A bill honoring former Washington Governor and U.S. Senator Dan Evans passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week, after unanimously passing the Senate in July. The legislation will rename the Olympic Wilderness within Olympic National Park as the “Daniel J. Evans Wilderness”. The bill – backed by the entire Washington state congressional delegation – will now head to the president’s desk for signature into law.
Dan Evans served Washington state for more than 50 years, including service as a state legislator, governor and U.S. Senator. During his time in the U.S. Senate, Evans was the lead sponsor of the Washington Park Wilderness Act of 1988 which designated over 1.5 million acres of wilderness areas in Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks – including 877,000 acres within Olympic National Park as “the Olympic Wilderness.”
Sen. Evans was also a cosponsor of the Washington Wilderness Act of 1984, which designated more than one million acres of national forest land as wilderness within the state.
“We are grateful to Sen. Dan Evans for his dedication to preserving our most treasured places. Naming the Olympic Wilderness in his honor this holiday season is a deserved recognition of his many years of work to protect Washington’s national parks and forests,” said Sen. Cantwell, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“Washington state is so lucky to have had an advocate for the great outdoors like former U.S. Senator Dan Evans,” said Sen. Murray. “It’s only right to honor his legacy in Washington state by renaming one of the places he helped protect, the Olympic National Park Wilderness, as the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness.”
“The Washington delegation has a long tradition of bipartisan support for the responsible stewardship of Washington’s public lands. This tradition continues today because we know our wonderful forests, parks, mountains and waterways are what makes living in the Pacific Northwest so special. It’s only fitting that one of our beautiful wilderness areas be named after Dan Evans – a true environmentalist and champion for Washington’s outdoor spaces,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01).
“Senator Evans led with passion and commitment to preserve Washington state’s natural resources,” said Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02). “He championed passage of the 1984 Washington Wilderness Act which protected more than 1 million acres of national forest across Washington state, and the 1988 Washington Park Wilderness Act which designated key wilderness area within the Olympic National Park. Renaming the Olympic National Park Wilderness honors Senator Evans’ legacy and lifelong fight to protect the environment.”
“Throughout his life, the outdoors have been a special place for Senator Dan Evans,” said Rep. Kilmer (WA-06). “Through his leadership on conservation efforts, he has embraced the power of the outdoors to bring people together while at the same time creating economic opportunities for communities in our state. To mark his work, I’m honored to join my colleagues on this bill to rename the Olympic National Park Wilderness the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness.”
“I can think of no Washingtonian more deserving of this honor,” said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). “Dan Evans lived and breathed the outdoors. From his days as an Eagle Scout and Hike Master to his years of public service, he spent his life protecting our wilderness. Dan carried his passion with him in every role during his expansive career, so it’s fitting that his home state names one of the most impressive wilderness regions after its tireless advocate.”
“Today, I am proud to see the Daniel J. Evans Olympic National Park Wilderness Act approved by the Congress and sent to President Obama for his signature. Introduced by members of the Washington State Delegation, this bill renames the Olympic Wilderness the ‘Daniel J. Evans Wilderness,’ in honor of former Washington Governor and Senator Dan Evans. An avid outdoorsman and public servant, Senator Evans worked throughout his distinguished career to preserve Washington’s national parks and forests for future generations. I am pleased to see that the wilderness Senator Evans worked so tirelessly to protect will bear his name and carry on his legacy,” said Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09).
“In keeping with our state’s heritage and the longstanding respect for the outdoors from our Native peoples, Dan Evans advocated for our wilderness areas with gusto. Whether he was in loafers in a conference room or in hiking boots out on the Wonderland Trail, he was committed to protecting and restoring the beautiful forests, parks, and lands that surround us. He remains an inspiration to Washingtonians and this designation will be a great reminder of his legacy,” said Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10)
“Senator Evans has an enduring and exceptional record of service to Washington, and I consider myself fortunate to have served alongside him. This legislation is long overdue in recognizing the role he played in protecting Washington’s wild places. His commitment to our natural treasures transcended partisan politics, and it is only fitting that his legacy be honored,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07).
“It’s fitting that we are naming the Olympic Wilderness for former Governor Dan Evans. Dan is one of those admirable individuals who has contributed his energy, leadership and passion both in and out of elected office through the decades on behalf of Washington state,” said Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03). “His efforts on behalf of our forests deserves to be commemorated by all who live, work and recreate in and around them.”
“My home state of Washington and the region I represent are known for their breathtaking natural treasures,” said Rep. Reichert. “But we cannot talk about Washington’s natural treasures without thanking the man who’s been instrumental in maintaining and protecting them for future generations. From the 1984 Washington Wilderness Act to the Washington Park Wilderness Act of 1988, Senator Dan Evans’ initiatives have had a lasting impact on every person who had or will get the opportunity to experience Mother Nature’s gifts. I am proud my colleagues in the House joined me in recognizing his contributions by passing the Daniel J. Evans Olympic National Park Wilderness Act and sending it to the President’s desk.”