The Pew Campaign for America's Wilderness applauded the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests for holding a hearing on legislation to protect more than 260,000 acres of wilderness in southern New Mexico and eastern Tennessee.
“These measures represent years of in-state work to gain consensus and support,” said Mike Matz, director of the Pew Campaign for America's Wilderness. “The hard-earned result is that hunters, hikers, business zowners, faith community members and conservationists all support these wilderness bills to protect precious local public lands, which will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”
The Organ Mountains-Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, introduced by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), would designate 241,000 acres of wilderness and create a 100,000-acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Robledo Mountains and part of Broad Canyon in southern New Mexico.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act, introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), would protect nearly 20,000 acres on the Cherokee National Forest, expanding five existing wilderness areas and creating the Upper Bald River Wilderness.
“We hope to see these bills move forward quickly to give irreplaceable landscapes, including parts of the beloved Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and New Mexico's colorful Organ Mountains, the ‘gold standard' of protection that they deserve—wilderness,” Matz said.