Rugged and rainy
ESFO is a steep and hilly place. State-owned land has an elevation ranging from sea level to 1,066 meters (3,500 feet).
The climate in OESF is influenced by the Pacific Ocean. At medium and low altitudes, temperatures are mild, snow is scarce and precipitation is high. Temperatures in the town of Forks range from about 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) in winter to about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) in summer. The rains fall mainly between October and May, and totals can range from about 72 to 180 inches (1.8 to 4.6 meters) per year.
Heavy rains and mild temperatures support temperate rainforests in which young trees can grow 4 feet (1.2 meters) in a year. Common tree species on state trust lands include Douglas-fir, Western hemlock, and Sitka spruce. Red alder and red cedar grow in wetter areas at lower elevations. These types of forests are home to a wide range of wildlife, including northern spotted owls, marbled murres, deer, elk, black bears, and many more.
With so much rain, forest fires are rare. The main types of natural disturbance are landslides and wind damage from powerful storms that cross the Pacific Ocean in the fall and winter.
The OESF includes many streams and rivers. Wetlands, including peatlands, are common at the bottom of river valleys. FEEO streams and rivers support returns of several species of salmon and trout and non-game species, such as lampreys, minnows, suckers and sculpins.