Designated: July 16, 1994
Area: 3,189 mi²
Off northwest Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is rich with marine life, diverse habitats, history, and Native American culture. For Native American tribes on the Olympic Coast – the Makah, Quileute, Hoh, and Quinault – use of the waters stretches back centuries. The sanctuary staff and the tribes work together on behalf of sanctuary management to strengthen resources and respect the longstanding relationship of coastal Native Americans and the marine environment.
Twenty-nine species of marine mammals reside in or migrate through Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary including humpback and gray whales, seals, sea lions, and sea otters. The sanctuary provides critical nesting habitats for seabirds of all kinds and an important migratory pathway. Olympic Coast is also among the most productive fish-growing habitats in the world with salmon, halibut, rockfish, hake, herring and sunfish.
Visitors enjoy sustainable recreation in true coastal wilderness. Sport fishing and shellfish-gathering, hiking and camping, surfing, diving, kayaking, tidepooling, beachcombing and wildlife exploration attract three million people annually. Visitors also learn more about Native American culture through engagement with the local tribal communities. The Olympic Coast Discovery Center is a popular starting point, with interactive exhibits and learning programs; the visitor center’s management is supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.