Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Norm Dicks (D, WA-06) introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012 in the Senate and House of Representatives. This legislation would protect several key forest areas and rivers while preserving local jobs and access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
"The amazing natural treasures in the Olympic Peninsula are among the crown jewels of our state, and the Wild Olympics proposal will build on the strong foundation of conservation that has been laid down over generations," said Senator Patty Murray. "I was proud to work closely with Representative Dicks and the local community for over two years to arrive at the compromise proposal we are introducing today. Passing the Wild Olympics bill will be a huge victory for the Olympic Peninsula and Washington state, and I am going to fight hard to get that done."
"This legislation will protect sources of clean drinking water, preserve critical salmon and steelhead habitat, and protect the area economy," said Congressman Norm Dicks. "The feedback we have received from everyday citizens has played a vital role in the development of this legislation. The result has been a consensus proposal that will help protect these sensitive areas on the Olympic Peninsula and continue our progress to protect and restore Puget Sound and Hood Canal for future generations."
The Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012 was written in close consultation with Olympic Peninsula residents. For nearly three years, Murray and Dicks' offices held large community meetings and smaller individual meetings across the region to hear from local families, business owners, organizations and Native American Tribes. Changes and compromises were made to the initial proposal based on the public input received, particularly in minimizing the impact on any private landowners.
Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012
Designates 126,554 acres of new wilderness on Olympic National Forest.
An additional 5,346 acres of wilderness could be designated by future administrations.
Designates 19 rivers and 7 tributaries as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Preserves and enhances existing recreational access on the Olympic National Forest for future generations.
Protects drinking water and safeguards fisheries through conservation of critical watersheds.
Adds national recognition to the Peninsula's outstanding scenery and enhances an already strong tourism industry.
Common sense approach to conservation and job protection.