than any other spot on Earth. One of the animals that lives in the rain forest is kind of a big deal. It’s the Roosevelt elk, the largest of the four remaining North American elk subspecies.
Olympic National Park is home to the largest wild herd of Roosevelt elk. These creatures, which were named after President Theodore Roosevelt, usually weigh between 600 and 1,100 pounds. And they can be quite noisy. The elk squeal, grunt, bellow, and bark. So when you come to visit the park, be prepared to encounter some party animals!