For Immediate Release

Time Runs Out on Oregon Wildlands Act

Last minute objections from Utah Senator and campaign by Rep. Greg Walden to block areas outside his district stall bipartisan public land conservation package.

Arran Robertson,
503-283-6343 x223

Dec 20, 2018

In the US Senate last night, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) blocked a bipartisan public lands conservation deal from passing when he refused to allow a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government to advance if it contained land protection measures.  His actions, together with a campaign by Rep. Greg Walden to block protection for areas not in his district, means the Oregon Wildlands Act will have to wait until 2019 to see Congressional action. 

Oregon Wild Conservation Director Steve Pedery released the following statement:

Oregon Wild thanks Senator Ron Wyden for his many years of work to protect the Wild Rogue, Devil’s Staircase, and other special places on our public lands. It is truly remarkable that in this Congress he was able to secure support from key Republican Senators for new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River protections.

Senator Wyden’s success in moving the Oregon Wildlands Act out of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee with the support of several key Republican Senators is a remarkable feat given the current dysfunction in Congress. So was convincing Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski to include portions of it in the spending deal.

It is incredibly frustrating to see a last minute tantrum by an anti-public lands politician like Mike Lee block a bipartisan coalition working to protect some of America’s most beloved recreation areas, wild rivers, and old-growth forests. An agreement was reached to consider public lands legislation again in January. We stand ready to work with Senator Wyden, Representative DeFazio, and the rest of the Oregon delegation to protect these and other worthy areas next year, and insist that special places like the Wild Rogue are included in the package.

Sadly, rather than using his position in Republican leadership to protect Oregon’s public lands and outdoor recreation industry, Congressman Greg Walden reached outside his district to try and block protection for the Wild Rogue and other special places.  Other members of the Oregon delegation should take note. Walden has refused to protect millions of acres of special places on public lands in his own district, and if he won't act to safeguard Oregon's natural treasures, others should.

Kelsey Creek. which flows through the proposed Wild Rogue Wilderness, by Greg Burke 


The Oregon Wildlands Act Includes:

  • 60,000-acre Wild Rogue Wilderness addition
  • 30,000-acre Devil’s Staircase Wilderness
  • 30,000-acre Molalla River Recreation Area
  • 98,000-acre Rogue River National Recreation Area
  • 256 miles of Wild and Scenic River protections for the Nestucca, Molalla, Elk and Chetco Rivers, among others