Evans Wilderness bill awaits Obama’s signature

PORT ANGELES — A bill passed by Congress to rename the Olympic Wilderness within Olympic National Park the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness to honor the former Washington state governor and senator now awaits a signature by President Barack Obama to become law.

The change, if approved by Obama, will not affect the name of Olympic National Park, which would remain the same.

In the spring, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, and Patty Murray, D-Seattle, introduced S. 3028, while H.R. 5397 was sponsored by members of the Washington delegation in the House, including Derek Kilmer.

Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.

The bill passed the Senate in July and the House on Wednesday.

Evans, 90, served in the state House of Representatives from 1956 to 1965 before he was elected governor.

He served three terms as governor, from 1965 to 1977, and was a U.S. senator from 1983 to 1989.

He was considered for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 1968 and 1976.

He lives in Seattle.

During his time in the U.S. Senate, Evans was the lead sponsor of the Washington Park Wilderness Act of 1988, which designated more than 1.5 million acres of wilderness areas in Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks.

“We are grateful to Sen. Dan Evans for his dedication to preserving our most treasured places,” said Cantwell, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Naming the Olympic Wilderness in his honor this holiday season is a deserved recognition of his many years of work to protect Washington’s national parks and forests.”

Washington “is so lucky to have had an advocate for the great outdoors like former U.S. Sen. Dan Evans,” added Murray.

“It’s only right to honor his legacy in Washington state by renaming one of the places he helped protect — the Olympic National Park Wilderness — as the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness.”

Throughout his life, “the outdoors have been a special place for Sen. Dan Evans,” said Kilmer.

“Through his leadership on conservation efforts, he has embraced the power of the outdoors to bring people together while at the same time creating economic opportunities for communities in our state. To mark his work, I’m honored to join my colleagues on this bill.”

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Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@ peninsuladailynews.com.

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