Here are some of my thoughts about TransAlta giving the closed mine property to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife as a wildlife refuge.
1. A wildlife refuge would be a strong tourist attraction. With an interpretive center, a gift shop and a restaurant or two, it would make a great family outing. There could be an observation trail near the interpretive center so visitors would be able to walk through a small part of the forest. With Mount St. Helen’s just down the road, Lewis County would increase its tourist industry.
2. The wildlife refuge would bring researchers to this area as well as provide educational opportunities for local schools and research possibilities for college and university students. It would give Centralia College the opportunity to host conferences related to the refuge.
3. Many people live in Lewis County because they prefer a rural environment. Eastern growth with its increased traffic and necessary infrastructure changes would decrease the quality of life for many who live in the surrounding area.
4. Lewis County could support more economic development without an increase in population. New industry could hire our unemployed population without disrupting the rural feel of the area.
5. Building housing on unstable ground (mine fill) would create buildings prone to cracks and structural failures.
6. My preference would be to bring industry into the ports, build housing closer to established cities and roadways and enhance the county with a beautiful wildlife refuge from TransAlta.