Tag Archive for Olympic Peninsula

Sportsmen for Wild Olympics announce new endorsements & video

Sportsmen for Wild Olympics

A group of Olympic Peninsula hunters, anglers, and guides of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics delivered signatures last week from more than 300 local sportsmen and women on a petition to Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer in support of their new legislation to permanently protect headwaters and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest and enhance access.  The signers urge the lawmakers to keep the ancient forests and free-flowing rivers wild, because “Peninsula salmon, trout, and steelhead rely on cold, clean water from upper reaches of rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest. These headwaters & streams are at risk as private industry and small hydro developers try to roll back temporary safeguards on our public lands.”

This new support comes on the heels of new endorsements by over two dozen major hunting and fishing organizations and local guides, including nineteen leading sportsmen groups and Peninsula guides who recently sent a joint letter to Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer urging action to safeguard this area.  Those signing the letter include Piscatorial Pursuits (Forks), Waters West Guide Service (Montesano), Angler’s Obsession (Forks), Little Stone Fly Fisher (Port Townsend), Johnson Guide Service (Sequim), Anadromy Fly Fishing (Forks), Game On! Guide Service (Shelton), Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics (Forks), Able Guide Service (Seiku), Gray Wolf Fly Fishing Club (Sequim), Peninsula Sportsman (Port Townsend), Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, the Wild Steelhead Coalition, the Northwest Guides & Anglers Association, the Washington Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Association of Northwest Steelheaders and others.

 

Both the petition and the letter state that “Only full, Congressionally-designated Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect backcountry elk habitat and sensitive salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development.” The group further notes that the final compromise legislation removed all roads from the proposed wilderness boundaries, ensuring Wild Olympics will not close roads or affect any road or trailhead access.

 

Sportsmen for Wild Olympicsalso released a new video: ”Salmon Streams for Our Future” to spotlight the headwaters, rivers and salmon that would be protected under the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and the threats they face without permanent protection. It highlights the long list of support for Wild Olympics from 27 leading hunting & fishing organizations and local guides, and features stunning footage of spawning salmon shot by acclaimed local filmmaker John Gussman. An interview with Sequim fishing guide & Sportsmen for Wild Olympics co-founder Norrie Johnson explains how the legislation is vital to protecting the headwaters, rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest that local anglers depend on for salmon & steelhead fishing. The video closes with a call for hunters & anglers to visit the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics website and sign their online petition in support of the Wild Olympics legislation.

 

Dave Bailey, Past President of the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Sequim, WA and a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics says the group is releasing the video to show people that the threats to local salmon streams are real and that Wild Olympics is broadly supported in the local sportsmen community.

“People think that because these areas appear as they’ve always been, that they are safe.  That is the furthest thing from the truth,” said Bailey. “There is a determined effort in Congress to roll back safeguards on our public lands and open these sensitive spawning grounds to small hydro development, industrial clear-cutting and more road building once more.  That’s bad for fish, game, and sportsmen” said Bailey.

The Sportsmen are concerned that without immediate action on this issue, extreme logging legislation before Congress and the renewed push for small-hydro project development in Washington State are putting the remote backcountry headwaters and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest at risk.  (Click here to read the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics threats report, “Our Rivers & Headwaters at Risk”)

Aaron O’Leary, a member of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and owner and head guide of Angler’s Obsession (Forks, WA),  put it plainly; “Supporting Wild Olympics will help preserve the salmon and steelhead fishing on the Olympic Peninsula for future generations.”  (Click here to see profiles of all the members of Sportsmen For Wild Olympics “About Us” )

 

Many area hunters and anglers have long been supportive of legislation introduced earlier by Sen. Murray and former Rep. Dicks, and participated in the four year public process initiated by local stakeholders and the lawmakers to craft a balanced protection plan for upper watersheds on Olympic Forest.

The Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Leaders have also updated their website to help dispel some of the myths about Wild Olympics & access, highlighting the fact that it will not close one single mile of the 2,250 miles of roads on Olympic National Forest and that Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers protect and enhance hunting & fishing access (Click Here to Read Wild Olympics Protects & Enhances Access Without Closing Roads).   “Wild Olympics will not only protect water quality and fish, but enhance public access,” said Roy Morris, Jr., a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and Owner/Head Guide for Able Guide Service out of Seiku, on the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula. Dave Bailey added that “Wild and Scenic Rivers are managed to protect and enhance the values that make them eligible for designation that include recreational pursuits such as sportfishing.”

“We must not lose this critical opportunity to conserve and protect the headwaters and watershed forests that are vital to our wild fish, birds and wildlife,” said Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide Bob Triggs of Port Townsend — one of the co-founders of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics. “It is far simpler and less expensive to conserve the wilderness habitat that we have, rather than to attempt to restore these places later. The value of some wild places cannot be measured in money.”

 

“Only Congressionally-designated wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect core backcountry elk habitat and critical salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development,” said Dave Bailey.  “The Wild Olympics legislation would give our fish, wildlife and salmon streams the gold standard of protection they deserve.”

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Video “Salmon Streams for Our Future”

 

·             Sportsmen For Wild Olympics Threats Report “Our Rivers & Headwaters at Risk”

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics About Us

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Website: www.SportsmenForWildOlympics.org

Coalition cheers Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2014

Wild Olympics Coalition

QUILCENE, Wash. (Jan. 17) A broad and diverse coalition of Olympic Peninsula community members cheered the introduction today of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2014 by Representative Derek Kilmer and Senator Patty Murray.  The measure, similar to that introduced in the last Congress, by Senator Murray and former Congressman Norm Dicks would permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of ancient and mature forests on Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and their major tributaries as Wild and Scenic.

“Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer deserve tremendous thanks for working to ensure that our beloved Olympic Peninsula will be here for our grandchildren,” said Connie Gallant, chair of the Quilcene-based Wild Olympics Coalition. “This landmark legislation will protect the Olympic Peninsula’s ancient forests, free-flowing rivers and stunning scenery for all time. It will safeguard critical salmon habitat and sources of clean drinking water for our local communities, protecting our unmatched quality of life on the Peninsula. We are extremely grateful to Representative Kilmer for continuing the work begun years ago by Representative Norm Dicks and Senator Murray to protect the Wild Olympics. It is testament to the commitment and hard work of Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer that we may — for the first time in nearly 30 years — see new wilderness on Olympic National Forest, as well as the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.”

 

“Safeguarding our natural environment is a key to providing steady and sustainable income to our rural economies,” said Roy Nott, an Aberdeen Business Leader and former Timber Company Executive. “The Olympic Peninsula’s stunning scenery sport fishing, clamming, hiking, hunting, bird watching and other forms of outdoor recreation all contribute to our local economic health and are critical to attracting and retaining the highly skilled employees that growing, technology-based companies want and need.”

 

“This bill will protect and promote the same spectacular public lands and high quality of life that are helping to drive growth and create local jobs in real estate, construction and many other sectors of our economy today,” said Harriet Reyenga, an independent realtor for Windermere Real Estate in Port Angeles. “Our ancient forests, salmon, rivers and amazing landscapes are the north Olympic Peninsula’s competitive economic advantage over other regions.”  Reyenga, who won the 2012 Realtor Achievement Award from the Port Angeles Association of Realtors, added, “We should do all we can to protect and promote these natural treasures. The Wild Olympics legislation will do both.”

 

“People think that because these areas appear as they’ve always been, that they are safe,” said Dave Bailey, Past President of the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Sequim, WA and a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics www.SportsmenForWildOlympics.org.  “Unfortunately, that is the furthest thing from the truth.  There is a determined effort in Congress to roll back safeguards on our public lands and open these sensitive spawning grounds to small hydropower development, industrial clear-cutting and more road building once more.  That’s bad for fish, game, and sportsmen.  This legislation is critical to preserve what we have.”

