More than 550 local businesses, elected officials, sportsmen, conservation & recreation groups cheer another step for Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act
QUILCENE, Wash. – The Wild Olympics Coalition today unveiled over 100 new endorsements from local Olympic Peninsula elected officials and businesses rallying behind the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The growing support comes as the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold the first Congressional hearing for the bill.
The new endorsements add to the broad local public support calling for permanent protection of the Peninsula’s clean water, ancient forests and salmon streams. The new additions bring the total number of local businesses, elected officials, faith leaders & sportsmen, conservation and outdoor recreation groups to more than 550 endorsers.
The Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer last spring to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.  If enacted, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness on Olympic National Forest in nearly three decades and the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.
The new endorsements by local Olympic Peninsula business owners, county commissioners, mayors and city council members from all four counties of the Peninsula were collected over the last year on two different sign-on letters addressed to Senator Murray and Rep. Kilmer. In the letters the local officials and business owners stated that:
“As local elected officials, business owners and other stakeholders representing the four counties of the Olympic Peninsula, we are writing to express our support and appreciation for the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act… Our ancient forests, rivers and streams offer priceless natural amenities that make the Northwest such a wonderful place to live, and indeed, give the Evergreen State its name. They provide clean water, scenic beauty, solitude, fish and wildlife habitat, world-class outdoor recreation opportunities and an unrivaled quality of life for our region…
“…This proposal would help protect the economic future for the Olympic Peninsula. Our streams and waterways support a vibrant fishing and shellfish industry, attract millions of dollars in tourism annually, support a thriving outdoor industry and provide clean drinking water to our residents. They provide the stunning scenery and a high “Quality of Life” that attracts entrepreneurs, new residents and investment in our communities….. These outdoor enthusiasts spend their money at local businesses on the Olympic Peninsula, stopping for gas, eating at local restaurants, finding lodging, and purchasing supplies for their day of hiking, hunting, fishing, rafting, kayaking, camping, biking, or horseback riding in these pristine areas.”
….We are also thankful that this legislation has been carefully revised many times over to avoid impacting more traditional sectors of the economy like timber production. We appreciate the inclusive, three-year public process that has been embraced in the development of this legislation. The proposal strikes a balance between providing lasting and durable protection for the remaining intact watersheds on the Olympic Peninsula while preserving and enhancing existing recreational access and ensuring no impact to current timber jobs. No roads are included in the proposed Wilderness and the proposal will not impact the current Forest Service decision making process related to travel management….”
The new endorsements & Senate hearing come after Local Olympic Peninsula Economic Leaders recently announced a new partnership with REI & Patagonia to promote the Wild Olympics Campaign in REI’s flagship store and on online to encourage their customers to visit the spectacular Olympic Peninsula.
Wild Olympics Photo Gallery for Media use: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67837154@N04
Wild Olympics Campaign * P.O. Box 214, Quilcene, WA 98376 * www.wildolympics.org
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