February 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Sen. Patty Murray aims to expand protections of wilderness
Wild Olympics bill sees diverse support
I support the Wild Olympics bill [“Murray seeks to expand wild lands,” NWWednesday, Feb. 13]. Wild Olympics designates a wilderness buffer around Olympic National Park. The consultation process over the past four years earned support from groups that sometimes disagree. I urge readers to contact state Rep. Derek Kilmer and ask him to support the Wild Olympics bill.
There’s more you can do in designated wilderness than what you cannot. Hiking, camping, climbing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and berry picking are allowed. Mining, logging and motorized use are not.
No forest system roads are inside the 126,000 acres of proposed wilderness. This preserves public access. Existing roadways remain available for motorized uses, like snowmobiles and four-wheelers.
The proposed wilderness does not change existing trailheads. The place you start your hike today is the same place after the bill is passed.
The proposed wilderness does not close new areas to logging. It only affects land where logging is already off-limits, earning endorsement by a Port Angeles timber company and a mill in Cosmopolis.
Washington’s outdoor-recreation industry supports 115,000 jobs and contributes $11.7 billion per year. Other purely economic beneficiaries are in food, fishing, lodging, retail, real estate, fuel and services. Economics like this are especially powerful because they support family businesses on a recurring basis, year after year.
Please ask Kilmer to join 20 hunting and fishing organizations, 200 Olympic and Kitsap Peninsula businesses, Democrats, Republicans and conservationists, and support the Wild Olympics bill
–Tamara J. Gordy, Bremerton
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