 

“Places like lower Gray Wolf, Lena Lake, South Fork Skokomish and South Quinault Ridge deserve the ‘gold standard’ of protection, and that is what this visionary bill provides,” said Tim McNulty, of Sequim, Wild Olympics Coalition member and author of Olympic National Park: A Natural History. “The conservation community has been working for decades to safeguard these unparalleled areas.  Today is a day to celebrate, but now we must work to get this important legislation passed by Congress and signed into law.  Future generations deserve no less.”

 

“The two largest shellfish hatcheries that supply seed to the West Coast industry are located on Hood Canal, said Bill Taylor President, of Taylor Shellfish in Shelton. “Well over 150 jobs are provided in Hood Canal alone by the industry, not including the indirect jobs such as processing, sales and shipping. By taking a watershed approach to protecting Olympic Peninsula forests and rivers we ensure clean and safe water so that shellfish companies can continue to grow and further benefit the economy and ecology of Washington state.”


“As an outdoor recreation business owner and an avid outdoorsman, my livelihood depends on clean, free-flowing rivers, said Morgan Colonel, the Owner of Olympic Raft and Kayak, Port Angeles I managed a Jackson Hole river company during the designation of the Snake River as Wild & Scenic, and saw firsthand the benefits of safeguarding this vital waterway. Active outdoor recreation contributes more than $11.7 billion annually to Washington’s economy, and supports 115,000 jobs. Businesses like mine depend on access to the high quality natural resources the Olympic Peninsula is known for. Protecting these resources is an investment in our region’s economic future, and the smart thing to do.”

 

Wild Olympics is endorsed by more than 470 local businesses, farms, faith leaders, local elected officials, hunting, fishing and recreation groups: www.wildolympics.org/supporters/endorsements

Kilmer Releases Detailed Economic Development Plan for Olympic Peninsula

OLYMPIC PENINSULA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

In light of the persistent high unemployment rate on the Olympic Peninsula and after months of meetings with constituents to discuss ways to improve the economy, today Representative Derek Kilmer released the Olympic Peninsula Economic Development Initiative. This six-point plan lays out ideas, bills, and tools to strengthen the foundations of economic growth, promote innovation and entrepreneurism, and to protect natural resources.

Click here to read Representative Kilmer’s Olympic Peninsula Economic Development Initiative.

“Over the course of the last year, I’ve met with a wide range of constituents to discuss just what it will take to get our local economy really going again,” Representative Kilmer wrote in the Olympic Peninsula Economic Development Initiative. “As someone who was born and raised on the Peninsula and spent a decade working in economic development, I know we actually have a lot of the key building blocks in place. We have a skilled workforce, strong ports, abundant natural resources, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are laying the foundation for long-term economic growth.

“It’s also clear that the federal government can help leverage these strengths to boost our local economy. That is why I am putting forward the Olympic Peninsula Economic Development Initiative—to outline ways in which we can advance policies that will help spur economic growth, strengthen the long-term viability of key industries, and protect our precious natural resources for future generations.”

The six components of the Olympic Peninsula Economic Development Initiative are:

Growing Opportunities in the Timber Industry

Bringing Jobs Back to America, Invest in Rural Areas

Enhancing Our Infrastructure

Protecting Our Fisheries

Supporting Innovation and New Market Opportunities

Promoting Competitiveness through Life-Long Learning

OLYMPIC PENINSULA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

Senator Murray, Representative Kilmer Introduce Legislation to Protect Olympic Peninsula

Ancient Temperate Rainforest in the South Quinault Ridge Proposed Wilderness.

(Washington, D.C.) – After extensive engagement and discussion with residents and local business leaders on the Olympic Peninsula, today Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2014 in the Senate and House of Representatives.  As part of an ongoing effort to preserve and grow jobs on the Olympic Peninsula, this legislation would protect some of the most environmentally sensitive parts of our region for future generations while protecting access to outdoor recreation opportunities and private landowners’ rights.

