As a local supporter of the Wild Olympics Campaign, I was surprised to see the letter from a fellow reader commenting on how Olympic national park was a “tax sinkhole.”

So I decided to do a bit of research

ONP is consistently one of our most visited and popular national parks.

In 2009 alone, more than 3 million visitors enjoyed its ancient forests, wild rivers and waterfalls.

An impact report conducted in 2000 showed that Olympic National Park visitors spent $90 million in the local area, generating $29 million in direct personal income, wages and salaries for local residents and supporting 1,900 jobs in area tourism businesses.

Another $27 million in sales were generated through secondary effects, as visitor spending circulates through the local economy.

No doubt the Park and the surrounding wilderness areas that draw visitors continue to play a beneficial role in our economy today.

The benefits do not end there.

Protected forests and rivers are great for salmon habitat and support our commercial, sport and subsistence fishing industry.

Many communities around the Peninsula receive their clean water from our watersheds that originate in protected areas.

Here in Sequim, the Dungeness is not only a major source of our drinking water but also the lifeblood of the valley’s agricultural industry.

Its origins are in the park and it flows through the Buckhorn Wilderness Area.

As someone who cares about the overall health of my local community, both economic and otherwise, I applaud Congressman (Norm) Dicks and Senator (Patty) Murray’s efforts to move forward with a watershed protection proposal.

Dr. Crystal Tack