I’d forgotten how fun it is to write Letters to the Editor.
Someone from the Wild Olympics campaign recently called to tell me that Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced the Wild Olympics bill and asked if I would write one in support of the bill. The bill proposes creating a 126,000 acre buffer around the treasure that is the Olympic National Park. They even helped by working up a personalized first draft based on our conversation.
I was inspired by help from the campaign and what I learned about the bill. Part of what interested me was the way supporters engaged in deep listening to understand other points of view, then crafted solutions that earned often elusive support from locals, visitors, and wilderness supporters alike. [UPDATE: The Seattle Times and Kitsap Sun are both publishing sometime this weekend]
There is a lot to say about the bill. It was hard boiling it down to 250 words for the Kitsap Sun. Even harder after I discovered that Seattle Times limits to 200 words. The discipline probably helped me stay positive and stick to a few key points. I aimed for short statements showing folks precisely what I support and why. I chose elements where people often assume positions that may come from incomplete information amplified by inaccurate information.
I also wanted to include an “ask” to give a path for those who agree with me to channel their energy. I have a theory that doing something positive when we see a need for change in the world releases tension in a healthy way. I’m convinced that over time, holding on to concerns without acting leads the tension to build into anger, fear, resentment, and cynicism, Especially if you care deeply and are awakened to the many opportunities for the world to be even better.
Here is the letter I submitted. I’m curious to see the response, and I feel sad about subjecting myself to some of the newspaper comment section crowd.
I support the Wild Olympics bill. Wild Olympics designates a wilderness buffer around the Olympic National Park. The consultation process over the past 4 years earned support from groups that sometimes disagree. I urge readers to contact Rep. Kilmer and ask him to support the Wild Olympics bill.
There’s more you can do in designated Wilderness than what you cannot. Hiking, camping, climbing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and berry-picking are allowed. Mining, logging and motorized use are not.
No forest system roads are inside the 126,000 acres of proposed wilderness. This preserves public access. Existing roadways remain available for motorized uses like snowmobiles and four-wheelers.
The proposed wilderness does not change existing trailheads. The place you start your hike today is the same place as after the bill is passed.
The proposed wilderness does not close new areas to logging. It only affects land where logging is already off-limits, earning endorsement by a Port Angeles timber company and a mill in Cosmopolis.
Washington’s outdoor recreation industry supports 115,000 jobs and contributes $11.7 billion per year. Other purely economic beneficiaries are in food, fishing, lodging, retail, real-estate, fuel, and services. Economics like this are especially powerful because they support family businesses on a recurring basis, year after year.
Please ask Rep. Derek Kilmer to join 20 hunting and fishing organizations, 200 Olympic and Kitsap peninsula businesses, Democrats, Republicans, and conservationists, and support the Wild Olympics bill.