Elk Creek Conservation Area
The Elk Creek Conservation Area was purchased in 2004 by the Wild Salmon Center, an international non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, understanding, and protecting the best wild salmon habitat on the Pacific Rim. After purchasing the 255-acre property from Rayonier Forest Resources Timber Company, the organization determined that North Olympic Land Trust would be best suited for the role of local owner and steward of the land, and subsequently donated the parcels to North Olympic Land Trust in 2009.
The riparian forest along the two miles of Elk Creek on the property has many of the characteristics of an old growth temperate rain forest, providing diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Elk Creek, a tributary to the Calawah River, supplies integral year-round habitat for wild coho, steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, and steelhead and fall chinook salmon. Surveys indicate 35% of coho in the Calawah River system depend on the portion of Elk Creek within the Conservation Area for spawning.
Day use of the Elk Creek Conservation Area is encouraged for quiet passive recreation, such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. A former logging road now serves as a beautiful riverside trail, providing over three miles of pathways for visitors round trip. Volunteers have worked countless hours to provide the bridges that protect sensitive areas, interpretive signs that educate visitors, and trail improvements for accessibility and safety.
North Olympic Land Trust would like to give special thanks to Becky Dickson, Wild Salmon Center, Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, United States Forest Service, North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity for Salmon, Backcountry Horsemen Olympic Chapter, Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition and the many hard-working volunteers who have helped us in the continued preservation of this property, and its availability to the public for recreation and education.
Take Highway 101 west from Port Angeles approximately 50 miles to the city of Forks. Turn left (east) on Calawah Way. After approximately two miles, there will be a small parking lot on the right. Foot access only beyond this point.
All photos are contributed by Lindsey Aspelund.