The eighth coin in the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarter series is the 2011 Olympic National Park Quarter, featuring Olympic National Park located in the state of Washington.
These coins will enter into general circulation through the Federal Reserve Bank system on June 13, 2011. The Mint will also be selling these strikes directly to the public in circulation quality beginning on that same day. Buyers will have the choice of 100-coin bags containing either quarters struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia or the US Mint’s facility in Denver. The two-roll sets will contain one roll of 40 quarters from the Denver facility and one roll of 40 quarters from the Philadelphia facility.
The final design for the Olympic National Park Quarter was chosen by the Secretary of the treasury to depict an iconic Roosevelt Elk standing on a gravel bar of the Hoh River with Mount Olympus shown in the background. The reverse design was completed by AIP Master Designer Susan Gamble and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.
It was one of four Olympic America the Beautiful Quarter design candidates, shown below, which were presented to the Treasury Secretary for his final decision. That decision was announced by the Mint on December 1, 2010.
Two government groups, the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), reviewed the candidates earlier in 2010. Both chose the same design WA-01, depicting a Roosevelt elk just as it steps into a river. Picturesque Mount Olympus and trees are in the background. It was this design that the Treasury Secretary selected for the reverse of the Olympic America the Beautiful Quarter.
The CCAC had this to say about the design, "… the Committee found the combination of the park’s wildlife and scenery to be especially compelling."
The final design will also be featured on a collectible silver coin from the US Mint – the Olympic America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin.
Additional 2011 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:
- Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter
- Glacier National Park Quarter
- Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter
Olympic National Park Quarter for Washington
The enormous park is located in the upper northwest corner of the state, in the Olympic Peninsula of the Pacific Ocean.
The park has gone through several re-naming processes and earned a few different titles along the way. Conservationists recognized the need to preserve the area’s primeval sanctuary and persuaded President Grover Cleveland to designate the area as Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897. At that time an incredible 2.1 million acres, which encompassed the entire central portion of the peninsula, became the responsibility of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Then in 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt renamed it Olympic National Monument, but it was President Franklin Roosevelt who gave it National Park status when he signed new legislation for it in 1938. Olympic National Park earned the prestige of an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and became a World Heritage Site in 1981. Last but not least, in 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as "Wilderness."
Through the legislation process, the size of the park shrunk to just under one million acres, but that’s still plenty of room for the largest unmanaged herd of Roosevelt elk in the world. Other wildlife that call Olympic National Park home are northern spotted owls, snowshoe hare, mountain beaver, river otters, and black bears.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors journey to Olympic National Park each year. Many stop at the Visitor Center in Port Angeles to see its exhibits and the orientation film before driving to Hurricane Ridge or another park hotspot. Lake Crescent, Rialto Beach, Hoh Rain Forest, Deer Park and Quinault Valley are just a few of the popular sites within Olympic’s diverse park.