Sportsmen for Wild Olympics have delivered signatures from more than 300 local sportsmen and women on a petition to Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer in support of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
According to the Wild Olympics campaign, the signers urge the lawmakers to pass the bill, because “Peninsula salmon, trout, and steelhead rely on cold, clean water from upper reaches of rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest. These headwaters & streams are at risk as private industry and small hydro developers try to roll back temporary safeguards on our public lands.”
These signatures follow new endorsements by over two dozen major hunting and fishing organizations and local guides who recently sent a letter to Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer urging action to safeguard this area.
Those signing the letter include Waters West Guide Service of Montesano, the Washington Wildlife Federation, Association of Northwest Steelheaders and others.
Both the petition and the letter state that “Only full, Congressionally-designated Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect backcountry elk habitat and sensitive salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development.” The group further notes that the final compromise legislation removed all roads from the proposed wilderness boundaries, ensuring Wild Olympics will not close roads or affect any road or trailhead access.
Sportsmen for Wild Olympics also released a new video called ”Salmon Streams for Our Future” to spotlight the headwaters, rivers and salmon that would be protected under the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and the threats they face without permanent protection. The video invites local hunters & anglers to visit the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics website and sign their online petition in support of the Wild Olympics legislation.
Representative Derek Kilmer and Senator Patty Murray reintroduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on January 16th. First introduced in June of 2012 following years of discussion, the measure would expand the wilderness area in the Olympic National Forest, creating a buffer around Olympic National Park.
According to the Wild Olympics campaign, they have received majority support from the Ocean Shores and Westport City Councils.
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners, Aberdeen City Council, and Cosmopolis City Council have all previously voted in opposition to the legislation.
The Hoquiam City Council previously voted saying they opposed the legislation as it was, but said they were willing to consider a revised plan.
According to Senator Patty Murray, based on additional public input, several changes have been made to the legislation to address concerns and strengthen sections about private landowners’ rights.
Senator Patty Murray
Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act – Senate Bill 1949
Referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Representative Derek Kilmer
Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2014 – House Bill 3922
Referred to the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.