The editorial “Extend Olympic wilderness protection” [March 7, Opinion] is timely and astute. The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which is part of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, recently passed the U.S. House and is now before the Senate. Wild Olympics is a popular and visionary proposal that will enhance the protection of one of our planet’s most biologically rich natural preserves.
Near-record crowds that flocked to Olympic National Park and national forest last summer underscore the need for additional recreation areas on the peninsula. Forest Service wilderness lands would more than double under the legislation, and 19 new Wild and Scenic Rivers would be designated — the first ever on the peninsula. Clean water, critical wildlife habitat and carbon storage in old-growth forests make this legislation increasingly important. President Joe Biden’s pledge to conserve 30% of American lands should send this proposal to the top of the Senate’s docket.
U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are now in positions to see these protections enacted this year. The time has come, and Wild Olympics deserves the support of Washingtonians everywhere.
Tim McNulty, Sequim