Editorial: Toss Wild Olympics plan completely
Editorial by Karl Spees
(also appeared in the 5/23/12 issue of Peninsula Daily News)
Posted June 4, 2012
Seattle Times “gossip columnist” Danny Westneat’s column “Wild Olympics Perception Prevails” (PDN, May 11) shed more heat than light on the subject of the Wild Olympics plan.
His column portrays all citizens who oppose the plan as rubes.
On May 10, this rube attended a Wild Olympics forum in Grays Harbor County where a show of hands of the 250 in attendance revealed the rubes outnumbered the elites by a margin of three to one.
Those who support the Wild Olympics proposal feel man is destroying the Earth and only by turning the North Olympic Peninsula into a big wildlife park devoid of humans can they help save the planet.
We rubes, who absolutely oppose the Wild Olympics plan, don’t apologize for our existence and would like to continue calling the Peninsula home.
“Bring-home-the-bacon” Congressman Norm Dicks would like to add another scalp to his legacy along with the destruction of the Elwha lakes and the removals of the (too much power producing) Elwha dams.
All powerful Congressman Dicks won’t be joining his D.C. Beltway cronies next year.
In my opinion, Dicks got his bacon fried when a pesky citizen, Doug Cloud, filed a Freedom on Information request involving FBI files from the lobbyist PMA Group.
This, I and others believe, finally caused Dicks to step aside for having his hand in the cookie jar one too many times.
As to the concession by Wild Olympics’ supporters who dropped the “willing-buyer, willing-seller provision,” this happened because they were trying to appease us. But instead they may have made it worse. They threw “that bunny back into the briar patch.”
Despite the strong and repeated denials by Sarah Crum (Dicks’ Girl Friday in Grays Harbor County), multiple bridges, culverts and roads in Olympic National Park’s buffer zones are being removed using public funds while other forest and public roads in the buffer zones are neglected for lack of funding.
When the government takes out roads and the citizens lose access to their private property, homes, and timber stands, they suddenly become “willing sellers.”
The bureaucrats have made a huge concession to those rascally rubes by dropping the “willing-buyer, willing-seller” provision.
Now instead of paying pennies on the dollar to property owners who have lost their access, the government won’t pay them anything.
This is like the Army recruit getting his first government haircut. The barber asks him if he wants to keep his hair. After his GI buzz cut, the barber sweeps the floor and gives him a bag full of hair.
Few know that Olympic National Park is a UN biosphere.
My belief, and that of others, is that the United Nations wants to totally exclude all human activities from the biosphere and severely limit human activity in the buffers.
The Wild Olympics plan is an incremental taking of public and private lands and rivers by artificially designating them as “wild and scenic rivers” or “wilderness.”
Thus there will be no roads and no chainsaws — therefore almost no access.
In the PDN there has been about a dozen quarter-page ads by out-of-town organizations.
One of the ads’ themes is there is broad-based support for Wild Olympics.
This is Orwellian, which is a polite way to say it’s a lie.
The opposite is true.
The reality is there is solid local opposition to the Wild Olympics plan.
The following organizations have formally stated their opposition to it: the Port of Port Angeles, Port Angeles Business Association, Clallam County Republican Party led by Dick Pilling, the granges, North Olympic Timber Action Committee, Friends of Lake Crescent, Crescent Water District and Clallam County chapter of Citizens Alliance for Property Rights.
Norm Schaaf, vice president of timberlands and administrator for Merrill & Ring, indicated that the private timber companies are willing to accept the compromised plan.
For us rubes, we see that as the private timber companies “throwing everyone else to the crocodiles, hoping that they will be eaten last.”
We all want clean air and water. I and others believe that our air, water and land are the cleanest they have been in 40 years.
We currently have multiple layers of protection. We are in a severe economic crisis, not an environmental crisis.
Only prosperous countries can afford to protect the environment.
We are broke, and the Wild Olympics plan will make the problem worse.
All wealth comes from beneficial use of the land and water resources.
All human activity has a degree of impact, some of it good.
We must balance preservation with conservation and stewardship.
We already have almost a million acres of land set aside in Olympic National Park.
Timber and brush grow like weeds on the Peninsula.
We need forest management to prevent catastrophic wildfires and timber harvest to support our schools, roads and government.
I would urge everyone to face the harsh realities of our current situation, oppose the Wild Olympic Plan and embrace the status of adulthood, even if the do-gooders call us rubes.
Karl Spees, Port Angeles
Dr. Spees is the president of the Clallam County chapter of Citizens Alliance for Property Rights.
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