The Pew Environment Group today praised members of the Oregon delegation for reintroducing legislation to protect nearly 30,000 acres of wilderness on Wassen Creek in Oregon's Coast Range.
The Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act, introduced by Representative Peter DeFazio (D) and Senators Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D) will preserve one of the most remote backcountry areas in Oregon. Nestled between the Smith and Umpqua Rivers, this wild land derives its name from the “staircase” of waterfalls carved into sandstone bedrock, containing plunge pools as large as bathtubs. The area is home to the coast's highest density of threatened spotted owl, as well as black bear, elk and river otter.
“A grueling four mile hike into some of the finest stands of old growth ancient forest is the only way into this remarkable spot,” said David Dreher, manager of the Pew Campaign for America's Wilderness. “This is among the last remnants of the original coastal rainforest, untouched by man, and it truly evokes what wilderness is.”
The legislation will also designate more than fourteen miles of Wassen and Franklin Creeks as wild and scenic rivers, protecting trout, salmon and steelhead runs.
“These members of Congress are to be commended for recognizing the importance of protecting this legendary landscape, so that future generations will forever have the chance to see a piece of Oregon at its wildest,” said Dreher.