Pew Applauds Measure to Protect Wilderness Outside Salt Lake City

Contact: Susan Whitmore, 202.540.6430

Washington, DC - 04/13/2010 - The Campaign for America’s Wilderness of the Pew Environment Group today applauded the introduction of a federal bill to permanently protect more than 26,000 acres of national forest land in Utah’s central Wasatch Mountains.  Sponsored by Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT), the legislation is the result of a two-year consensus-building effort involving Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City and a broad and diverse group of area interests.

“The collaborative process resulted in a carefully crafted bill that addresses the needs of local residents, elected officials, conservationists, ski resort owners and other stakeholders,” said Marcia Argust, with the Campaign for America’s Wilderness at the Pew Environment Group.  “The proposed legislation shows that conservation can go hand in hand with a strong, sustainable economy.”

Residents of Salt Lake City who may never set foot in the proposed protected areas will also benefit from the legislation, as it will protect the watershed that provides water for over 60 percent of the Salt Lake City region.  The 15,000 acres of wilderness and 11,000 acres of special management areas safeguarded under the newly introduced legislation are designed to ensure this critical watershed remains pristine for the health and economic benefit of residents.

“The Wasatch-Cache National Forest is one of the most visited national forests in the nation.  Few urban areas are as fortunate as Salt Lake City to have such an amazingly rugged and beautiful landscape virtually out their back door,” said Argust. “Congressman Matheson has shown great foresight in working to ensure this natural gift will be around for generations to come.”

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