Wyden, Merkley pursue bill to protect Oregon wilderness

Oregon senators aim to bestow protective status on 200,000 acres of state land.

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Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden are aiming to bestow protective status to 200,000 acres of state land.

The pair introduced the measure Thursday.

The Oregon Wildlands Act would create one new wilderness area in the Coast Range, expand another wilderness area in Southern Oregon and create two new national recreation areas.

The bill would create the 30,500-acre Devil’s Staircase Wilderness from a remote canyon of old-growth forest east of Reedsport in the Central Coast Range. It would also designate 14.6 miles of Franklin and Wasson creeks — which runs through the Devil’s Staircase area — as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The bill expands the Wild Rogue Wilderness by 56,000 acres and creates the 95,000-acre Rogue Canyon National Recreation Area in southwest Oregon.

(SOURCE: Statesman-Journal)

Wyden said in a release: “Protecting some of Oregon’s most breathtaking and unspoiled lands ensures healthy habitats … and creates new recreation opportunities for Oregonians and visitors from across the country. … Preserving these lands is a top priority, and Senator Merkley and I are going to be working to do all that we can to protect them.”

The bill earned praise from one of the state’s top environmental groups.

“This legislation is an important step forward in protecting the wildlands, wildlife, and waters that make Oregon such a special place,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild, in a release.

(SOURCE: Portland Business Journal)



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