Mr. Driscoll knows better. Before being introduced in Congress, these new wilderness protections were subject to three years of unprecedented community involvement, resulting in significant changes to ensure that the proposal would foster economic growth [“The problem with the ‘wild’ plan for Olympic National Forest,” Opinion, April 12]. As a result, the proposal earned the backing of dozens of Olympic Peninsula and southern Puget Sound mayors, city council members, county commissioners, state legislators, businesses, and sportsmen groups.
This widespread support stems from a realization that the economy of the Olympic Peninsula has changed dramatically from what Mr. Driscoll would have us believe is still one that is dominated by the timber industry.
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.
Mr. Driscoll is correct in his concern for the western side of the peninsula, which continues to struggle economically. But attacking well-designed proposals that ensure the future economic prosperity of the area ignores what else could be done to plan for sustainable economic growth. It would be good to see Mr. Driscoll broaden his concern in this regard.
Peter Guerrero, Port Townsend