The mossy Hoh River is among Washington’s most iconic places. Clear and undammed, the river hosts one of the healthiest wild salmon runs in the lower 48 states. Downstream of Olympic National Park, people come to the Hoh River valley to fish, hunt and gather plants. The Hoh Tribe lives at the river’s mouth, with profound cultural ties to resources and places in the watershed.
Goals for this corridor—restore a natural, mature forest and keep forest and resource management local—fit with those of the larger Emerald Edge program, explains Dave Rolph, our director of forest management for Washington. “One of the program goals is to create a rainforest ecosystem that also benefits local communities,” says Rolph. The Hoh offers an opportunity for a high-profile test case.
Ideal, he adds, would be a community forest, owned and managed locally, with sustainable forestry and income flowing back into the community.
Restoration includes thinning and planting trees to increase natural diversity, adding log jams and repairing culverts to create more salmon habitat, and fixing forest roads, which can wash out and deliver damaging sediment to streams. Local residents already benefit, with jobs related to the restoration. Two hundred years from now, says Rolph, big trees will once again thrive, along with the local communities that will be the stewards of this treasured valley.