Wild Olympics Act Reintroduced as Local Support Increases (WA)
By: Thomas O'Keefe
Citing benefits to local Olympic Peninsula jobs, economy, clean water & salmon, more than 700 local businesses, elected officials, farms, faith leaders, sportsmen, conservation & recreation groups now backing Wild Olympics
QUILCENE, Wash. – The Wild Olympics Coalition today cheered the reintroduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (S.483 and H.B.1285) by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer 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. Designed through extensive community input to protect ancient forests, clean water, and enhance outdoor recreation, the legislation would, if enacted, 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 Wild Olympics Coalition also unveiled today over 150 new endorsements from local Olympic Peninsula elected officials and businesses rallying behind the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The new additions bring the total number of local Olympic Peninsula businesses, CEOs, elected officials, farms, faith leaders & sportsmen, and conservation and outdoor recreation groups to more than 700 endorsers, including the mayors of Port Townsend, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores & Elma, among many others. The new endorsements by local Olympic Peninsula business owners, mayors and city councilmembers from all four counties of the Peninsula were collected over the last several months on a sign-on letter addressed to Senator Murray and Rep. Kilmer. More than 12,000 local residents have signed petitions in support.
The new endorsements 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 online to encourage their customers to visit the spectacular Olympic Peninsula. As part of the partnership, local elected officials from the Olympic Peninsula, the Wild Olympics Campaign, outdoor recreation groups, REI, and Patagonia unveiled a new “Destination Wild Olympics” MAP, highlighting some of the great recreation places in the Wild Olympics proposal. The map was designed with extensive input from local Olympic Peninsula business owners, economic development leaders and local elected officials, who announced their support for the initiative, calling it an amazing economic opportunity for the Peninsula.