Kilmer, Murray re-introduce Wild Olympics legislation

Rep. Derek Kilmer

Rep. Derek Kilmer

PORT ANGELES — U.S. Rep Derek Kilmer and Sen. Patty Murray have re-introduced Wild Olympics legislation to protect environmentally sensitive areas, support outdoor recreation and preserve and grow jobs on the Olympic Peninsula, they said last week.

The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act would designate 126,554 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 464 miles of rivers and streams and as wild and scenic rivers.

The legislation has repeatedly stalled in Congress since it was introduced by Murray and Kilmer’s predecessor, Norm Dicks, in 2012.

Murray and Kilmer reintroduced the bill Wednesday.

“As someone who grew up in Port Angeles, I’ve always said that we don’t have to choose between economic growth and environmental protection,” Kilmer said in a joint news release.

“I’m proud to continue fighting for a bill that is part of a practical, balanced strategy to protect our natural beauty while attracting businesses to stay, grow and invest in our future. I’m grateful for the partnership of Sen. Murray and folks throughout our region who helped develop this proposal.”

The wilderness designation permanently protects old growth and ancient forest habitat. The acreage identified in the legislation around Olympic National Park would become off-limits to logging.

The wild and scenic rivers designation would protect 19 rivers and major tributaries on the Olympic Peninsula as a source of clean drinking water and a healthy Puget Sound. The designation would not restrict private property rights, according to the sponsors.

“It is critical that we keep fighting to ensure these pristine areas of the Olympic Peninsula are preserved for generations to come,” said Murray, D-Seattle.

“As someone who enjoys hiking and fishing in Washington state, I am thrilled to work with Congressman Kilmer and the local community to keep up the momentum and preserve some of Washington state’s most prized wild spaces.”

Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, represents the 6th Congressional District and the entire Olympic Peninsula.

Murray and Kilmer have spent a “significant amount of time engaging with community members and local business leaders on the Olympic Peninsula to ensure this legislation works for the community,” according to their statement.

Last year, the Wild Olympics legislation was presented for the first time to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources before it stalled.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at

Sen. Patty Murray

Sen. Patty Murray