Cooper Crest is the highest ridge in Olympia. Artesian springs near its peak feed the two main branches of Green Cove Creek flowing south into the Grass Lake Nature Reserve and north into the forested wetlands between Cooper Point Road NW and Kaiser Road NW. Until recently, the legacy forest along this branch of Green Cove Creek was intact, with a diverse and mature understory; it provided abundant clean and cool water for the Creek’s native salmon runs.
In the summer of 2022, the area was controversially logged, including the lower end of the ridge within an area of forested wetlands. Clearcuts become drier and hotter than natural forests. Were this area to be developed, the inevitable temporary loss of summer in-stream flows in the salmon-bearing Green Cove Creek would become permanent, a severe risk to this important an sensitive area.
In late summer 2022, OlyEcosystems conserved the 23-acre clearcut and immediately began urgent restoration. Bringing this land back to a healthy ecosystem is a huge undertaking and enormous opportunity. We constructed a mile of trails for public and restoration access, and in the first year, distributed hundreds of yards of mulch and planted nearly 20,000 native trees and shrubs. In 2023, we partnered with the City of Olympia to steward this area into the future and to provide public access. Restoration of this area is ongoing and costs will remain significant for many years to come.