The Olympic Peninsula, in all its grandeur, is the gem of the Pacific Northwest. The peninsula is home to a diverse ecosystem that drives the peoples people that call it home and the waters that bless its coast. With the snow-capped peaks that feed the headwaters of a multitude of rivers and creeks, the rain clouds that become trapped within valleys bring forth the ethereal rainforests and the hypnotizing sea stacks that checkerboard the coastal waters.
Pick any direction to explore and you are bound to be in awe of its beauty.
The connection to the Pacific Ocean and the peninsula have been vital to Seattle and the surrounding communities, creating a seafaring culture which is unstoppable by the changing industrial and technological advances within and around the city. The Olympic Peninsula functions as the glimmer in the urbanite’s eye, inspiring their appreciation for the wonders of the natural world that exist in their backyard.
Although the peninsula’s rural landscape may fool visitors into thinking they have escaped time, the rivers and oceans tell a different story. The salmon that nourish indigenous cultures and give balance to the ecosystem as a whole is in dire straits. Loss of habitat due to the usual culprits has taken its toll. Decades of unsustainable logging and misplaced hydroelectric projects have worked for hand in hand with hatcheries and over harvest to make these salmon runs a shadow of their former self.
Desperate attempts to stave off the extinction of the most iconic sports fish, the mighty steelhead, are underway as well as the largest dam removal project ever, the two dams on the Elwha River near Port Angeles.
A campaign by Wild Olympics is in full swing to set aside vital habitat abutting the National Park. The headwaters of most rivers are protected and there is no reason the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic salmon species cannot return to their full glory.
This article was published JUN 29 2014, on fisheyeguyphotography.com
For more incredible photography from Pat Clayton check out his Instagram @fisheyeguyphotography
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