Washington Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Derek Kilmer have reintroduced the “Wild Olympics” wilderness legislation for the Olympic Peninsula. Please take a moment to read this message, contact your federal officials, and urge your friends, family and neighbors to do the same!
The Wild Olympics bill would put an additional 125,000 acres of the Olympic National Forest off-limits to responsible timber management and other activities. It would also impose additional restrictions along some of the 450 miles of rivers being designated as “Wild and Scenic.”
Unfortunately, this proposal fails to address the chronic unemployment and poverty largely attributed to the dramatic 90 percent decline in federal timber harvests on the Peninsula. Other communities in Southwest Washington, including those surrounding the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, are experiencing the same conditions.
Large portions of the Olympic Peninsula are already off-limits to economic activity that would benefit working families. About 90,000 acres of the Olympic National Forest and nearly one million acres of the Olympic National Park are already designated as Wilderness or already off-limits to multi-purpose forest management. We are harvesting just three percent of annual growth on the National Forest and only 13 percent of the timber volume that dies each year. There is a clear lack of balance in how we using our federal lands, and the problem won’t be resolved by closing off even more.
We believe it’s a mistake for Congress to add more wilderness and land-set asides without first focusing on creating more family wage jobs. If you agree, there are a couple easy ways you can help:
1. Call Senator Murray’s Tacoma office at (253) 572-3636 and/or Rep. Kilmer’s Port Angeles office at (360) 797-3623. Urge them to focus on assuring active, multi-use management in the Olympic National Forest before creating more wilderness and land set-asides.
2. Click here to send your elected officials a quick email explaining your concerns about the Wild Olympics bill. For your convenience, we have already drafted a letter you can personalize and send. It only take a few moments to send an important message to your representatives!
With your help, we can bring common sense back to federal forest policies and work toward creating the family wage jobs our communities need.