If you are just joining us we have been doing a summer road trip across the United States. We began our journey in College Park, MD and have been on the road for almost two months now. As we left San Francisco on our way to Yosemite National Park, two images of the past come to mind. First, if we were making the drive in 1962, we would likely see the nuclear ship Savannah accompanying us via the Pacific Ocean onto Seattle where we would learn about the latest in scientific achievement at the 1962 World’s Fair.
Second, we are reminded of William Least Heat Moon’s 1982 memoir Blue Highways, since we have taken the last two days to put down more than 800 miles from San Francisco heading north on the scenic, “Blue” Highway 101. We consider ourselves fortunate to have taken in the surreal landscapes that this coastal highway provides. As we get an early start this morning we are gradually closing in on a destination we have been looking forward to since our departure from College Park nearly two months ago, Olympic National Park. We notice that we are beginning to get low on gas and that the next town is Humptulips, WA, a town of less than 300 as of 2010, fingers crossed that this small town has a gas station.
We roll into Humptulips and are thankful to discover that they do indeed have several gas stations. After a conversation with one of the locals we learn that Olympic National Park is huge, more than 1440-square-miles huge! With limited time we decide to take this gas fill-up and also pull out our laptop since this gas station has Wi-Fi and discover that the our National Archives Catalog has a film including a map that will help us plan our trip through Olympic National Park. As we are about to leave our friendly local also informs us that Humptulips sits in Grays Harbor County and that Grays Harbor marks the southern reaches of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. He further shares that as we leave this county the 101 will take us right along the coast.
The sanctuary is a marine protected area that includes 3,188 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula coastline, adjacent to the Olympic National Park for most of its length. Along its shores are thriving kelp and intertidal communities, teeming with fishes and other sea life. In the darkness of the seafloor, scattered communities of deep sea coral and sponges form habitats for fish and other important marine wildlife. In addition to important ecological resources, the sanctuary has a rich cultural and historical legacy. Over two hundred shipwrecks are documented here. In addition, the vibrant contemporary communities of the Makah Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Hoh Tribe, and Quinault Nation have forged inseparable ties to the ocean environment, maintaining traditions of the past while they navigate the challenges of the present, as depicted in this short film from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will eventually end up here at the National Archives. Finally, like Olympic National Park, which is in the top 10 most visited parks in the U.S., many people enjoy recreation in a spectacular setting in the sanctuary. Recreational fishing, surfing, boating, wildlife viewing and photography – there is a little bit for everyone on the beautiful and rugged Olympic Peninsula.
Below are some photos of taken of map 18480 from the Series: Published Nautical Charts of Coastal Areas of the United States and Its Territories (370NAUTCHRT)