The Olympic National Park is known for a lot of different awesome natural wonders. From moss-covered rainforests in old-growth forests to cascading waterfalls plunging into rough, salmon stocked rivers, we have it all out here. When we want a hike along the ocean to look at sea-stacks, the Olympic National Park has us covered. From Neah Bay to Ocean Shores, and from Olympia to Port Angeles, the Olympic Peninsula is full of awesome sights. Sadly, one of the sights that have been consistent for thousands of years is slowly leaving the region, and it might be too late to stop it from vanishing for good.
High on the rugged peaks of the mountains of the Olympic National Park, 266 glaciers sit on slopes, overlooking the vast awesomeness of the region. The massive ice sheets, once connecting and covering the vast majority of the northern continent, have been receding for years, are disappearing at a much faster rate than previously thought. While the number of glaciers in the Olympic National Park has increased since 1982, the size and mass of the remaining ice sheets is vanishing at a very fast rate.
Bill Baccus, the physical scientist for the Olympic National Park has been studying the Olympic National Park glaciers in detail since 2010, and his findings are not good news for the future of glaciers in the region. At the current rate, which is losing a meter of ice a year, the glaciers could be gone from the National Park as early as 2050. Glaciers in the park are currently providing important levels of water for the numerous watersheds in the rainforests, and the loss of the glaciers could have a devastating impact on the environment.
5 FACTS ABOUT OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK GLACIERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
In 1982, the Olympic National Park had 266 Glaciers. In 2012, we had 311. The number of glaciers increased as larger glaciers broke up and became smaller ones.
In 1982, the Olympic National Park had 8 Classic Valley Glaciers, in 2012, the park had 4. Classic Valley Glaciers are glaciers that cover an entire valley of a mountain.
Ferry Glacier is the first glacier in the Olympic National Park to vanish.
65% of the Glaciers feed the Hoh Watershed and help maintain the Hoh rainforest
Blue Glacier, which is the largest glacier in Olympic National Park, lost 18 percent of its size since 1982.
IMAGES OF SHRINKING GLACIERS
INTERACTIVE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK GLACIER MAP
WHY ARE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK GLACIERS VANISHING?