While PDN columnist Pat Neal may feel burned by the Hoh River Trust [“Dreamer, Scammer: That’s Me,” PDN Commentary page, June 7], as an avid steelhead angler, I am thankful for this important group for two reasons.
First, the trust allows free access to its lands along the Hoh River.
In the 20 years I have lived on the North Olympic Peninsula, access to rivers and logging roads has greatly diminished.
Many access points are now closed to entry or accessible only on the basis of “pay-to-play.”
So, the trust’s public access policy is greatly appreciated.
Second, the trust has protected some of the best streamside habitat along the Hoh and has worked smart and hard to restore much of it.
If Mr. Neal is truly concerned about the status of Hoh salmon and steelhead, he should consider how much worse this habitat might be had the trust not purchased it.
The trust’s lands, which are being transferred to The Nature Conservancy, are critical to rebuilding stocks of salmon and steelhead in the Hoh.
Of course, habitat alone is not enough.
Mr. Neal is right — we need to better manage our fisheries in order to maximize the return on the trust’s investment.
Recovering salmon and steelhead is challenging but possible on the Peninsula because we still have enough fish and viable habitat to work with.
The Hoh River Trust deserves respect rather than criticism.
It has worked hard to ensure that anglers such as Mr. Neal have the opportunity to fish the Hoh, both today and in the years to come.
EDITOR’S NOTE: McMillan is a fish biologist with the nonprofit group Trout Unlimited.