January 9, 2006
In collaboration with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympic National Park is inviting initial public input on a proposal to reintroduce fishers to the park, announced Superintendent Bill Laitner today.
Fishers weigh about as much as a house cat (between 4.5 and 12 pounds), and have a dense coat of dark brown fur. They are forest-dwelling members of the weasel family, which also includes mink, otter and marten. Fishers are native to the forested areas of Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula, but are believed to have vanished from the state because of overtrapping in the late 1800s and early 1900s and the loss of older forest habitats.
"Bringing fishers back to the forests of Olympic National Park would help reestablish a native species and a natural balance between predators and prey," said park Superintendent Bill Laitner. “One of the primary goals of national parks is to allow natural processes to continue as nature intended. Restoring fishers would be a step towards that goal.”
Anyone interested in more information about fishers and this proposal is invited to attend the Perspectives program tomorrow, Tuesday January 10, at 7:00 pm. Wildlife biologist Jeff Lewis of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will present a free program about fishers at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles.
A 30-day public comment period about the proposal to reintroduce fishers has just begun and input is being solicited to help define the issues and alternatives to be addressed in an upcoming Environmental Assessment (EA). Public comments received during this 30-day “scoping” period will be used to develop the EA, which will examine alternative strategies for fisher reintroduction, along with a no action alternative. Public review and comments on the EA will also be invited when it is released later this year.
Public comment will be accepted through February 10, 2006 and may be submitted online by selecting Olympic National Park at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website,or sent to:
Superintendent – Fisher Reintroduction Olympic National Park 600 East Park Avenue Port Angeles, WA 98362
Fax: 360-565-3015 Website: Olympic NP at http://parkplanning.nps.gov Email: email@example.com
Commenters should be aware that their comments, including names and home addresses, are considered public information and may be released to the public. However, individual commenters may request that their name and home address be withheld from public release by stating this in their comment letter.
For more information about this or other Olympic National Park projects, people may call the park at 360-565-3004.