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The Aldwell Legacy Forest is gone, but not forgotten

The Story of the Aldwell Forest

The community first sprang to action to protect Aldwell in October, 2022. Dozens of community members came out to hike in the forest, including three Port Angeles City Council members.

We held a rally save to try save Aldwell on March 5, 2023, but it was not enough to save the forest. It was then logged, creating a giant scar across the landscape, just above the Little River, a major tributary of the Elwha River and part of the watershed.

On March 10, 2024, we held a grief ceremony for the loss of the Aldwell Legacy Forest. Aldwell brought our community together. 

Photo by Anna Maria Wolf

Aldwell was a legacy forest, naturally re-grown and not a monoculture plantation forest. It contained old growth trees, complex forest canopies & understories, and legacy forest characteristics, including snag and large wood on the forest floor.

According to the DNR’s Aldwell – Old Growth Assessment form, some trees were over 250 years old, with one measuring 280 years old!

Because the Elwha River watershed is a primary source of water for the city of Port Angeles, the Port Angeles City Council requested that this auction be put on hold, but the DNR ignored the request.

Unfortunately we were not able to save this forest before it was sold and harvested!

March 5th 2023

Rally To Save Our Legacy Forests! 

Join us on March 5, 2023 to rally near the Aldwell timber harvest site. Invite your friends, family and neighbors! Together let's raise awareness and learn about the new vision for the Elwha River Watershed. We need YOU to take action so our old forests in the Elwha River Watershed and statewide are protected, not destroyed! It's time our state hears our voices - No More Logging of Legacy Forests!

Sunday March 5th 2023 – 12pm-2pm
@Elwha River Observation Area on Hwy 101
239555 Olympic Hwy, Port Angeles 98363

Pre-Press ReleasePost-Press Release

Peninsula Daily News Coverage  – Port Townsend Leader Coverage

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Elwha River Watershed

Little River and the Elwha River

With the removal of the 2 dams on the Elwha River, there’s over a $320 million dollar effort to restore the Elwha watershed. This includes work to restore salmon access to the Little River. The Aldwell legacy forest is part of the watershed that feeds directly into Little River from the north side, which flows into the Elwha River.

Legacy forests play a crucial role in protecting water quality. Trees in these forests act as natural filters, removing pollutants and contaminants from the water before it reaches streams, rivers, and lakes. They also help to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation, which can clog water sources and decrease their quality. Additionally, the root systems of trees in legacy forests help to regulate water flow and reduce the risk of flooding. Cutting down this forest would impact the quality of water sources in the area.

Aldwell Legacy Forest with the Little River and Elwha River

Before and after comparison. Drag and slide the green bar to see the change. Logging has now completed in the Aldwell legacy forest (second image taken on 5/11/23).

Recreation and Impact on Small Businesses

The Aldwell forest is in a recreation & vacation destination, with the bulk of it located between Highway 101 and Little River Road at the Elwha River. Logging it will create a scar on the landscape for a decade or more and will affect local businesses, like eco-tourism company Magic Forest Tours, which earns money giving tours of legacy forests like Aldwell.

Wildlife and Biodiversity

The Aldwell Forest provides a habitat and travel corridor for a diverse species of plants and animals adjacent to Olympic National Park. Logging it will displace or kill all of these.

We are in the midst of a global extinction crisis, due to habitat loss, climate change, disease, and other impacts. We must protect mature and old-growth forests, which are vital refuges for many at-risk species and vulnerable wildlife.


  • Black-tailed deer
  • Black bear
  • Cougar / Mountain Lion
  • Bobcat
  • Coyote
  • Mountain Beaver
  • Raccoon
  • Barred owl
  • Bald Eagle
  • Raven
  • Pacific giant salamander
  • Pacific tree frog
  • Pacific chorus frog


  • Douglas fir
  • Western red cedar
  • Western hemlock
  • Pacific silver fir
  • Bigleaf maple
  • Red alder
  • Vine maple
  • Devil’s club
  • Salal
  • Sword fern
  • Fiddlehead fern
  • Rattlesnake-plantain orchid
  • Western Fairy Slipper orchid
  • Columbia Lily
  • Ghost Pipe
  • Many species of epiphytes
  • Many species of mushrooms and fungus

Climate Change

Conserving mature and old-growth forests is one of the most affordable and effective tools for fighting climate change. No human-made technology can match big trees for removing and storing climate pollution. If they are logged, most of that pollution is quickly released into the atmosphere and it takes many decades or centuries for younger trees to recapture it.
We have lost most of our mature and old-growth forests across the country due to past logging. This is a serious problem because healthy mature and old-growth forests provide drinking water to communities, protect fish and wildlife, and absorb and store vast amounts of climate pollution. To protect what we have left and recover what has been lost, it is critical that we protect both mature and old-growth forests from being cut down in the future.

The Aldwell forest is magical!

What can we do?

Take Action!

Help us fight for other Legacy forests that are threatened with logging by heading over to


  • Mary Minton says:

    Thank you for this Scott!!! What beautiful, if some heart-breaking photos!! Makes the situation so clear and important! Thank you for the wealth of information you added to it…really a gorgeous and infinitely valuable resource!! Thank you for your time toward Our Community. Blessings! Mary

  • Stanley Hall says:

    Thank You for your efforts to save this natural resource. I have written a letter to all the political offices you provided.

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