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
Participants at the Type 3 Watershed Experiment Stakeholder Engagement Tour.
DNR and the Olympic Natural Resources Center recently hosted two events for the Type 3 Watershed Experiment. On October 8, 2021, 14 of the study’s principal investigators met to discuss key elements of the study. The next day, 36 stakeholders joined project staff for a stakeholder engagement tour of the study sites. Attendees represented Tribes, environmental non-profits, the forest industry, business development, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Oregon State University, Gray’s Harbor College, DNR, and the local community. At each stop on the tour, researchers presented silvicultural tools that will be tested through the study. Discussions with participants yielded excellent ideas for project staff to consider and possibly incorporate into the study plans. For more information on the study and how to get involved, plus the new riparian study plan, silvicultural prescriptions, and more, visit the project website.
2021 OESF Science Conference
On April 22, 2021, 154 natural resources professionals, students, citizen scientists, members of the local community, and others attended DNR's annual OESF Science Conference. It was held virtually through Zoom due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Videos of the conference are posted on DNR's YouTube channel. View the Program here.
Biological Response to Stream Nutrients, a Scientific Synthesis for the OESF (Chapter 12, pages 283 to 371 of General Technical Report PNW-GTR-981)
Paired Air-water Annual Temperature Patterns Reveal Hydrogeological Controls on Stream Thermal Regimes at Watershed to Continental Scales
Evaluating Coexistence of Fish Species with Coastal Cutthroat Trout in Low Order Streams of Western Oregon and Washington