The Wild Olympics Coalition today cheered a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (H.R. 2642). The legislation was introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) in May, and would permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Designed through extensive community input to protect ancient forests and clean water and enhance outdoor recreation, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness on Olympic National Forest in nearly three decades and the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.
It would permanently protect critical salmon habitat and sources of clean drinking water for local communities, while also protecting and expanding world-class outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, camping, boating, hunting and fishing without closing any roads. The legislation has been carefully crafted through extensive community input to ensure the proposal will have no impact on existing timber jobs.
Washington Wild is a founding member of the Wild Olympics Coalition, which has over 100 new endorsements from local Olympic Peninsula Tribes, elected officials and businesses rallying behind the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The new additions bring the total number of local Olympic Peninsula & Hood Canal area businesses, CEOs, elected officials, farms, faith leaders, sportsmen, and conservation and outdoor recreation groups to more than 800 endorsers, including the Quinault, Quileute, Elwha & Jamestown S’Klallam Tribes and the mayors of Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Ocean Shores & Elma, among many others. The new endorsements by local Olympic Peninsula Tribes, business owners, mayors and city councilmembers from all four counties of the Peninsula were collected over the last 8 months on letters addressed to Senator Murray and Rep. Kilmer. More than 12,000 local residents have signed petitions in support.
Read the full press release here:
The legislation has been carefully crafted through extensive community input to ensure the proposal will have no impact on existing timber jobs. It would permanently protect critical salmon habitat and sources of clean drinking water for local communities, while also protecting and expanding world-class outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, camping, boating, hunting and fishing without closing any roads.
The new endorsements come after Local Olympic Peninsula Economic Leaders recently announced a new partnership with REI and Patagonia to promote the Wild Olympics Campaign in REI’s flagship store and online to encourage their customers to visit the spectacular Olympic Peninsula. As part of the partnership, local elected officials from the Olympic Peninsula, the Wild Olympics Campaign, outdoor recreation groups, REI, and Patagonia unveiled a new “Destination Wild Olympics” map, highlighting some of the great recreation places in the Wild Olympics proposal. The map was designed with extensive input from local Olympic Peninsula business owners, economic development leaders and local elected officials, who announced their support for the initiative, calling it an amazing economic opportunity for the Peninsula.