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Friends of Lake Crescent support Quileute tsunami bill

April 22, 2011
 
Editor
The Forks Forum
494 S. Forks Avenue
Forks, WA 98331
 
Dear Sirs,
 
The Friends of Lake Crescent (FOLC), a group representing more than 200 members and in-holders in Olympic National Park (ONP), is writing today concerning HR 1162 which has been sponsored and introduced in the 112th Congress by Congressman Norm Dicks. The Official Title is, “To provide the Quileute Indian Tribe Tsunami and Flood Protection, and for other purposes.” The text below is that of a letter sent to Congressman Norm Dicks on March 30, 2011. We are sending this letter to you as evidence of FOLC support of the Quileute Tribe and perhaps to gain your support in our efforts to remove the 4100 acres in question from the bill.
 
Dear Congressman Dicks,
 
We wholeheartedly support and are in mutual agreement with the main purpose of the bill addressing the health and safety of the Quileute Native American Nation for their protection from tsunami and floods.  We are extremely concerned with the add-on phrase,” and for other purposes”.  Specifically Section 1(b)(2)(F) states “to add 4100 acres of wilderness to the Park.”  Furthermore Section 1(c)(1)(A) under “DESIGNATION – In accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 it seq.)”    defines the 4100 acres north of Lake Crescent and wholly within ONP.  This inclusion has no relevance or nexus to the main purpose of HR 1162 which addresses the potential tsunami impact on the Quileute Tribe.  It does however have a serious impact on in-holders within (ONP) near Lake Crescent, other property owners in the area and Clallam County lands. Specifically the wilderness designation can negatively impact our traditional property rights that predate the existence of Olympic National Park.  This wilderness designation sets up conditions that in essence result in “a taking of land through restrictive government laws, regulation, and litigation “as has proven to be the case elsewhere.  One only has to look to the Southern Olympics where litigation has already commenced to restrict drifting haze purportedly from the I-5 industrial plants.
 
While the provisions of Section 1(c)(1)(A) recognizes the Olympic Discovery Trail and states that the boundary of the Wilderness designation “shall be set back a sufficient distance to allow management” of the trail and the “operation and maintenance of the road” there is no indication of what that set back would be.  Many of us have grandfathered water systems that take water from springs and small creeks that would be included in the Wilderness Area.  For example, Camp David Jr. (Clallam County Owned) gets it water from Cole Creek some distance above the Discovery Trail.  Hazard trees have to be dealt with as they occur.  Every year FOLC members meet with ONP officials and are urged to properly dispose of windstorm debris and brush to control fire hazard.  This is most often done through controlled burning.
 
The 4100 acres in Section 1(c)(1)(A) are already in Olympic National Park and are afforded  all of the protection provided by the National Park System.  Designation as a Wilderness Area will not enhance this protection but could seriously impact our right to beneficial use of our property as well as that of county park land. The original Act of 1964 required a minimum of 5,000 acres to be considered as wilderness.  Unless modified by a subsequent law this minimum would still be applicable.
 
In conclusion we want to reiterate our support for the original intention of HR 1162 to provide tsunami relief for the Quileute Tribe.  We do however, respectfully request that you remove the wilderness designation for the 4100 acres specifically designated in the Lake Crescent area.  
 
Sincerely,
 
Margaret Womack
President, Friends of Lake Crescent

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