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Port of PA sends letter opposing park wilderness plans

April 23rd, 2014 - 5:33am

(Port Angeles) –- Port of Port Angeles Commissioners have sent a letter to Olympic National Park against the park's proposed plans for wilderness areas.

The letter to ONP's superintendent, says the proposals would reduce access to areas of the park, resulting in lower visitor numbers and reducing the economic benefits they generate.

The letter says the ranges of the Wilderness Plan are not sufficient to meet wilderness values and visitor opportunities. The wilderness area away from the trail network is pristine, such that meeting wilderness values and character within the park does not need to include reducing the current trail network.

They ask the plan's “Alternative D” be revised to protect natural resources and provide wilderness access, in the form of maintaining and improving the current trail and unpaved road systems.

The park has released four alternatives for dealing with the wilderness areas. They range from doing nothing to a full implementation of the federal Wilderness Act that could lead to elimination of man-made structures and limits on access. The park is taking comments on the proposed alternatives through May 17th and will be out with a draft environmental impact statement on a wilderness plan by the end of the year.

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