Olympic Habitat Development Study


Fresca is one of 8 locations in the Olympic Habitat Development Study - it is located on the Pacific Ranger District, Olympic National Forest which is on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington.

Fresca is in the Soleduck River Valley east and north of Forks,WA. The river cuts thru a flat gravelly glacial outwash plain which formed when the glaciers withdrew about 13,000 to 14,000 years ago. The area is mostly flat at an elevation of 150 m500 feet above sea level. The soil is an Emmiott silt loan which is a productive, deep, moderately well drained soil.

Fresca is in the temperate rain forest and receives an average of 2670 millimeters 105 inchesof rainfall per year. Rainfall is least in the summer months (graph).Average monthly precipitation at the Fresca research area. The climate is fairly mild (graph).Maximum, minimum and average monthly temperature at the Fresca research area. with few very hot or very cold days. (See what the weather's like now.)

This area was clear-cut around 1930. Before then, there was an old-growth stand with large-diameter Douglas-fir and western hemlock trees. Based on some ecology detective work, this old-growth stand originated after a widespread fire around 1700. There is also evidence of earlier fires around 1300 and 1500.

The current vegetation at Fresca is the result of the natural process of regeneration that started after 1930 but stand characteristics are also influenced by biological legacies.(structures or organisms which carry over from the previous stand)

The stand is primarily western hemlock and Sitka spruce with smaller amounts of Douglas-fir, red alder, western redcedar, and cascara buckthorn.
(Learn more about these trees on the Tree and Natural History Tours; also visit Forest Service's Silvics site for more information.)

Understory development prior to the thinning was very sparse. (Learn which species were present on the Understory Tour.)


Fresca location on the Olympic Peninsula.
Note the bend (loop) in the Soleduck River in upper left corner. Fresca location on the Olympic Peninsula. Fresca forest view.
Fresca location on the Olympic Peninsula.


Location and soils information is available if you want to explore the area via web maps or other geo data sources.