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Abundance

The Light Green Leaves of a Big Leaf Maple Stretch to Embrace the Moss-covered Trunk of a Majestic Sitka Spruce. Olympic National Park, Washington.

Each time I enter the Hoh Rainforest—one of my favorite locations to visit in Olympic National Park—I’m stunned by the vitality, the green abundance that dazzles and overwhelms the senses. Myriad varieties of ferns and mosses cover practically every surface. Vertical and horizontal. And trees of enormous size (Sitka Spruce, in particular, but also Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and Big Leaf Maple) build a green canopy that dwarfs, protects, and astonishes all who walk beneath.

That it exists is a miracle of nature and foresight.

Located west of the Olympic Mountains, the Hoh (and other rainforests on the Olympic peninsula) receives a significant amount of precipitation—as much as 167 inches of rainfall a year, making it one of the wettest ecosystems in the continental United States. A remnant of the temperate rainforests that once stretched from Oregon to Alaska, it continues to thrive because of the foresight of two Roosevelts, both of whom recognized the singular value of the majestic mountains, temperate forests, and unique wildlife of the Pacific Northwest and endeavored to protect them for all Americans in perpetuity. In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt began the battle to preserve the natural beauty of the peninsula by creating Mount Olympus National Monument. Nearly three decades later, in 1938, it became Olympic National Park, thanks to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Subsequently, the area has been recognized as an International Biosphere and a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

What an incredible gift they gave to us all.