Coalition forms to stop Wild and Scenic Rivers, New Wilderness designations for Olympic National Park
Posted March 20, 2011
Grays Harbor, WA - A group of citizens has formed to try and stop a "land-grab" attempt of 210,000 acres of Olympic Peninsula working land. "Locals on the Olympic Peninsula are have formed a new Coalition, the “Workingwildolympics” Coalition (www.Workingwildolympics.com)." according to spokesperson Dan Boeholt.
The website asserts that the "Olympics are 'wild enough'." "For over 15 years now, the Forest Service across all of Wa. state has been methodically decommissioning (destroying) public access roads.... Yet, now in their warm and fuzzy justification for the “need” to con-pain for wilding the Olympics, they promote this will provide more public access - to what?" the website says. "A road that is so deliberately piled with the 30+ year old trees, that grew in the road during the years after the previous renewable harvest, that nothing can access.. [One] road segment was, prior to this action, travelable by both humans and wildlife and provided forage to eat for animals – but is now both impassable, length-wise and cross-wise and now unusable for food. This Is Wild? And Crazy! This “was” the entrance for a 5 mile segment of road. Now completely unusable for all. This form of decommissioning is being challenged." (http://www.workingwildolympics.com/about/)
Among other aspects, the current roads are being methodically decommissioned, this time in the Quinault area of the forest. "The groups leading this Wild Olympics Campaign, that will effect 210,000 acres of land, creating 37,000 acres of more National Park land, 28 New Wilderness areas and designating 24 rivers Wild and Scenic needs to be open and transparent," the opposition coalition's website states.
Says Boeholt: "Workingwildolympics opposes this well organized - years in the planning attempt - that would expand Olympic National Park by an additional 37,000 acres, create 28 New Wilderness areas and designate 24 rivers Wild and Scenic." (Wild and Scenic Rivers' designation generally removes the rivers from easy access, and does not allow any type of "impoundments"). (As of 2002, there was already 37.4% of the United States landmass encompassed in National Forests, Roadless Areas and Wilderness Areas. This equates to 356,272,197 acres of United States public lands or 556,675.31 square miles. Since that time, much more has been added, and current estimates are closing in to 50% of the U.S. landmass being "wilderness areas" - a goal of the Wildlands Project - see "What is Wilderness and Why Do We Need It?")
Boeholt states in a news release that the original grab was going to be 300,000 acres. Now the plan is to have over 18,000 acres of productive, working DNR Trust lands, that generate renewable funding for schools, libraries, prisons, counties and a dozen other trusts will be removed from use, he says.
"They [the federal government] want to take nearly 20,000 acres of working private forestlands that will be locked-up and taken off the tax rolls, no longer generating jobs and supporting the local economy," Boeholt writes. "It will cost taxpayers to pay again and again for the loss of working lands and revenues."
Workingwildolmypics has scheduled a public meeting on Monday March 21st at Aberdeen High School Commons, from 6:30pm to 8:30: doors open at 6:00.
Workingwildolympics also had a booth at the GH Chamber Expo on Sat. March 19th at AHS from 9am to 4pm.
Boeholt is asking that more people sign up to participate in opposition of the Wild Olympics Campaign, and help keep working lands open for all to enjoy.
(See previous story "Wild Olympics program planners move forward with support of county commissioners, environmental groups". As as backgrounder, read Olympic Park Associates push forward UN Agenda 21 in closing off more land and water.)