Forest and Rivers

The Wild Olympics Campaign envisions durable, long-term protection for the Olympic Peninsula’s sensitive forest and river watersheds and wildlife habitats: new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers designations.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

The Olympic Peninsula’s rivers are quintessential wild and scenic rivers. They are home to some of the strongest remaining runs of wild salmon and steelhead in the Northwest and are the life blood of Puget Sound. Yet many of these rivers, such as the Hamma Hamma and the Dungeness, lack permanent protection against dams, hydropower, water storage projects, and other threats. Wild and Scenic designation would ensure that these rivers remain wild and free-flowing rivers for generations to come. The Campaign is proposing Wild and Scenic River designation only for contiguous river stretches flowing through state or federal lands. We are not proposing Wild and Scenic River designation for any river stretches that flow through private lands unless the landowner approves. There are only six designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Washington state and none on the Olympic Peninsula. Neighboring Oregon boasts more than 50.

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There are many roadless lands and headwaters on Olympic National Forest, such as Mt. Townsend and South Quinault Ridge, that are important upper watersheds for many fish stocks. They provide clean and safe drinking water to local communities and offer outstanding scenery, old-growth forests and trails. But these public forests are not permanently protected from development such as logging or road building. Wilderness designation would restore and protect these special places, safeguarding habitat, providing outdoor recreational destinations and helping prevent against future flooding. Hunting, fishing, horsepacking, camping, hiking, paddling, berry picking, backpacking, snowshoeing, birding and a wide range of other non-mechanized recreational activities are allowed in National Forest wilderness areas.

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© Javin Elliff