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

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. When ready, videos of the conference will be posted 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.

2022 OESF Field Season

2022 OESF Field Crew

The 2022 field season is underway! Pictured here is the 2022 field crew along with OESF Research and Monitoring Manager Teodora Minkova and Coast District Planning Forester Kevin Alexander. This year's crew includes DNR field technicians and interns, interns from University of Washington Olympic Natural Resource Center (ONRC) and Program on the Environment, students from Oregon State University College of Forestry, scholars from the Doris Duke Conservation Program, and University of California San Diego. Field work this year includes acoustic monitoringRiparian Status and Trends monitoringfish monitoring, soil sampling and electrofishing for the Type 3 Watershed Experiment, and ongoing work on the Ethnoforestry field trial and the Long-term Ecosystem Productivity Study

Recent Publications