Coastal Marten Survey
The coastal Pacific marten was historically present on the Olympic Peninsula, but had only been observed anecdotally in recent years. Biologists on the Olympic National Forest wanted to know more about the current population, and they needed on-the-ground help surveying the mountainous terrain of the Olympic Peninsula during the winter.
Katie M. Moriarty, et al. 2019. “Status of Pacific Martens (Martes caurina) on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.” Northwest Science 93(2), 122-136, (25 September 2019)
Winter Marten Monitoring
“It is believed that if martens still exist in greater numbers on the Olympic Peninsula, then they may be doing so in higher, isolated pockets of habitat,” said USFS Biologist Betsy Howell.
“Getting to these areas can be challenging, particularly during the winter months, which are the most ideal for carnivore surveys. Having volunteers vetted through Adventure Scientists who are extremely fit and extremely motivated [greatly added] to the likelihood of success for such an effort.”
The coastal Pacific marten was historically present on the Olympic Peninsula, but has only been observed anecdotally in recent years. Biologists on the Olympic National Forest wanted to know more about the current population, and they needed on-the-ground help surveying the mountainous terrain of the Olympic Peninsula during the winter.
In January 2014, Adventure Scientists set up 20 motion-activated wildlife cameras in nine high-elevation drainages of the Olympic National Forest (ONF). Each of the cameras was checked by teams every two to three weeks between January and April to replace data cards, batteries and refill bait stations. Each team adopted a drainage and maintained two cameras over the course of the project.
Participants attended two training weekends in January and February. During February and March they continued to maintain the camera stations.
This project provided volunteers with an opportunity to contribute to a meaningful wildlife conservation project, learn winter wildlife tracking techniques and spend time in the mountains with other outdoor enthusiasts.
The data they collected was used by ONF biologists to better understand marten activity in the Forest and to develop management policy.
After decades of only a few rare sightings on the Olympic Peninsula, in 2019 Pacific martens were detected at camera trap sites by our partners at the U.S. Forest Service. Having located these survivors, the team can actively pursue their goal to have healthy, sustaining populations of martens in the Olympics.
Adventure Scientists’ data collection in 2013 and 2014 “was crucial in conducting the Olympic National Forest’s winter marten surveys,” said our project partner, Betsy Howell, “and [the subsequent seasons] would not have been such a success without your efforts.”
Thank you to our participants who helped make the 2014 Marten Survey a success. For more information read the full report from the Olympic National Forest.
For the latest developments, see the 2019 paper, Status of Pacific Martens (Martes caurina) on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.