Wild Olympics Campaign Update
On June 21, 2012, Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks introduced historic legislation to establish new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River protections on the Olympic Peninsula. If passed, the bill would protect the first new Wilderness designations (more than 126,000 acres ) on Olympic National Forest in nearly 30 years and the first ever Wild and Scenic River designations (for 19 rivers and their tributaries constituting 464 miles of river) on the Olympic Peninsula.
Recent news coverage has shown that Congressman Derek Kilmer has been listening to residents of the Olympic Peninsula about our opinions of the Wild Olympics proposal. The proposal advocates for new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations, strengthens existing protections and promotes clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, jobs and recreational opportunities. See the full proposal at www.WildOlympics.org.
Kilmer’s due diligence process has included many meetings over the last months with many of the stakeholders in the area. Attendees included members of the timber industry, recreation industry, businesses, faith leaders, sportsmen groups, and environmental groups including Sierra Club representatives and members.
The proposal will create the first new wilderness areas on the peninsula in 30 years and will produce the first-ever Wild and Scenic River designations in our area. Before being introduced in Congress last year by Congressman Norm Dicks and Senator Patty Murray, the measure was subject to three years of unprecedented community involvement, resulting in significant changes to ensure that the proposal would foster economic growth.
This widespread support stems from a realization that the economy of the Olympic Peninsula has changed dramatically. A bipartisan economic analysis concluded that the Wild Olympics proposal would have little or no impact on the local timber industry. Instead, the report found the proposal could provide significant economic benefits by building on the Peninsula’s current competitive strengths centered on its spectacular public lands that give it an edge over other rural counties in attracting the new residents, entrepreneurs and skilled workers driving its economy today.
For more information, go to http://wildolympics.org/