Map: Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

Proposed Wild & Scenic Rivers Within the Wild Olympics Act of 2014

Proposed Wilderness Within the Wild Olympics Act of 2014

 

“The Olympic Peninsula’s wild spaces are among Washington state’s crown jewels, and the Wild Olympics proposal supports the foundation of conservation developed over generations,” said Senator Patty Murray.  “This plan is the result of several years of negotiation and compromise and I am thrilled to reintroduce today with Representative Kilmer, with whom I have done additional work prior to reintroduction.  This legislation is a step in the right direction to protect our most treasured places for our kids and grandkids, and I look forward to working with Representative Kilmer to pass this bill into law.”

“As someone who grew up in Port Angeles and saw first-hand the economic impact of the decline of the timber industry, I’ve always said that economic growth and environmental protection is not an either-or choice: we’ve got to do both. That’s why I brought industry and environmental leaders together to form a collaborative effort to increase harvest in our federal forests and protect the environment and it’s why I am introducing this bill today,” said Representative Kilmer. “This proposal is part of a practical, balanced economic development strategy to not only protect the natural beauty of our area for generations to come, but to help attract businesses to our region and help them stay, grow and invest for the future.”

 

This legislation 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 some 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 the Puget Sound clean for generations to come and does not place restrictions on private property rights.

 

Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of  2014  builds off of legislation introduced in 2012 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. Based on additional public input, Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer made several changes to the legislation to address concerns and strengthen sections about private landowners’ rights.

Hoh rain forest dweller featured in TV series

By By CRAIG SAILOR TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — It’s easy to understand why people occasionally report sightings of Bigfoot in the mossy forests of the Olympic Peninsula. What else could explain a fast-moving biped with long flowing hair climbing trees and plunging into icy streams?… …read more

From: AP Washington News

    

New grassroots partnership aims to improve grass, roots, on Olympic National Forest

Goals include:

 

  • Increasing the amount of acres treated and total harvest volume produced in forest restoration projects under the Northwest Forest Plan and increasing the number and footprint of aquatic and other non-thinning related restoration projects.

 

  • Creating a framework of agreement on the type and locations of forest restoration treatments that benefit the ecosystem and provide for increased harvest levels under the Northwest Forest Plan.

 

  • Improving treatment effectiveness and working to reduce the time and cost required to plan and prepare projects through increased efficiencies for the Forest Service.

 

  • Creating a framework of agreement around innovative forest practices, treatments and techniques that integrate ecological, social, and economic goals, and exploring whether the Adaptive Management Area (AMA) established under the Northwest Forest Plan provides an opportunity to test these alternative approaches.

 

  • Collaborating on specific projects, as needed, to create an environment that reduces conflict and seeks to achieve a common vision about the future of the Olympic National Forest. 

 

  • Creating a forum for addressing any problems that stand in the way of accomplishing our stated goals with the active involvement of federal elected and agency officials.

 

Organizations and representatives supporting the Olympic Peninsula Collaborative include:

American Forest Resource Council

American Whitewater

Cosmo Specialty Fibers

Green Creek Wood Products

Interfor

Merrill & Ring

The Mountaineers

Murphy Company

Olympic Park Associates

Olympic Forest Coalition

Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society

Pew Charitable Trusts

Sierra Pacific Industries

Simpson Lumber Company

Washington Wild

Wild Olympics Campaign

 

The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative, modeled on similar partnerships elsewhere in Washington state and around the country, is a grassroots, stakeholder driven partnership and the first of its kind to be solely devoted to building greater consensus around public lands on the Olympic Peninsula.  Since early this year, Representative Kilmer has convened discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders on solutions to problems facing the Olympic National Forest including a field hearing in August in Port Angeles dealing with collaborative forest harvest agreements. 

 

“I have always said that we don’t have to choose between economic development and environmental protection. This is the beginning of a long-term partnership that I hope will help prove that’s true,” said Representative Derek Kilmer. “The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative will show we can build consensus and can bring folks together to simultaneously create a more environmentally healthy forest, provide for increased, sustainable timber harvests on the Olympic National Forest, and provide economic benefits to timber communities on the Peninsula.”

