Long-standing love affair

The woods, the wild things and the quiet are important to this man who's been long in love with the Olympics.

Tim McNulty grew up in New England amid weathered mountains, a developed coast and small forests. Still, he learned to love the wildlife he found in the swamp behind his grandfather's house and while gathering wild foodstuffs with his father.

After college he traveled around the country to see the standard "wild places" like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. He found the place he was looking for on the North Olympic Peninsula and moved here in 1972.

McNulty worked at many things, trying to stay outdoors and in the mountains as much as possible. He worked for logging companies planting and thinning trees and selectively cutting them, as well as backcountry trail work and watershed restoration.

Under the surface

That work let him explore and write about the flora and fauna of Olympic National Park. He also did freelance writing and environmental education.

When he found things he did not understand, he would research the topic until he did. For instance, there are many lava formations around the peninsula but no volcanoes.

As researchers looked into the theory of plate tectonics, McNulty found the lava answer in the subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate under the North American plate.

And McNulty discovered a talent - he can read and understand technical journals and turn that knowledge into stories that anyone can understand.

The right word

McNulty uses language carefully, choosing his words to find the one most appropriate to the subject. He has written many essays about the beauty he finds in the Olympics.

One essay caught the eye of photographer Pat O'Hara, who asked McNulty to write essays to go with photos he had taken of Olympic National Park.

The result was "Olympic National Park: Where the Mountains Meet the Sea." That book led to several about other national parks, including Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier.

Since then, McNulty has written more books - several poetry books and "Olympic National Park: A Natural History." This book received the Governor's Writing Award.

In his newest book, "From the Air: Olympic Peninsula," he wrote essays to complement the aerial photos taken by David Woodcock.

Writer in residence

He feels that his poetry makes him look at his surroundings more closely than some people and helps him express what he sees concisely and clearly to convey a feeling and a story.

When asked why he tries to convey his feelings about the Olympics, he answers that it is everyone's responsibility to protect and care for the environment and find sustainable ways to live within the natural systems.

McNulty is the 10th writer in residence at Peninsula College. He will give lectures, writing workshops and readings this month and will work with a group whose juried work shows they are serious about writing, helping them learn to write more expressively and clearly.

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