Wild Olympics on the table

Sequim Gazette staff

On Jan. 23, Concerned Citizens of Clallam County — the “4-Cs” — will host a discussion of the issues surrounding the “Wild Olympics” initiative.


The plan, first proposed by a coalition of peninsula conservation organizations, has now been drawn up as a “draft proposal” by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Dicks and Murray’s plan is less ambitious in scope than the original Wild Olympics proposal, but it nevertheless would have a large impact on the way the forests of the Olympic Peninsula are maintained and utilized.


If the proposal is enacted into law, roughly 130,000 acres of new wilderness would be added to the 90,000 acres of wilderness now within U.S. Forest Service lands on the peninsula. A wilderness designation would remove the acreage from commercial use, including logging.


The proposal also calls for giving Olympic National Park authority to purchase up to 20,000 acres through a willing-buyer, willing-seller process, with the lands designated as a preserve. Preserves are protected from development, but tribal and nontribal hunting and fishing would be allowed. The land likely would be managed to ensure the continuing presence of game animals.


Another 23 rivers within public land ownership would be protected as part of the nation’s Wild and Scenic River System.


The 4-C’s forum will be held beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St.


Speakers include:

• Carol Johnson, North Olympic Timber Action Committee, speaking on the how Wild Olympics will affect the timber industry.


• Bill Pickell, former executive director, Washington Contract Loggers Association, will discuss how the project will affect logging on the peninsula. He also will talk about the impact of Wild Olympics, along with the re-introduction of the wolf, on peninsula hunting and recreation.


• Jim Gift, Wild Olympics Representative, will speak in favor of the proposed action.



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