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Olympic Opportunities for Support

Washington's National Park Fund is actively seeking charitable contributions to make the projects listed below possible for Olympic National Park.  These projects come to us from park leadership and are assembled in priority order.  With enough funding, ALL projects will be funded at the end of 2014.  Please show your support.


1.                Tracking Ocean Acidification in Olympic National Park - $33,000

Olympic National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with more documented species of marine invertebrates and seaweeds than any other place along the entire west coast of North America.  Ocean acidification is rapidly becoming a major concern in Olympic National Park and this study will continue intertidal monitoring. As one of the major impacts of global climate change, ocean acidification results from increased human inputs of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This increased acidity in ocean water can have drastic effects on the ability of marine organisms to form and maintain shells. Funds for this study cover the cost of SeaFET ocean pH sensors and staff time to allow scientists to continue monitor two coastal sites within the park. Continued monitoring of nearshore waters within Olympic National Park will allow the park to better understand the trends and impacts of ocean acidification on vital park resources.


2.                Monitoring Elk in Olympic National Park - $18,000

The Roosevelt Elk populations of Olympic National Park are key components of lowland and montane ecosystems and tightly woven into the park’s historical and cultural fabrics – Olympic National Park was created for the explicit purpose of protecting this unique elk species.  Due to the inaccessibility of most of Olympic National Park, aerial surveys of Roosevelt Elk population are the most efficient way to monitor the animals and will take place in the summer by helicopter. Pre-determined routes will be surveyed and data will be collected on the number, location, sex and age categories of the vast herds of migratory elk that call the park home. The surveys will help us complete a four-year cycle to determine population trends.  The number of elk fluctuates during severe winters, from predation by coyotes and other predators, from hunting outside of the park’s boundaries, or from natural die-offs. Funding for the current period will be used to pay for helicopter use. Staff, equipment and data management costs are paid for by the NPS.


3.                Trash Free Seas Beach Clean-up Kits - $8,500

This is a park stewardship initiative that will improve the condition of the park’s coastal areas while engaging visitors in helping to mitigate and restore the natural condition of the shoreline.  The project will create beach clean-up kits with directions, a safety message, debris data sheet, bag, gloves, etc., all packaged in a reusable tote. Interested park visitors will watch a informative video, be issued a kit, and be given suggested beach locations to focus on.  In addition, local high school students will assist in the creation of the video.  This project will engage youth, families, visitors and local communities, providing them with a park stewardship project that addresses a serious, worldwide issue.


4.                Ranger on Campus - $13,500

The Ranger on Campus program puts a park ranger in the classroom for residential field science courses at NatureBridge, located on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. Uniformed rangers would teach alongside NatureBridge teachers during the spring education season, bringing the “flat hat” to the campus. The presence of a ranger is a visual reminder to students that they are learning in a national park. Public support for science and research begins with a public that is scientifically literate. As students conduct their own science project, the “Ranger on Campus” will lead students in the process of scientific inquiry in the national park. This project aligns with WNPF’s core area of strengthening youth and family programs, while bringing the excitement of scientific discovery to thousands of students.


5.                Olympic Marmot Citizen Science Monitoring Project - $5,000

This is an on-going project to monitor populations of the unique Olympic marmot, first noted to be declining in 1989. Each year 90-100 volunteer scientists are recruited, trained and sent out into the field to collect data on the Olympic marmot populations. The success of this program has spread to other agencies also interested in the fate of the marmot (although 90% of the population is in the national park). The Olympic marmot is now listed as a threatened species by Washington State and park management is extremely concerned about the fate of the species. This project will continue monitoring while also engaging members of the public in a “citizen science monitoring project” thus fulfilling several core areas of WNPF’s goals: Volunteerism & Stewardship; Science and Research; and Strengthening Youth and Family Programs.


6.                Understanding Olympic National Park’s Shrinking Glaciers - $12,000

Glaciers are important hydrologic resources and sensitive indicators of climate change. This is the second year of a project to monitor glaciers in Olympic National Park over multiple years and snow conditions. New monitoring protocols, developed at Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, will be used to measure Olympic glaciers at two time points – the winter snowpack at its maximum (winter balance) and the mass lost (summer balance). This data will be used to understand why Olympic National Park’s glaciers are declining at a more rapid rate than others in the Pacific Northwest. Glaciers being studied are Blue Glacier, on Mt. Olympus and Eel Glacier, on Mt Anderson. Continued funding of this project will allow Olympic National Park and partner, North Coast and Cascades Network, to continue studying the loss of glaciers due to climate change, adding vital information to the greater scientific community, land managers, public utilities and the general public.


