Olympic Experimental State Forest

Olympic Experimental State Forest
Located on the western Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF) is a working forest and a living laboratory. Across 270,000 acres (110,000 hectares) of state trust lands, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) produces revenue for trust beneficiaries such as counties and public schools, primarily through timber harvest. DNR also provides habitat for threatened and endangered species and healthy streams for salmon and other aquatic species per the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan and the Policy for Sustainable Forests.  DNR meets these objectives through an experimental, integrated management approach.
As this experimental approach is implemented, DNR and its research partners conduct applied research and monitoring in the OESF. For example, through the Status and Trends Monitoring of Riparian and Aquatic Habitat project, DNR collects data on stream shade, water temperature, large woody debris, and other habitat indicators. This work helps us understand the natural processes that keep the forest ecosystem healthy, determine how forest management affects wildlife and their habitat, and continuously improve forest management. DNR shares what it learns through this website, a biannual newsletter called "The Learning Forest," the annual OESF Science Conference, publications, presentations, and field tours. Explore this website to learn more about this extraordinary place.

News and Events

Type 3 Watershed Experiment Field Tour

2023 OESF Field Tour

Researchers and DNR staff implementing the Type 3 (T3) Watershed Experiment visited upland study units on November 3, 2023 to discuss logging and experimental silvicultural treatments. All 13 timber sales being implemented as part of the T3 Watershed Experiment have been auctioned, and logging has begun in several timber sale units. Tour attendees discussed several topics, such as planting seedlings after the timber sale, monitoring forest regeneration, and ensuring the timber sales are compliant with DNR policies.

OESF Science Conference

2023 OESF Science Conference

On May 3, 2023, nearly 100 people joined DNR in Forks, Washington for the 6th annual OESF Science Conference. Participants came from tribes, federal and state agencies, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, private companies, and local communities.
The conference featured oral presentations on aquatic and forestry research taking place over the last year, a student and DNR poster session, a panel discussion on the Type 3 Watershed Experiment, and information tables hosted by local organizations doing ecological research, monitoring, and habitat restoration on the Olympic Peninsula. In the afternoon, participants travelled to nearby Calawah Park for demonstrations of less-familiar field monitoring equipment. Videos of the conference can be found on DNR’s YouTube channel.

Learning Groups Field Tour

OESF Field Tour participants

As part of learning-based collaboration for the Type 3 Watershed Experiment, researchers formed eight learning groups in May 2022. Each group is focused on a different topic: aquatics, carbon, cedar browse, history, Tribal, invasive species, remote sensing, and economics and operations. 
On October 3, learning group members, study researchers, and DNR foresters had a chance to connect in person, exchange updates on their group’s activities, and view the study areas in the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF). Under unseasonably warm and sunny skies, 22 people visited stream sites to discuss experiential treatments in riparian areas and the expected aquatic responses. They also visited an upland forest to discuss the upland experimental treatments and the challenges of their implementation.

Recent Publications