Washington’s Wild Olympics and the local effort to safeguard its clean water and old growth forests are highlighted in an upcoming episode of the television series This American Land, which airs nationwide on PBS stations. The segment features interviews with a number of Olympic Peninsula community members working to permanently protect ancient forests and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest as wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
“This American Land” has posted the entire Wild Olympics segment for viewing/sharing HERE.
In the piece, Port Townsend City Councilor Michelle Sandoval explains that people are drawn to the Peninsula for the recreational opportunities and stunning scenery, and stay because of the clean water and high quality of life. Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton describes the importance of this clean water to his Hood Canal oyster beds, calling it the “lifeblood” of his industry. John Lockwood, owner of Pygmy Boats in Port Townsend, says that small manufacturers like him depend on the area’s incredible recreation opportunities to stay afloat. Port Townsend Fish biologist Dr. Peter Bahls explains how Olympic Peninsula salmon runs are still recovering from a hundred years of overfishing and heavy timber harvesting on the national forest. And retired logger Fred Rakevich of Elma says though he’s traveled all over, the ancient forests and free-flowing rivers of the Wild Olympics remains “something we need to protect and cherish.”
Connie Gallant of Quilcene, chair of the Wild Olympics Campaign, who also appears in the program, says, “We are delighted that This American Land has included our beautiful piece of the world in its series. The many local voices featured showcase the broad local support for safeguarding this stunning landscape. They come from different backgrounds and interests and use our public land in various ways, but they find common ground in the desire to permanently protect our ancient forests and salmon streams just as they are as a legacy to future generations.”
“Our mission is to bring our viewers the kind of serious yet entertaining conservation journalism that broadens their knowledge of critical issues with stories that they won’t see anywhere else,” says This American Land executive producer Gary Strieker. “Each segment focuses on unique and little-known places that deserve protection.”
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced legislation to permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of ancient and mature forests on Olympic National Forest as wilderness, and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and major tributaries as Wild and Scenic. The bill is aimed at permanently safeguarding critical salmon & steelhead habitat, outdoor recreation and sources of clean drinking water for local communities. The measure is backed by over 450 local sportsmen organizations & guides, elected officials, business owners, conservation & outdoor recreation groups, faith leaders – including majorities on the Westport & Ocean Shores City Councils and over 80 local businesses in Grays Harbor County alone. The measure was crafted with considerable local stakeholder involvement over several years. A group of Olympic Peninsula hunters, anglers and guides called Sportsmen for Wild Olympics have organized in support of the measure and created a website providing a list of threats facing salmon streams unless they are permanently protected under the Wild Olympics legislation.
The Wild Olympics segment will air as part of the fourth season of This American Land, which will begin broadcasting in the Seattle area in August. http://www.thisamericanland.org