ONE OF THE assumptions often made about the Wild Olympics Campaign is that it’s anti-hunting and fishing.

A group of Olympic Peninsula sportsmen from Aberdeen to Quilcene say that’s not the case.

In fact, the collection of hunters, anglers and guides formed “Sportsmen for Wild Olympics” in support of the campaign.

According to one of those sportsmen, Jason Bauscher of Lake Quinault, setting aside land for national preserves and Wild and Scenic River designations will enhance the Peninsula outdoors scene.

A website constructed by the group explains their position to area hunters and fishers at

“We put that website together to show the advantage for hunters and fishermen in part because some of the folks around here don’t know about these benefits,” Bauscher said.

“They think it’s possibly going to be administered by the National Park Service and that it would be administered just like everything else inside the park [where there is no hunting allowed and fishing opportunity is limited.]”

But that’s not the case, Bauscher said.

Rather, he said, preserved lands would function in much the same way as the Buckhorn Wilderness — two parcels of land bordering the eastern edge of Olympic National Park.

Buckhorn is one of the few places around the Peninsula where hunters can actually participate in the annual high buck hunt offered by the state.

Such land and scenic river designations would help protect and improve access to hunting and fishing opportunities on the Peninsula, Bauscher said.

“The other folks in our group make their living by fishing,” said Bauscher, a hunter, angler and former timber industry employee.

“They support it because, first of all, they care about being able to fish it, and, second of all, they care about their livelihood that depends upon habitat conservation and access.”

Among those showing support for the campaign are Peninsula fishing guides Norrie Johnson, Doug Rose, Bob Triggs and Roy Morris.

Former Greywolf Flyfishing Club President Dave Bailey has also shown his support, as well as organizations and businesses like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Waters West Fly Fishing Outfitters and Washington Council of Trout Unlimited.

“As an outdoor writer, fly fishing guide, and avid duck and grouse hunter, I welcome the additional protections that the Campaign for a Wild Olympics is proposing,” Rose said in a news release.

“They will help safeguard the water quality that anadromous fish require, and preserve the upper basin spawning grounds of species like cutthroat, summer steelhead and bull trout.

“I will still be able to hunt in all of the areas proposed by the campaign, and I will be able to bring my black Labrador retriever, Ruby.”

Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray put forth an alternative to Wild Olympics called Path Forward on Olympic Watersheds Protection Proposal.

The amount of private land purchased by Olympic National Park under that proposal has been reduced from the Wild Olympics plan, from 37,000 acres to 20,000.

The amount of U.S. Forest Service acreage designated under the new proposal would also be less than that of the Wild Olympics plan — 130,000 instead of 134,000.

Still, Bauscher and others from the campaign have expressed support for the proposal.

“I was excited to see that the national preserve option was the one they went with rather than the national park option,” he said.

“It doesn’t give as much land as the Wild Olympics campaign had been initially proposing, but I trust Congressman Dicks and Senator Murray.

“I have to believe that Congressman Dicks and Senator Murray had good reasons to do that.”

Two public workshops on the proposal will be held on the Peninsula.

The first meeting is set for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in Port Townsend at the chapel building at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center, 200 Battery Way.

The second meeting will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Museum at Carnegie, 207 S. Lincoln St., in Port Angeles.