On a trip up the Hoh River valley to examine a potential large deep-seated landslide I got to take in the elk herd that occupies the valley.
This herd was one of two I observed just west of and outside of Olympic National Park. The herd is one of the few "unmanaged" elk herds. The elk on the Olympic Peninsula are on the large side compared to other elk. These elk played a significant role in the land management history of the Olympic Peninsula.
C. Hart Merriam, head of the USDA Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy named the Olympic elk (Cervus canadensis Roosevelti). The name was in part to honor then Assistant Naval Secretary Theodore Roosevelt (theodorerooseveltcenter.org/Research/Digital-Library). Merriam recalled the detail which Roosevelt pointed out regarding an specimen.
Theodore Roosevelt was an avid hunter and conservationist. As a hunter he became interested in protecting his name sake elk and attempted to create a reserve for the elk in the Olympics, but was blocked by Congress. He later used the Antiquities Act in 1909 to create Mount Olympus National Monument.
Three decades later Franklin Roosevelt pushed for the creation of Olympic National Park further protecting the elk range.