New legislation could put 126,000 acres of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula into permanent conservation.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray introduced the Wild Olympics Act on Friday. It’s a chunk of national forest land almost as big as the city of Chicago. The Act would also provide protection for 19 rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.
People could still fish, camp, kayak, hike and horseback ride – among other non-motorized activities, but mining, logging, or the construction of any dams or infrastructure would be permanently prohibited within the new wilderness.
That has some calling the legislation a government land grab, reminiscent of the timber wars that wracked the Peninsula in the 90s. Senator Murray disagrees.
Murray: “It adds protections for current federal lands so we can make sure they’re protected for the future,” Murray says.
Murray introduced similar legislation in 2012 but it didn’t pass.
Copyright 2014 KUOW