U.S. Representative Norm Dicks and U.S. Senator Patty Murray today released a draft proposal for Wilderness additions on the Olympic Peninsula in order to continue receiving input from the public and local communities on this critical issue. They also announced that they will be asking their local offices to hold a series of four public workshops next month to allow citizens and communities to provide additional feedback on the proposal.
"I am pleased to work with Senator Murray in developing a consensus plan to provide additional wilderness protection on the Olympic Peninsula," said Rep. Dicks. "Future generations will benefit from the increased protection of the watersheds and forests that make the Peninsula such a magnificent place. We will be continuing to gather public input as the process moves forward, taking into consideration economic development on the Peninsula as well as the protection of Tribal treaty rights."
"Washington residents take great pride in protecting our state's tremendous natural beauty," said Sen. Murray. "I will continue to work with the community as we work to preserve our state's special places while promoting our long-term economic growth and prosperity. I thank Representative Dicks for his leadership in this process, and I look forward to hearing from constituents in the coming months as we put together a proposal that works for our families, communities and state."
A wilderness and National Park expansion proposal was brought to the Congressional offices two years ago by several Peninsula based conservation groups. Rep. Dicks and Sen. Murray's staff did extensive outreach on this proposal and have a revised proposal that they would like to seek additional input on from the public.
The Olympic Wilderness proposal would provide additional protection for some of the most critical landscapes on the Olympic Peninsula. It would designate new wilderness areas on existing U.S. Forest Service land, add pristine rivers to the Wild and Scenic River System, and provide an opportunity for targeted Olympic National Park preserve additions through a willing-buyer, willing-seller process. The plan was developed with input from constituents and stakeholders in order to preserve these sensitive areas while maintaining working forests on the Peninsula.
The Olympic Wilderness proposal was crafted after more than a year was spent gathering input from local stakeholders and submitted to the offices of Representative Dicks and Senator Murray and would:
* Designate roughly 130,000 acres of new wilderness on Forest Service Land.
* Add 23 rivers within public land ownership to the Wild and Scenic River System.
* Provide the opportunity for Olympic National Park (ONP) to purchase up to 20,000 acres through a willing buyer, willing seller process for addition as a preserve to the Park. Currently, ONP cannot purchase land within their General Management Plan without Congressional Action.
* Protect hunting, fishing and recreational access.
Public Workshop Schedule
-Thursday, December 1, 2011. 5:00pm-7:00pm at the Chapel Building at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center. 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend, WA 98368
-Friday, December 2, 2011. 5:00pm-7:00pm at the Shelton Civic Center. 525 W Cota Street, Shelton, WA
-Saturday, December 3, 2011. 3:00pm-5:00pm at the Museum at the Carnegie. 207 S. Lincoln St., Port Angeles, WA
-Sunday, December 4, 2011. 3:00pm-5:00pm at the Central Elementary School Library. 310 Simpson Ave. Hoquiam, WA