Congressman Dicks and Senator Murray
Introduce Wild Olympics Bill
With overwhelming popular support on the Olympic Peninsula and throughout western Washington, Congress Norm Dicks and Senator Patty Murray have introduced identical bills in the U.S. House and Senate that will protect thousands of acres of roadless National Forest Wilderness in the Olympics and designate portions of 19 Olympic rivers and 7 tributaries as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
The long-awaited Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012 was introduced on June 21. The bill offers permanent protection to 126,554 acres of Wilderness and an additional 5,346 acres of Potential Wilderness that could be designated once road decommissioning is completed. Included are many of Olympic National Forest’s most stunning unprotected wild lands. They include key recreation areas and important upper watersheds as well as critical habitats for fish and wildlife.
Among Forest Service areas included in the legislation are: scenic Deer Ridge and the lower Gray Wolf River valley, the north slopes of Mount Townsend, Jupiter Ridge, the popular Lena Lake area, South Fork Skokomish River and the splendid ancient forests of South Quinault Ridge and Moonlight Dome (for details on these areas see “New Wilderness for Olympic National Forest” in the Spring 2011 issue of the Voice).class ecological preserve.
Wild and Scenic River protections would extend to major portions of the Elwha, Gray Wolf-Dungeness, Dosewallips, Duckabush, Hamma Hamma, South Fork Skokomish, Wynoochee, Humptulips, Quinault, Queets, Hoh, Bogachiel, Calawah, and Sol Duc rivers. Wild and Scenic designation, the strongest protection a river can receive, ensures that the free-flowing character, water quality and outstanding values of these rivers will be protected for generations to come.
Unfortunately, no national park/preserve additions are included in the legislation. But the extensive Wilderness and Wild River protections in this bill amount to a land visionary conservation measure for the Olympics that is historic in its breadth.
Please write Congressman Dicks and Senator Murray thanking them for this bold initiative — and be sure to write Senator Cantwell as well as other members of the state’s congressional delegation urging their strong support of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Check links below for a map of the areas included and bill language.
And check this website for future developments.