Washington, DC -
10/26/2011 - The Pew Campaign for America’s Wilderness today applauded the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands for taking the first testimony of the year on legislation to designate new wilderness on federal land. Members of the subcommittee considered six bills, which together would permanently protect more than 124,000 acres of public land in California, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington State.
“These measures, introduced by members of both parties, will help ensure that special places— like Beauty Mountain on the edge of the Californian Sonoran Desert, Sleeping Bear Dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan, and Devil’s Staircase deep in the heart of Oregon’s Coast Range—will remain just as they are today,” said director Mike Matz. “Americans treasure these lands for hiking, hunting, camping, climbing, fishing, and other activities. Passage of these bills will leave a greater natural legacy for future generations.”
The wilderness bills heard today include:
- H.R. 41, the Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Wilderness Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), to protect 21,000 acres in north San Diego County;
- H.R. 113, Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), to designate approximately 18,000 acres of the two forests near Los Angeles;
- H.R. 490, Manzano Wilderness Addition, sponsored by Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), to expand by nearly 900 acres the existing Manzano Mountain Wilderness in the south end of the Cibola National Forest near Albuquerque;
- H.R. 608, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), to add 22,100 acres to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and designate parts of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers as Wild and Scenic;
- H.R. 977, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), to protect more than 32,500 acres in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan; and
- H.R. 1413, Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), to safeguard nearly 30,000 acres on Wassen Creek in Oregon’s Coast Range.
“At a time when some are working to undermine public lands protection, it is heartening that lawmakers are moving this locally-supported, bipartisan legislation forward,” said Matz. “A number of other deserving wilderness bills await action, each developed in collaboration with community stakeholders. We encourage lawmakers to take up these important conservation measures as well.”For more information, visit the Pew Environment Group's site.