Save Our Coast hike begins today at Rialto Beach

LA PUSH — Attorney General Bob Ferguson will lead a Save Our Coast hike from Rialto Beach to Cape Alava beginning today to protest the Trump Administration’s offshore oil drilling proposal.

The hike will mirror the 22-mile route U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Pacific Northwest conservationist Polly Dyer and 70 others embarked on exactly 60 years ago on Aug. 19, 1958.

“Sixty years ago, Justice Douglas led a group of Washingtonians on a hike to save Washington’s untamed, awe-inspiring beaches from the threat of a coastal highway — and succeeded,” Ferguson said.

“Today, the Trump Administration’s proposal to drill for oil off our shores is this generation’s threat to Washington’s coastline. We must again lace up our hiking boots to protect Washington’s coast.”

Ferguson will be joined by Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp and Congressman Derek Kilmer — who represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — to kick off the hike at Rialto Beach.

They will offer comments about offshore drilling at about 10:30 a.m. before Ferguson and about 30 others set off on the three-day hike.

The public is invited to the kickoff and can hike in the area, according to a news release.

The longer hike covers rugged terrain, including traversing around headlands, and is for experienced hikers only.

Douglas organized the hike to increase public awareness about a proposed section of U.S. Highway 101 that would have been built through the untamed northern Olympic Peninsula coast, the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the lower 48 states.

The federal government subsequently withdrew its proposal to build the highway along the coast.

A noted Supreme Court justice, Douglas was also an avid outdoorsman and conservationist.

He grew up in Yakima, and knew the northern Olympic Coast well. According to a History Link essay on the hike by Paula Becker, Douglas owned a cabin near the Quillayute River where the hikers camped the night before they began their trek.

On the morning of Aug. 19, 1958, Douglas, Dyer and about 70 others hiked from Lake Ozette to Cape Alava, and then turned south along the coast, ending at Rialto Beach near La Push three days later.

The hike was intended “to demonstrate the irreplaceable value of the land and advocate its preservation,” according to a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Earlier this year, Ferguson sent a letter to Interior Secretory Ryan Zinke opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to allow oil and gas drilling off Washington’s coast.

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