Conservationists Hail Oregon Wilderness Bill Introduction

Today, recreation and conservation advocates celebrated the announcement of the Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The bill includes the 58,000 acre Wild Rogue Wilderness as well as several important National Recreation Area designations. These provisions were stripped from the bipartisan public lands package before it was adopted by Congress earlier this year over Congressman Greg Walden’s objections to new public lands protections.

The Wild Rogue River by Justin Rohde

“With this bill, Oregon's Senators are once again taking a stand to protect Oregon’s recreation economy and special places on our public lands,” said Oregon Wild Conservation Director Steve Pedery. “We strongly support this legislation.”

“Despite Oregon’s green reputation, the state lags behind other Western states in safeguarding public lands. Oregon has only 4% of the state designated as Wilderness, a statistic overshadowed by California’s 15%, and Washington and Idaho’s 10%,” continued Pedery. “While the Wild Rogue is spectacular, but there are many other places on Oregon’s public lands equally deserving of recognition and designation. We look forward to working with Senators Wyden and Merkley, and others in Oregon's Congressional delegation, to protect those places like the Crater Lake backcountry, the Ochoco Mountains, Owyhee, and beloved recreation areas on Mount Hood.”

DESIGNATIONS:

Molalla Recreation Area: Establish a 30,000-acre recreation area on the banks of the Molalla River in Clackamas County next to the Table Rock Wilderness Area.

Rogue Canyon Recreation Area: Establish a 98,000-acre recreation area on the banks of the Rogue River in Southwestern Oregon next to the Wild Rogue Wilderness Area.

Wild Rogue Wilderness Expansion: Expand the existing Wild Rogue Wilderness Area by about 60,000 acres. The federal land included within this expansion has been set aside by federal land managers as land that should be protected and conserved.