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May 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Timber wars

Landowners support decision

Danny Westneat badly missed the mark in his column “Ghost of timber wars says ‘boo,’ ” [NWSunday, May 6] because he failed to speak with the landowners whose properties were targeted for Olympic National Park expansion.

Merrill & Ring opposed the inclusion of our lands in both the ONP General Management Plan and in the Wild Olympics Campaign. We are not willing sellers, but are seeking to expand our holdings. The lands are managed forest, not the pristine old growth that most of us associate with ONP. Forest Practices Rules already require protection of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat. We did not support the willing seller/willing buyer concept because to do so would be misleading and create false expectations.

M&R offered alternatives to the Wild Olympics Campaign, including trades for other federal land, conservation easements that would prevent development, and a smaller area of land that we would support as a willing seller. All of these alternatives were rejected.

Sen. Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks wisely considered the opposition from the affected forest landowners, as well as the unwillingness of the Wild Olympics Campaign to compromise. I support the Murray/Dicks proposal and thank them for reaching a reasonable solution.

— Norm P. Schaaf, Merrill & Ring, Port Angeles


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