Peninsula: Buck faces interior secretary, urges review of federal funds for Hoh River land buys
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES, WA-- State Rep. Jim Buck, meeting face to face with the secretary of the interior, wants her to review U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding to a conservation group trying to acquire up to 30 miles of Hoh River acreage.

Buck on Friday met in Olympia with Interior Secretary Gale Norton in an effort to stop an issue he says has Hoh River property owners in west Jefferson County and Forks-area residents in Clallam County up in arms.

``I am writing to let you know of my constituents' growing concern that the U.S. F&W Service's Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund is being misused by the Western Rivers Conservancy under the guise of protecting the Hoh River,'' the Joyce Republican wrote in a letter he handed to Norton.

The Bush Cabinet officer was in Olympia meeting with lawmakers when Buck gave her the letter.

Properties acquired by Western Rivers Conservancy -- about 3,500 acres since 2001 -- are being conveyed to the Hoh River Trust, a private nonprofit organization.

The group's mission, it says, is to provide long-term conservation stewardship within the Hoh River corridor for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people.

Attempts to reach representatives of the conservation group were unsuccessful Sunday.

But earlier, the representatives told Peninsula Daily News that the Western Rivers Conservancy is trying to create a ``salmon sanctuary'' of up to 10,000 acres of protected forest.



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