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Heroines of the Olympic Peninsula

Connie Gallant, OFCO’s Board President and driving light for our organization for many years, gave a speech in 2013 dedicated to the heroines who worked to protect the wild places, species and environment of the Olympic Peninsula. In a moment when gender denigration and physical security is debased in the highest office in the country—including the U.S. Forest Service and the investigation into Chief Tooke’s misconduct toward women and the ongoing investigation into treatment of women in the ranks— we can be inspired by Connie’s dedication, her research, and the women conservationists who worked for the Olympic Peninsula over the past 100 years.

Like Rosalie Barrow Edge, suffragist and conservationist, who organized a demonstration in Port Angeles during President Roosevelt’s 1937 visit to the Olympic National Park because the U.S. Forest Service clear-cut thousands of acres. The Service moved the boundary signs for the president’s visit so he would not see the devastation. Three thousand people lined the streets with placards. The president promised and delivered protections for the park. The current administration proposes vastly increased timber harvests on all federal public lands without enforcing environmental protections.



“People ought to make preservation of watersheds, forests, soil, and all living species their personal responsibility—because all lead to the mother of every living thing: the earth.” –Rosalie Barrow Edge (1877–1962)



And Polly Dyer changed the map of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington state, and the country through tireless, savvy, bi-partisan steadfast determination to set aside public lands as protected wilderness, with joy, a smile and rubber boots into her 90s.



“Wilderness cannot—and should not—wear a dollar sign. It is a priceless asset which all the dollars man can accumulate will not buy back … Congress, through this bill, can help take the price tag off some of these remaining wilderness forests.”
–Pauline “Polly” Tomkiel Dyer (1920–2017), June 1957





Read the full story of these and other heroines in Connie’s speech, including OFCO’s former Executive Director Bonnie Phillips, one of Time magazine’s 1998 Heroes for the Planet.

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