What’s at stake

Turning Washington’s Olympic Peninsula into an Electronic Warfare Range: What’s at Stake?

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Rainforest. Photo courtesy of National Park Service


3-minute tour of Olympic National Park – Video.  For a quick orientation and introduction to the problem, watch this short video:  For Vimeo, click here.     For Youtube, click here.  For a more in-depth grounding, watch this 10-minute video: The Olympic Peninsula Is Not For Electromagnetic Warfare Training, or listen to this 30-minute broadcast of a public meeting, from KPTZ Compass Radio Newsmagazine.

Washington’s Olympic Peninsula contains “…outstanding examples of significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;” and, “… the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.” More than 300 bird species, 64 terrestrial and 14 marine mammal species, and 37 species of native fish are found on the Olympic Peninsula.” ~ National Park Service

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High meadow. Photo courtesy of National Park Service


In addition to these accolades on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Olympic National Park, also a Biosphere Reserve, is the 5th most visited National Park in the nation. The Park Service describes it as “Three Parks in one,” and “…renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. Glacier-clad peaks interspersed with extensive alpine meadows are surrounded by an extensive old growth forest, among which is the best example of intact and protected temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest.  ~ National Park Service

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“Eleven major river systems drain the Olympic mountains, offering some of the best habitat for anadromous [migratory] fish species in the country. The park also includes 100 km of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States, and is rich in native and endemic animal and plant species, including critical populations of the endangered northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.” ~ UNESCO

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The Forest Service’s own web site describes Olympic National Forest as covering a significant portion of “…the varied landscape of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula from lush rain forests to deep canyons to high mountain ridges to ocean beaches. This diverse and scenic forest reaches the mid elevations of the Olympic Mountains, surrounding Olympic National Park.” ~ Olympic National Forest


Part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of NOAA.


The ocean waters that surround the Olympic Peninsula are among the richest and most biologically diverse in the world. The 2,408 square mile Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary “…protects a productive upwelling zone – home to marine mammals and seabirds. Along its shores are thriving kelp and intertidal communities, teeming with fishes and other sea life. In the darkness of the seafloor, scattered communities of deep sea coral and sponges form habitats for fish and other important marine wildlife. In addition to important ecological resources, the sanctuary has a rich cultural and historical legacy.” ~ NOAA

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In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt issued the Mount Olympus National Monument Proclamation. In doing so, President Roosevelt said: “The [Olympic] National Monument hereby established shall be the dominant reservation [over the Olympic National Forest] and any use of the land which interferes with its preservation or protection as a National Monument is hereby forbidden. Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, remove, or destroy any feature of this National Monument.”       ~President Theodore Roosevelt