Washington’s former governor and U.S. senator was honored Friday for a lifetime of bipartisan accomplishment with the renaming of one of his favorite places, now called the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness at Olympic National Park.
HURRICANE RIDGE — Olympic National Park
With the Olympics resplendent behind him, former Republican Washington Gov. Dan Evans was honored Friday with the renaming of the wilderness here as the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness, a tribute to his years of public service and accomplishments protecting some of the most beloved landscapes in Washington.
Three times Washington’s governor and a U.S. senator for Washington, Evans authored the Washington State Wilderness Act protecting 1.5 million areas of wild lands, and he was instrumental in creating North Cascades National Park, the scenic corridor in the Columbia River Gorge, and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
From a podium set outdoors at Hurricane Ridge, Evans told a crowd of more than 200 that when asked how much wilderness is needed, he always had this answer: “More.”
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A bipartisan crowd of dignitaries traveled to the ridge on buses for the occasion, including a current U.S. senator, tribal leaders, current and former congressmen, state representatives, two former secretaries of state, a two-time administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington’s attorney general, a county executive and longtime environmental advocates from Washington’s most celebrated wilderness campaigns.
A feast prepared by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe capped a day in which even the clouds wore rainbows of sundogs. The Makah Nation blessed the speakers’ floor with sprinkles of eagle down and a Thunderbird dance to begin the ceremony.
“Renaming this wilderness is a fitting tribute,” said Norm Dicks, former Democratic congressman for the state’s 6th District. Evans, after all, “was a singular force” for protecting some of Washington’s most cherished places, Dicks said, and always worked across the aisle. In fact, to be called a “Dan Evans Republican” still today bespeaks a high calling of bipartisanship and effectiveness in public service.
“When it came to protecting our most precious outdoor spaces, it wasn’t about Democrats or Republicans,” said Congressman Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. “But about Washingtonians.”
For many, Evans is that rare thing — a…