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
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.
Congressman Dicks won’t be joining his D.C. Beltway cronies next
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 and dropped 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 artifically 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 have 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 Pillings, 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 have 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