The Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO) promotes the protection, conservation and restoration of natural forest ecosystems and their processes on the Olympic Peninsula. This mission includes monitoring and caring for the rivers, streams and bays of the Peninsula. Protecting nearshore habitats of fresh/saltwater systems is critical to the health of our forests. Healthy estuaries are essential for healthy populations of salmon and other wildlife, including threatened and declining species such as the Marbled Murrelet.
OFCO’s holistic focus on forest ecosystems is demonstrated by its board members, all of whom are activists. From our work reducing water quality impacts on forest roads to water restoration on aquatic ecosystems, our work on engineered log jams, Marbled Murrelets and salmon, monitoring streams for health and water quality impacts on rivers such as the Elwha, Dungeness, Dosewallips and Dungeness, and Quilcene and Dabob Bays, we recognize and try to remember that forest ecosystems include wetlands, rivers, creeks, springs, estuaries, bays and all the plants, animals, insects and living creatures that inhabit these areas.
The programs of OFCO focus on educating members of the public, officials, agencies, and other environmental, community and recreation groups on issues of importance to help achieve these goals.
OFCO is devoted not only to monitoring and intervening on behalf of the natural marvels of the Olympic National Forest and Olympic Experimental State Forest, but also to sharing and emphasizing the findings of our region’s scientists, while communicating a positive vision of a more respectful and forward-thinking relationship with these lands and waters.
Our organization was formed in March 1989, by Alex Bradley and Sierra Club member Bob Crowley, as the Quilcene Ancient Forest Coalition, to promote the protection of old-growth forests and surrounding watersheds, specifically on the former Quilcene Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest. In 2002 we made a decision to become a forest-wide, nonprofit group. Since that time, our focus has expanded to include the Olympic Experimental State Forest. OFCO is headquartered in Quilcene.
Our activities include:
- Teamed with the Forest Service and timber industry representatives to join the Olympic Forest Collaborative, an environmental and economic program created by Representative Derek Kilmer. This program initially includes pilot projects that will determine the methods to be used for thinning and restoration efforts on roads, streams, river channels, and estuaries.
- Joined the Wild Olympics Campaign, a group of conservation organizations working to safeguard and designate wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula
- Endorsed efforts to monitor water quality activities on Quilcene and Dabob estuaries and bays, where Marbled Murrelet are often sighted and photographed; these small seabirds inhabit calm, shallow, coastal waters and bays, but breed inland, up to 45 miles from shore, in mature, wet forest.
- Over the years OFCO has reviewed most of the timber sales proposed by DNR for the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF). Generally this is a paper review, as we have not had staff or volunteers for on-the-ground review. Our comments, often with help from the Washington Forest Law Center, have led to some important revisions of those sales. Work continues.
- Started the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative, a coalition of 15 conservation and recreation organizations, along with the Washington Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife. The WWRI works with Congress, particularly our Representative Derek Kilmer, to support funding for road decommissioning, road repair and culvert replacement on Washington state’s national forests.
- Won lawsuits against timber sales
- Negotiated a settlement over the Newbury Creek Salvage Sale
- Started the Hoko/Clallam Project to describe, study, assess and analyze the impacts of DNR’s timber management in those watersheds
- During the summer of 2009, began a watershed/roads monitoring program on the Olympic National Forest and the Olympic Experimental State Forest
- Created a strong program to help develop a Landscape Management Plan on the Olympic Experimental State Forest. This landscape plan is part of the Settlement Agreement based on a lawsuit we filed and won, along with three other conservation organizations, about the Department of Natural Resources Sustainable Harvest Calculation (SHC). This SHC would have more than doubled the timber harvest in the Olympic Region.
- Worked with Washington state conservation organizations to develop a Vision for Washington State’s National Forests
- Joined the Conservation Caucus of Forest and Fish, a group focusing on the Habitat Conservation Plan for private industrial forest landowners
- Sponsored and coordinated a climate change conference in February 2007 with the University of Washington’s Olympic Natural Resources Center to allow scientists, agency representatives and citizens an opportunity to discuss and plan for how this issue will affect the Olympic Peninsula
- Successfully appealed the Snow Salmon timber sale and negotiated a beneficial settlement with the Forest Service
- Successfully appealed a proposal by the Forest Service to reconstruct the Dosewallips Road through old-growth forest, prompting an environmental impact statement
- Successfully spearheaded a campaign with local Quilcene residents to stop the thinning efforts on Mt. Walker, a local, scenic and tourist landmark that impacts the economic and environmental base in the area, in particular the water quality of the Big Quilcene River, estuary, and bay
- Put in place a forest-wide monitoring program which evaluates and provides formal input on all major management decisions on the Olympic National Forest
- Put in place a timber sale monitoring program on the Olympic Experimental State Forest
- Served on the Olympic Provincial Advisory Committee and the Olympic Resource Advisory Committee
- Organized and sponsored the May 2003 conference, Models for Protection of National Forests, attended by a variety of conservationists, agency officials, and industry reps
OFCO can’t achieve these activities alone. Please take some time to explore this site. More than ever, the Olympic forests need devoted friends and allies. Consider sharing your talents, interests or other personal resources with OFCO. The deep woods and watersheds will thank you.
Olympic Forest Coalition – PO Box 461 – Quilcene, WA 98376-0461