Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2015 to protect environmentally sensitive parts of the Olympic Peninsula, support outdoor recreation opportunities, and preserve and grow jobs on the Olympic Peninsula.
“The Olympic Peninsula is home to some of Washington state’s most prized wild spaces, and I look forward to working with Congressman Kilmer to make sure this pristine environment is preserved for generations to come,” said Senator Patty Murray.“This plan is the result of years of negotiation and compromise and would represent a strong step in the right direction—so I am thrilled to work with Congressman Kilmer to keep up the momentum and keep working to get this done.”
“As someone who grew up in Port Angeles, I’ve always said that we don’t have to choose between economic growth and environmental protection,” said Representative Kilmer. “We listened to small business owners, landowners, tribes, and environmental advocates in putting together a proposal that works for our local communities. It is part of a practical, balanced strategy to protect the natural beauty of our region while attracting businesses and helping them stay, grow, and invest in our future.”
The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act would designate 126,554 acres of existing federal land as wilderness in the Olympic National Forest and designate 464 river miles across 19 rivers and major tributaries on the Olympic Peninsula as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The wilderness designation permanently protects old growth and ancient forest habitat throughout the region. The Wild and Scenic Rivers designation would add federal recognition to the outstanding river systems on the Peninsula, protecting them as a source of clean drinking water and helping to keep Puget Sound clean for generations to come. This designation does not restrict private property rights.
Before introducing the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 2014, Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer spent a significant amount of time engaging with community members and local business leaders on the Olympic Peninsula. The bill was built off of legislation introduced by Senator Murray and former Representative Norm Dicks that was a result of nearly three years of public engagement with residents, business owners, organizations, and Native American tribes.
Areas in Mason County in the Wild Olympics proposal (all are in the Olympic National Forest):
Proposed as Wild & Scenic Rivers:
Proposed as Wilderness: