Regarding Carol Johnson's editorial regarding the Wild Olympics Campaign ("Why Wild Olympics is NOT good for our region", Sequim Gazette, Feb. 8, page A-14):

Unfortunately Ms. Johnson glosses over some important facts about the effort. The conservation community is not about "wilderness at all costs." The local coalition of recreation and conservation organizations supporting the Wild Olympics Campaign insist that we can have a vibrant resilient economy and simultaneously protest and restore our forests and rivers. Through community dialogue the campaign has worked to balance these intertwined needs. In fact, many local economic leaders not only believe economic interests can be protected from increased protection, but in many cases enhanced. That's why more than 120 Peninsula business leaders support the campaign.

Ms. Johnson claims we already have "clean air and water, healthy streams and fish stocks and increased recreational opportunities." Yet, our fish stocks in the state of Washington have the unique distinction of having the most endangered species of any state in the continental United States and, according to the American Fisheries Society, the most depressed fisheries in North America. The Wild Olympics Campaign is working hard to correct that situation and restore our fisheries by permanently protecting our forests and rivers and their wild fish runs.

Here in Sequim we receive our drinking water from the Dungeness watershed. I for one do not take this important resource for granted. Its contribution to our community's economy is immeasurable. Further protecting this valuable natural resource is common sense.

As someone who studies the ocean's fisheries, it can be difficult to look beyond the threats and be optimistic. However, I'm very pleased to see the Wild Olympics Campaign doing what they can to protect our way of life, our diverse economy and restoring Puget Sound's ecosystems and fisheries.

Norman T. Baker