I’m not talking about the recent winter Olympics, this is much more regional.
In January, Representative Derek Kilmer and Senator Patty Murray reintroduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, in reference to Washington State’s resources and the headwaters on the Olympic Peninsula.
Being an “Olympic Peninsulan” by birth and upbringing, this issue raises great interest here on the home front.
I’m not one that usually will jump in on environmental actions as many of them seem to have personal and hidden agendas. I don’t feel that is the case here.
From what I understand, this “act” should permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of backcountry in the Olympic National Forest from future development, which includes logging. Don’t get me wrong here, as I have had many friends and family who were damn fine “environmentalists” in the logging industry over the years, but, I question if this act will have any effect on logging as the area proposed is outside of the current logging zones.
On the plus side, this safeguards sensitive salmon and steelhead spawning grounds on 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and their major tributaries plus it puts a buffer around the Olympic National park and vital elk/wildlife habitat.
Another compromise is that it will not close a single yard of the 2,250 miles of roads in the national forest or affect any trailheads, still allowing valuable access for sportfishing or other outdoor recreation.
One of the strongest proponents of this is an organization named Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and they are supported by dozens of major fishing and hunting organizations, local guides and leading outdoor groups. I suggest you check them out at www.SportsmenforWildOlympics.org.
I currently see this as a win-win for all outdoor enthusiasts and it could well be the salvation of rivers and fishing on the Olympic Peninsula. That is, if the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife doesn’t get involved.