Quilcene, WA – The Wild Olympics Campaign, a Quilcene-based coalition of conservation and recreation groups welcomed the findings in a new report from Headwaters Economics. The Campaign commissioned the study to examine the broader economy of the entire Olympic Peninsula and potential effects of the draft watershed conservation plan issued by Congressman Dicks and Senator Murray in November of 2011.
The independent economic study concluded that the draft Congressional Wild Olympics proposal would likely have little downside, but provide significant upside for the Peninsula’s economy. It showed that over the last ten years, the Peninsula’s economy as a whole grew at a faster rate than any other non-metro part of Washington State, driven in part by the incredible natural amenities our region has to offer.
The report concluded the draft congressional proposal would have little or no impact on the local timber industry. Instead, the Headwaters Economics report found the proposal could provide significant economic benefits by building on the Peninsula’s current competitive strengths centered around its spectacular public lands. The study indicated the Peninsula’s stunning scenery, ancient forests, rivers, clean water, outdoor recreation opportunities, quality of life and natural amenities give it an edge over other rural counties in attracting the new residents, entrepreneurs and skilled workers driving its current strong economic growth.
Wild Olympics Coalition member Jim Gift, Conservation Chair for Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, recently retired to Sequim after 30 years of experience consulting for industry and municipalities in the private sector, said he welcomed the findings in the report. “This report confirms what we’ve been hearing from our local business supporters – the Peninsula’s incredible natural amenities give our economy a competitive edge that is driving strong growth and Wild Olympics would add significantly to these strengths,” said Gift. “We are also pleased to see that the draft proposal would have little or no impact to the timber industry.”
The Wild Olympics enjoys broad support from the Peninsula’s local business community. Nearly 150 local businesses, farms, fishing guides and other business interests across all four counties of the Peninsula have endorsed Wild Olympics. (Full supporter list can be found here: http://www.wildolympics.org/supporters )
Here’s what some of the Peninsula’s local business leaders have said regarding their support for the Wild Olympics:
Bill Taylor (President, Taylor Shellfish Farms – Shelton, WA)
“Hood Canal is home to the two largest hatcheries that supply seed to the West Coast shellfish industry—which directly supports more than 150 local jobs and many more in related industries such as processing, sales and shipping. By protecting Olympic Peninsula forest and river watersheds, we ensure clean and safe water so that shellfish companies can continue to grow and benefit the economy and ecology of Washington State. These watersheds are also natural filters for drinking water and vital to a healthy Hood Canal and Puget Sound. We must do all we can to protect the peninsula forest and river watersheds to guarantee our inland waters stay clear and sparkling. Today folks in the Wild Olympics Campaign are coming together to find the best way to do just that—to find common ground to protect our wild forests and rivers for the clean water and salmon we need.”
Mark and Desiree Dodson (Owners, Westport Inn – Westport, WA)
“The Olympic Peninsula and our beautiful coast draw visitors from all over. During our 22 years in Westport, we’ve watched people come here to fish, clam, surf, bird watch, hike, camp, beachcomb and otherwise enjoy our wild coast. They stay in motels like ours, eat in local restaurants, shop in area stores, or choose to make their homes here–keeping our community’s cash registers ringing. In Grays Harbor County, travel spending alone brought in more than $253 million in 2009–directly supporting 4,900 jobs–nearly 16 percent of our county’s employment.
Doug Rose (Fishing Guide – Forks, WA)
“As an outdoor writer, fly fishing guide, and avid duck and grouse hunter, I welcome the additional protections that Congressman Dicks and Senator Murray are proposing. They will help protect the water quality that anadromous fish require, and preserve the upper basin spawning grounds of species like cutthroat, summer steelhead and bull trout. And I will still be able to take my clients to hunt and fish in all of the areas in the proposal and bring along my black Labrador retriever, Ruby."
John Yonich (Owner, D & R Theatre, Backstage Espresso, Scoops Ice Cream and Amore' Restaurant – Aberdeen, WA)
“I’ve sold, molded, bought, cut and shipped millions of board feet of wood products over the years. And I know our ancient rainforests are like nowhere else on Earth. People from all over the world come to marvel at the towering fir, spruce, and cedars in our forests. Fishermen come from all points to fish our rivers. Nearly 4,900 jobs—16 percent of all employment in our county—are dependent on travel dollars. I’m just one of 40 local Harbor businesses to support the Wild Olympics effort. Investors need certainty and want to know that what brings people here now will be here decades into the future. Wild Olympics can provide that. Let’s not miss this opportunity.”
The full report and news release can be viewed at http://headwaterseconomics.org/wphw/wp-content/uploads/olympic-peninsula-release.pdf