Top 10 Photos from an Expedition to Olympic National Forest

The snow line begins to creep down to the lower elevations on the Olympic Peninsula.
The snow line begins to creep down to the lower elevations on the Olympic Peninsula.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Gregg Treinish founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, a nonprofit organization connecting outdoor adventurers with scientists in need of data from the field. He also organizes his own expeditions, contributing to research on wildlife-human interaction, fragmented habitats, and threatened species.

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Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) is hard at work looking for signs of the Pacific coastal marten (Martes caurina) in the Olympic National Forest (ONF) this winter. For years USFS researchers led by Betsy Howell have been searching for signs of marten and, though ONF is prime marten habitat, there is concern that the species has extirpated from the region. Last year ASC joined the effort and organized the first ASC-ONF marten survey project where 12 camera trap stations were established in 6 different drainages deep in the ONF. This project yielded thousands of photos of dozens of different species, but notably lacking was any sign of a marten. Last year’s efforts led to the coastal Pacific Marten being listed as “critically imperiled” by NatureServe, but Betsy says:

“If martens still exist in greater numbers on the Olympic Peninsula, then they may be doing so in higher, isolated pockets of habitat. Getting to these areas can be challenging, particularly during the winter months, which are the most ideal for carnivore surveys. Having volunteers vetted through ASC who are extremely fit and extremely motivated would greatly add to the likelihood of success for such an effort.”

This year we are back in the ONF with a larger team, more cameras, and more funding thanks to a generous grant from the National Forest Foundation. Beginning in January, fifteen hardy adventure scientists have dedicated their weekends to trekking deep into the backcountry of the ONF. Here are a few of the highlights from 2014:

This bobcat refuses to leave empty handed.
This bobcat refuses to leave empty handed.
An adventurous robber jay on top of Mt. Rose in the Olympic National Forest. Photo by Jordan Holsinger
An adventurous robber jay on top of Mt. Rose in the Olympic National Forest. Photo by Jordan Holsinger
Volunteer Angela Bohlke reviews the settings on her team's camera. Photo by Erin Johnson.
Volunteer Angela Bohlke reviews the settings on her team’s camera. Photo by Erin Johnson.
Finding the perfect camera location in prime marten habitat. Photo by Julia Johannesen.
Finding the perfect camera location in prime marten habitat. Photo by Julia Johannesen.
The view from the Mt. Rose summit. Photo by Jordan Holsinger.
The view from the Mt. Rose summit. Photo by Jordan Holsinger.
A fisher - close relative of the marten and itself reintroduced to the peninsula - visits a camera site. Photo by ASC.
A fisher – close relative of the marten and itself reintroduced to the peninsula – visits a camera site. Photo by ASC.
Close examination of animal signs along the trail. Photo by Bill Agnew.
Close examination of animal signs along the trail. Photo by Bill Agnew.
Trekking in the old growth to access the camera location deep in the ONF. Photo by Mike Quist Kautz.
Trekking in the old growth to access the camera location deep in the ONF. Photo by Mike Quist Kautz.
An eagle skims the Hama Hama river just outside the ONF. Photo by Jordan Holsinger
An eagle skims the Hama Hama river just outside the ONF. Photo by Jordan Holsinger

You can keep up with ASC by subscribing to ASC’s blog, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (@AdventurScience)Instagram (@AdventureScience) and Google+.

NEXTOn the Trail of the Elusive Pacific Marten

Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration. National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor's 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine "hero", in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men's Journal's "50 Most Adventurous Men." In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow. Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004. Read more updates from Gregg and others on the Adventure Scientists team at adventurescientists.org/field-notes. Follow Adventure Scientists on Instagram @adventurescientists, on Facebook @adventurescientists, and on Twitter @AdvScientists.

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