Cooper crest

GIS Story Map

Special thanks to Mike Ruth and students Kris Catlin and Robin Vance for this GIS Story Map

A forested wetland on the highest hill of Olympia is no more. Over 20 acres of legacy forest at Cooper Point Road NW and 20th Avenue NW were clearcut in July 2022. The site is a part of the Green Cove Creek watershed that borders the City’s Cooper Crest Open Space and the creek, and is close to the Evergreen State College’s environmental preserve and old growth forest.


Clearcutting destroys an area’s ecological integrity in many ways. Our forests provide abundant and pure water, a stable climate, wildlife habitat, and clean air. This area includes the headwaters of one arm of the Green Cove Creek, which is Olympia’s best potential salmon recovery habitat. The site:

  • Is a critical area for aquifer recharge,
  • provides habitat to threatened species, and
  • stabilizes the slope to prevent landslides.

The loss of this forest creates conditions that greatly exacerbate the possibility of:

  • flooding,
  • fire,
  • landslides,
  • contamination of ground and surface waters,
  • damage to road and culvert infrastructure, and
  • destruction of fish habitat.

Since this area has an extremely high pressure aquifer where water seeps out of the 320-foot high hill and flows in all directions, water is likely to come up and out faster when the ground is cut open by logging. The presence of this aquifer increases the risk of landslides and significant erosion.


Logging this hillside runs directly counter to the recommendations of the 1998 Green Cove Creek Comprehensive Drainage Basin Plan, on which the City of Olympia and Thurston County are signatories, and the Governor’s call for action to confront climate change, voiding decades of community planning for the present and future well-being of residents and wildlife.


But there is one piece of good news in this troubling story: OlyEcosystems has purchased this land and will – with community support – slowly restore this once-beautiful forest back to health. Updates on our progress may be found at the link to our virtual fence for this site.

Funding permitting, before the rains come this fall, we are aiming to complete major erosion control measures, mitigation of the trash, slash piles and logging road left by the previous owners, and installation of new trails shown on the map below in red. Thanks to generous donations and partnerships, we have all funds needed to complete this work, with the exception of gravel for the new trails. Funding permitting, we will complete this work by mid-October, and then be prepared to shift into the most ambitions planting season we have had to date.