I’m writing to refute the recent comments Lewis County officials made regarding the proposed Transalta land acquisition by WDFW.
They claim Lewis County has plenty of open, public land in the east, but that’s over an hour’s drive from Chehalis and Centralia. A large wildlife area with significant outdoor recreation opportunities located immediately next to the cities would be of great benefit to western Lewis County as well as Thurston and Cowlitz counties.
Furthermore, the suggestion that the land in question be kept available for industrial development is naive in its assumption that there is or would ever be any interest in such development. The wildlife area, on the other hand, would offer an immediate boost to the outdoor recreation economy in the area that would increase with time.
The outdoor recreation economy is booming right now, and Southwest Washington is well positioned to capitalize on it. To do so, we need large, easily accessible public lands near our cities and rural communities. Acquiring the TransAlta land and building a hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trail network there would go a long ways towards growing and diversifying our economy.