Press Release

Pew Commends Important Step to Protect More Than 184,000 Wild Acres

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Four wilderness bills receive congressional hearing

Mike Matz, director of Pew's Campaign for America's Wilderness, issued the following statement praising the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests for holding a hearing today on legislation to safeguard 184,200 acres as wilderness in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. So far in the 112th Congress, Senate subcommittees have heard 13 wilderness bills.

“These pieces of legislation—sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans—were crafted with local participation and supported by the affected communities. From Colorado's San Juan Mountains, which are among the most geologically diverse in the world, to Oregon's Rogue River, an internationally recognized fishing and boating destination, these are special wild places treasured by millions of Americans.

“Wilderness drives local economies, improves quality of life, and keeps water and air clean and healthy. We want to thank the members of Congress who continue to work to protect more of these areas, and we look forward to seeing these bills move toward enactment.”

Background

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act (S. 1635) to preserve nearly 55,000 acres of public land in southwestern Colorado, including 33,000 acres as wilderness. This addition to the 480,000-acre San Juan National Forest wilderness would provide protection to critical landscape linkages.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act (S. 1774) to protect 275,000 acres of rustic public land, including 67,200 as wilderness, in western Montana. The bill would add 50,500 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and 16,700 acres to the Scapegoat Wilderness.

Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act (S. 1788) to designate the 26,000-acre Pine Forest Range Wilderness in northwest Nevada.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Rogue Wilderness Area Expansion Act (S. 2001) to protect more than 58,000 acres of wilderness on the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon and designate 93 miles of the Rogue River and its tributaries as Wild and Scenic.

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