With the introduction of a bill that would expand protected wilderness areas on the Olympic Peninsula, two of Washington's congressional leaders have embraced a notion that appears to be rather outdated these days -- compromise. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks, both Democrats, proposed the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic River Act of 2012 last week, designed to add 126,554 acres of wilderness on Olympic National Forest lands. The proposal would protect 107,982 acres of mature trees at least 80 years old and would create 19 new Wild and Scenic Rivers within the forest.
Wild & Scenic designation would prohibit federal dams in the area while also creating a planning process for managing land. Private lands would not be impacted without support of the owners.
Protecting Washington's natural treasures is a worthy goal and has been a hallmark of our state. For an example that resides a little closer to home, consider the importance of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area in preserving the beauty of our area.
In moving to further protect the Olympic Peninsula and attempting to strike some sort of balance between economic and environmental concerns, Sen. Murray and Rep. Dicks have managed to find some middle ground between the two sides of the discussion.
Read the full editorial, Editorial: In Our View: Wild & Scenic Compromise, on the Columbian website.