Olympic Coast
Olympic Coast

Photograph courtesy of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

 

Map of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Location
From Cape Flattery to the mouth of the Copalis River, on Washington’s outer coast

Protected Area
3,310 square miles (8,573 square kilometers)

Date Designated
July 1994

Habitats
Rocky and sandy shores
Kelp forests
Sea stacks and islands
Pelagic, or open, ocean

Key Species
Tufted puffin
Bald eagle
Northern sea otter
Gray whale
Humpback whale
Pacific salmon
Dolphin

Cultural Resources
Native American petroglyphs and villages
Historic lighthouses
Shipwrecks

Forbidding cliffs, ancient forests, and the occasional historic lighthouse overlook the wild seascape of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which extends from the Canadian border 135 miles (217 kilometers) south to Washington State’s Copalis River, and from the rugged coastline to approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) offshore. More species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise frequent these cold, fish-laden waters than anywhere else on Earth. Nearly 900 offshore rocks, reefs, and islands dot the sanctuary, providing resting and nesting places to bald eagles, peregrine falcons, tufted puffins, and many other species of bird.

For centuries the ancestors of today’s Makah, Quileute, Hoh, and Quinault tribal members harvested whales, seals, mussels, salmon, and halibut from these fertile waters. Among the tribal remains are rock carvings of the local marine life. Other, more chilling, relics of the past are the many shipwrecks within the sanctuary, a testament to the punishing storms and often-treacherous seas that sweep this remote region.


For more information,
check out NOAA’s Olympic Coast profile:
http://www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/oms/
omsolympic/omsolympic.html

Address
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
138 West First Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Communication
Tel: +1 360 457 6622
Fax: +1 360 457 8496
E-mail: olympiccoast@nms.noaa.gov

 

© 2000 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.