Sept. 11, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mount Hood One Step Closer to Protection with “Oregon Treasures” Hearing
Pressure Mounts for Oregon Leaders to Seal the Deal for Mount Hood Wilderness (HR 6290)
Mount Hood legislation clears key House subcommittee on its way to floor vote in both chambers of Congress.
Protections for the pristine forests, lakes, and rivers of Mount Hood are closer than ever today after a key House subcommittee heard testimony on legislation that would designate new Wilderness around the mountain. The “Oregon Treasures” package would protect Mount Hood, the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Caves and the Wild Rogue River.
“Mount Hood is an Oregon icon and one of the main reasons Oregon is such a great place to live,” remarked Erik Fernandez with the conservation group Oregon Wild. “It has been four years since Congress first began work on Mount Hood Wilderness, and Oregonians expect our elected officials to complete work on this important issue before returning home in the fall.”
The plan will protect approximately 130,000 acres of Wilderness and 80 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers around Mount Hood. The product of years of work by the Oregon Congressional delegation, the bill is strongly supported by regional county governments, outdoor recreation groups, and local businesses.
“Oregonians can be proud of their elected leaders today for showing the vision necessary to permanently protect some of our most treasured wild places,” added Oregon Wild Conservation Director Steve Pedery. “But, we can hold off on the applause until the bill hits the President’s desk.”
Some of the areas included in the Mount Hood bill are recreation favorites like Mirror Lake and Columbia River Gorge. Additional protections would also be extended to prime elk habitat found in the Big Bottom area of the Clackamas River watershed. The new designations would also protect the cleanest sources of drinking water for many communities such as Oregon City, West Linn, and Lake Oswego.
Also included in the “Oregon Treasures” package are new protections for 143 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Rogue River watershed and a ten-fold expansion of Oregon Caves National Monument. The Rogue River is one of the healthiest salmon runs on the west coast. The “Oregon Treasures” bill will ensure future generations the opportunity to enjoy a clean and pure Rogue River.
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