Senator Murray & Representative Kilmer Reintroduce Wild Olympics Bill (WA)
Citing benefits to Olympic Peninsula salmon recovery, local jobs, economy, & clean water, the Quinault, Quileute, Elwha, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribes and mayors of Port Angeles, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Port Townsend, Elma and Ocean Shores joined more than 800 local businesses, elected officials, farms, faith leaders, sportsmen, conservation & recreation groups now backing Wild Olympics
QUILCENE, Wash. (May 9, 2019) Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) reintroduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (S. 1382 and H.R. 2642) 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 salmon streams as well as enhance outdoor recreation, the legislation would set aside 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.
"I'm proud today to stand with Representative Kilmer and more advocates, elected officials, community leaders, tribes, and businesses than ever before to introduce this important legislation that will protect our priceless wild spaces for generations to come," said Senator Murray, who first introduced the legislation in 2012. "This proposal is the product of years of collaboration with local stakeholders and a shared commitment to preserving the precious natural features and resources of our prized Olympic Peninsula, and I look forward to bringing this new energy to our push to move this bill forward in Congress."
"As someone who grew up in Port Angeles, I've always said that we don't have to choose between economic growth and protecting our environment. We can and should do both," said Representative Kilmer. "I'm proud to support this practical, balanced strategy, that will protect the wildest and most pristine places on the Peninsula while ensuring we can keep and grow jobs in our natural resource industries and other sectors. I'm grateful for the partnership of Senator Murray and community leaders from across the region, including small business owners, landowners, environmental advocates, and tribes, who have been dedicated to finding a strategy that works for folks across the entire region."
The introduction was cheered by the Wild Olympics Coalition, which also today unveiled over 100 new endorsements from local Olympic Peninsula Tribes, 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 & Hood Canal area businesses, CEOs, elected officials, farms, faith leaders, sportsmen, and conservation and outdoor recreation groups to more than 800 endorsers, including the Quinault, Quileute, Elwha & Jamestown S'Klallam Tribes and the mayors of Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Ocean Shores & Elma, among many others. The new endorsements by local Olympic Peninsula Tribes, business owners, mayors and city councilmembers from all four counties of the Peninsula were collected over the last 8 months on letters addressed to Senator Murray and Rep. Kilmer. More than 12,000 local residents have signed petitions in support.
The legislation has been carefully crafted through extensive community input to ensure the proposal will have no impact on existing timber jobs. It would permanently protect critical salmon habitat and sources of clean drinking water for local communities, while also protecting and expanding world-class outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, camping, boating, hunting and fishing without closing any roads.
The new endorsements come after Local Olympic Peninsula Economic Leaders recently announced a new partnership with REI and 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.