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Wilderness


We must support proposed areas

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Published:
There is a move afoot to enshrine 126,554 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness, permanently protecting remaining old-growth forest. (Nov. 25 article, "Three new wilderness areas proposed for state.") Many of the specific areas in the proposal are located along rivers and streams throughout the Olympic Peninsula, and the added protection will help to ensure that the waterways remain clean and wild. In fact, the legislation would create 19 new "Wild and Scenic" rivers, protecting them in their free-flowing condition for the benefit of fish and recreation.
Two things: First, I am pleasantly amazed that there are still 126,000-plus acres of potential wilderness left out there to protect. And second, I am equally amazed (although not so pleasantly), that there are those who would oppose the idea of giving the still-wild areas all the legal protection we can. If there is a way to enhance the prospects of keeping the peninsula as wild as possible, we would be fools not to do so.
I drive the back roads of the Olympic Peninsula on a regular basis. I see the signs out in the yards and pastures, along the fence lines and on the barns, either supporting or opposing the idea of Wild Olympics legislation. In my heart and in my head, I understand the idea of wanting to conserve what remains. I am unable to comprehend, however, the notion that we have enough wilderness already -- some opponents of the proposed plan say we have too much -- and that we need open more places for future development.
What I do know, beyond any doubt, is that once it's gone, it doesn't come back. We should not destroy what we do not know how to create.
Ken Campbell
Tacoma

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