Washington Wilderness Campaigns

Washington has 419,255 acres of BLM lands and 9,273,265 acres of National Forests. The last wilderness area designated in Washington was in 2008: Wild Sky.

Campaigns

Alpine Lakes Additions

On March 30, 2009 Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) introduced legislation that would expand the existing 394,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness by 22,100 acres and designate parts of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers as Wild and Scenic. The additional roadless lands protected by this bill lie in the Pratt River Valley and the Middle and South Fork Snoqualimie River Valleys, an area that includes glacier-cut u-shaped valleys, snow capped peaks, old-growth forests, whitewater rivers and strong native trout runs. This wilderness area is the closest and most accessible to residents of the greater Seattle Metropolitan area and would preserve existing recreational opportunities for hiking, camping, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking and wildlife viewing. Sen. Patty Murray introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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Colville National Forest

A partnership between timber interests and conservationists to find common ground and ultimately protect as wilderness some 215,000 acres of magnificent old-growth forest, including ponderosa pine, western larch, white pine and red cedar. A coalition plan would create new wilderness along the Kettle Crest, including a half dozen peaks towering more than 7,000 feet, as well as expand the Salmo-Priest Wilderness in Northeast Washington. Another 140,000 acres would be protected as a National Conservation Area and 400,000 additional acres would be open to restoration-based forestry aimed at recreating old-growth forest conditions.

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Olympic Peninsula

A coalition effort working to protect wild forest and river watersheds on the Olympic Peninsula. The group is working with local citizens and community leaders to safeguard more than 134,000 additional acres of wilderness for key upper watersheds on Olympic National Forest, including South Quinault Ridge, Jupiter Ridge, and Dirty Face Ridge, and hopes to bring long-overdue Wild and Scenic River protections on federal and state lands for some of the Peninsula's iconic free-flowing rivers, including the Sol Duc, Bogachiel, and Hamma Hamma. The coalition is also advocating willing-seller Olympic National Park expansion for sensitive watersheds such as lands above Lake Crescent and around Lake Ozette. (The willing-seller mechanism would provide the Park Service the chance to bid on commercial forest land if it was ever offered for sale, increasing the size of the national park.

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