7.                Wilderness School: Field Research Course - $20,000

Partnering with NatureBridge and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), this project provides overnight wilderness expeditions to each of the park’s three ecosystems: mountains, forests and coasts. The project would expand from previous years to the Olympic wilderness coast and mountains. Students participate in a two-week wilderness experience, including an eight-night backpacking trip, and conduct a research project of their own design. They learn wilderness skills and conduct stewardship projects. After the hike, they present research findings in a symposium-like setting to educators, park officials and parents. This project includes scholarship support for youth from the Olympic Peninsula who would otherwise not be able to participate. The Wilderness School Field Research Course is the type of immersive experience that will nurture the next generation of passionate parks people, leading youth to career possibilities and mentoring new parks leaders.


8.                Species Identification and Threats Assessment of a Newly Discovered Native Char Population in Olympic National Park - $9,950

The two major threats to the viability of bull trout populations are harvesting and potential interbreeding with non-native brook trout. This project will help to identify a recently discovered unknown population of char (trout) in Boulder Creek, a tributary to the Elwha River, first spotted by a park visitor. Three questions will be addressed: 1) what fish species inhabits Boulder Creek? 2) how does this species compare to the bull trout in the Elwha River and the Dolly Varden trout in the Sol Duc River? 3) is there evidence of hybridization with non-native brook trout or the native varieties? In order to effectively protect the threatened native char in Olympic National Park, it is critical to understand species identification, genetic diversity, distribution, and abundance of the populations.


9.                Wildlife Safety Cards - $10,000

Olympic National Park faces a consistent challenge with park visitors getting too close, feeding and interacting with wildlife. This behavior is potentially dangerous to visitors and animals alike. The project would fund a three-year supply of safety cards to be handed out at park entrance stations, stapled to the entrance fee receipt. Deer, bear and Roosevelt Elk are frequently near park roads and at front-country campgrounds where visitors stop to view them. Problems are compounded as animals become habituated to human presence. The Safety Cards will result in visitors that are better informed of the potential dangers and impacts of close encounters with animals.


10.             After the Dams are Gone: Wildlife Restoration in the Elwha Valley in Olympic National Park - $25,000

This is a new project to study the impact of Columbian black-tailed deer and Roosevelt Elk on the revegetation program of the Glines Canyon lakebed. The project will establish a baseline for long-term monitoring of ungulate use in areas of lakebed restoration,  answering the question “What are the long-term effects of ungulates on vegetation succession and restoration goals?” Pellet plots will be examined for prints and pellet groups, and the extent of ungulate browsing on key species of plants being used in the revegetation effort will be recorded. This project will allow us to gather needed data on wildlife recolonization of the Elwha project area and the effect of wildlife on revegetation efforts.  This project is the highest priority wildlife research need in the Elwha project, but has been unfunded to date. Because wildlife is recolonizing the area now, this research needs to be done or we will lose the opportunity forever.


11.     Preserve and Digitize the Webster Lantern Slide Collection - $21,085

E. B. Webster, a Port Angeles Newspaper publisher and avid hiker, amassed an amazing collection of photographs that have been passed down through family and friends before being donated to the park in 2013. Images capture the Klahhane Club activities in Olympic National Park in the early 1900s.  The photographs provide valuable historic documentation of flora, fauna, terrain and landscape, and will likely contain footage useful for climate studies. Many of the photographs are in “lantern slide” format and cannot be safely viewed without danger of further degradation. This project will provide funds to determine the condition of the slides and provide for a technician to perform the work of digitizing them with a scanner already available in park offices. Funds will assist with salary and the purchase of supplies. As part of the park museum collection, it is imperative that this historical collection be preserved for the use of park managers, historians and visitors.


12.     Queets Homestead Ethnohistory Publication and Interpretive Brochure - $17,750


Native Americans whose descendants are members of the Quinault, Hoh, and Quileute tribes first used the Queets Valley. In 1890, white homesteaders began settling here, filing claims up the valley. Additional settlements came in successive waves in the early 1900s. Between 1940 and 1953 the federal government condemned private property and the area was formally added to Olympic N.P. in 1953. Funds for this project will facilitate the printing and publication of an extensive Queets ethnohistory manuscript written by park anthropologist Jacilee Wray. The Queets history is an important story of how federal lands are set aside and of the people living in this place that would become part of Olympic National Park.  When published, it will be shared with the local tribes, descendants of homesteaders, local communities, park rangers, schools and visitors, and will consist of 500 copies of the entire ethnohistory and 3,000 copies of a high quality site brochure.