 

“We thank Congressman Kilmer for bringing all parties to the table to focus on areas where we agree rather than disagree.” said Olympic Forest Coalition President Connie Gallant and Olympic Park Associates Vice President Tim McNulty in a joint statement. “This collaborative process will improve habitat conditions in the forests and streams on the Olympic Peninsula for a range of species. Currently, there are thousands of acres of dense and structurally simple forest on the ONF that provide poor habitat. Increasing the amount of carefully designed, habitat restoration thinning treatments in these types of forests will improve diversity and encourage the development of more complex, older forest conditions. Combining thinning with holistic watershed restoration projects will improve water quality and fish & wildlife habitat. OFCO and OPA will be helping to craft and monitor these projects to ensure they follow the best available science and the Northwest Forest Plan.”

 

“The current approach to managing the Olympic National Forest is not meeting the economic, social, and ecological needs of the forest or communities on the Peninsula.  Common sense solutions to create jobs through increased active, sustainable timber management on the Olympic National Forest is urgently needed to address chronic local unemployment and poverty rates that are among the highest in the state and nearly double those of the Seattle area,” said Matt Comisky, Washington Manager of the American Forest Resource Council.  “The volume of timber currently harvested from the Olympic National Forest is less than 10 percent of historic levels, only 13 percent of the volume of timber that dies each year, and a mere 3 percent of the annual forest growth.  Our industry looks forward to working with Congressman Kilmer and other partners to promote more balanced, innovative approaches to timber management that provide a sustainable future for our industry and the local communities as part of continued discussions about the future of the Olympic National Forest.” 

VA Mobile Vet Center to visit Olympic Peninsula

VA uses Mobile Outreach Teams as a way to increase access to counseling services for Veterans and their families in rural and underserved communities across the country. If you are a Veteran or active duty servicemember who has served in a combat zone in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or Afghanistan,  you may be eligible for free counseling.  If you find yourself to be easily angered or startled, have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy, find yourself re-experiencing traumatic events, or avoiding things that remind you of those events, having difficulty in concentration or memory, or feel that you are emotionally numb towards others, please come and talk to a counselor to determine if you could benefit from counseling.  VA benefits and referrals are available to all qualifying Veterans regardless of combat service status.

VA has 300 Vet Centers serving communities across the country, offering individual and group counseling for Veterans and their families, family counseling for military related issues, bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, military sexual trauma counseling and referral, outreach and education, VA benefits explanation and referral, and screening and referral for medical issues including traumatic brain injury and depression.  For more information on services provided visit www.vetcenter.va.gov

Dinner and a movie for Wild Olympics supporters

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Over 120 Grays Harbor supporters of Wild Olympics, including business owners, and other community leaders, attended a screening of the film “Out of the Mist” about the forests and streams of the Olympic Peninsula at the Aberdeen Elks on Wednesday, October 2nd. Campaign consultant Al Carter tells us the dinner was a “Thank You” to their longtime supports.

Third batch of State Route 520 Bridge Pontoons to float from Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The third cycle of pontoons headed for the State Route 520 bridge will float out of the Aberdeen casting basin later this week. 

SR520 Pontoon float path

Sara Phelan with the Washington State Department of Transportation tells us the float-out of these next six pontoons marks the halfway point for the Aberdeen site. WSDOT has now completed 38 of 77 pontoons needed for the new SR 520 floating bridge. In all, crews will build 77 pontoons – 33 constructed in Aberdeen and 44 in Tacoma – for the new SR 520 floating bridge. With the third Aberdeen cycle complete, crews have finished 18 pontoons in Aberdeen and 20 in Tacoma.


The first of six pontoons will leave the casting basin around 10 Saturday morning.

Just like the last float-out, the huge concrete structures need to leave the port facility during the highest tides possible. The pontoons will then be towed to a separate moorage facility in Grays Harbor until they are towed 260 nautical miles around the Olympic Peninsula to Lake Washington at a later date.

SR520 Pontoon Construction Site in Aberdeen

Jeff Burlingame Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of The Olympic Peninsula