President Bush today signed the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which includes the Wild Sky Wilderness measure (H.R. 886/S.520) to permanently protect 106,000 acres of scenic national forest lands in the Wild Skykomish River region in Washington State.
"We've waited a long time for this day, and oh what a great day it is," said Jon Owen, Deputy Campaigns Director for the Campaign for America's Wilderness--who as former Campaign Director for the Washington Wilderness Coalition helped launch the effort to protect this special wild place eight years ago. "After a long struggle, Senator Murray and Congressman Larsen have brought Wild Sky home for all of us, protected for all time. For Americans of all walks of life, of different viewpoints and different interests, Wild Sky is truly our common ground," Owen said.
Along with rugged peaks and beautiful sub-alpine meadows, the new wilderness - the first designated in the 110th Congress, will include key lower-elevation, biologically rich forests along the North Fork of the Skykomish River, and will safeguard critical salmon habitat. The new Wild Sky Wilderness is also an area of world-class outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.
"Wild Sky is a shining example of how the very best of wilderness bills pass - the result of collaboration, the building of strong local support though public involvement, and real leadership of wilderness champions," said Mike Matz, executive director of the Campaign for America's Wilderness. "We salute the years of hard work and commitment of Senator Murray and Representative Larsen in winning this important conservation victory, and applaud the president for today signing it into law."