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

2024 T3 Watershed Experiment Field Tour

OESF Field Tour 2024

On April 24 and 25, DNR and the University of Washington (UW) Olympic Natural Resource Center (ONRC) hosted a field tour of the T3 Watershed Experiment in the Olympic Experimental State Forest.
The night before the tour, UW student Ally Kruper discussed her work to develop a model that will assess cedar distribution on the western Olympic Peninsula using remote sensing data. The presentation was held at the ONRC in Forks.
The next day, nearly 30 participants gathered on a typically rainy day on the Peninsula to visit three already-harvested, upland treatment sites and compare them to sites that were harvested using standard “variable retention harvest” practices. The group also visited one riparian treatment site. Treatments observed included the following:
  • Complex early seral (upland, two sites)
  • Accelerated variable-density thinning (upland)
  • Riparian thinning with gaps (riparian)
Discussion covered a wide range of topics, such as operational difficulties, planting considerations, deer and elk browsing of cedar seedlings, economic and social impacts, and the possible use of remote sensing data for monitoring. 
The tour ended at the ONRC with a presentation on traditional basket weaving from Quileute weaver Cathy Salazar. Here presentation is available on ONRC's website.

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