Olympic National Park’s Perspectives series continues Tuesday

PORT ANGELES — Changes to the Olympic National Park’s landscape throughout the past 25 years will be the topic of the first of the Perspectives Winter Speaker Series, which continues this Tuesday.

The free talks take place at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, November through April. All programs will be offered at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles.

“We invite our neighbors and visitors to see Olympic National Park through new perspectives,” said Park Deputy Superintendent Lee Taylor.

“Art, science and technology provide new windows on the park and are all featured in this year’s series.”

The topic for this coming Tuesday is “Inevitable and Constant: Monitoring Landscape Change on the Olympic Peninsula.”

Catherine Copass, Ph.D., an ecologist with the North Coast and Cascades Network of the National Park Service, will discuss how the vegetation of the park and its surrounding lands has changed throughout the past 25 years.

Long-term monitoring and mapping of such landscape-scale disturbances as fires, avalanches, windstorms and landslides provide managers with insights into the park’s vulnerability to climate change, she said.

January’s topic will be “Snowpack Across the Olympics.”

The discussion Jan. 10 by Ryan Currier, a doctoral student at the University of Washington, will deal with the challenges of measuring snow in the remote Olympic wilderness.

Researchers are testing different technologies to measure snowpack across the landscape, and to provide better information to downstream water users.

On Feb. 14, the park will premiere a film on the Elwha River restoration.

“The Elwha Undammed: What’s a River For?” — filmed by Jeff Gersh of Narrative Labs — will focus on the dam removal that was completed in 2014.

“The movie chronicles the voices of the many partners that contributed to this historic restoration project and is a saga of competing ideas about the purpose and meaning of a river,” the park said in a news release.

On March 14, fire in the park will be the topic.

Todd Rankin, a federal Department of the Interior fire management officer for Olympic National Park, will present “Fire in the Olympics.”

He will discuss fires in the rain forest as well as unusually early and active fire seasons.

Audience members will hear about the history of fire on the Olympic landscape, its ecological benefits and the park service’s options for managing fire.

On April 11, park biologist Patti Happe, Ph.D., will talk about “Mountain Goats in Olympic National Park.”

She will present information on the current trends and distribution of mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula and provide an update on mountain goat management planning.

The series is sponsored by Olympic National Park and the Friends of Olympic National Park.

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