We made a quick trip for a hike at the Southwest end of Olympic National Park. At the Quinalt Ranger Station, a couple short trails lead through a fern-filled forest to an old outpost. We saw no cougars or bears but did come across a snake of unknown species.
In August of 2014, the Elwha Dam was removed, opening nearly 50 miles of salmon runs and returning much of the ecosystem to its natural state. This was the largest dam removal in US history and is still big news at Olympic NP after a year. While America flexed its industrial/economic muscles in the early 20th century and dammed thousands of rivers across the country, fish runs were destroyed and many natural areas choked of their life-giving rivers. Environmental considerations have led to the destruction of many of these in recent years and the Elwha is now a key victory of this movement.
The Patagonia documentary Dam Nation provides an intriguing and entertaining view of the overall issue.
For more information about the Elwha Dam Removal, see the National Geographic Article
Time Lapse during the dam removal:
Here is a full documentary about the Elwha Dam: