The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands heard testimony today on legislation that could add over a half million acres in five states to the National Wilderness Preservation System. Mike Matz, executive director of the Campaign for America's Wilderness, comments.
“We welcome the subcommittee's attention to these bills, which together would add more than 500,000 acres to our National Wilderness Preservation System. These five proposals, some of which have been in Congress in one form or another for many years, reflect the diversity of America's wild lands and the people who support them. From the cool coastal forests of Oregon, to the Great Plains of northern New Mexico, and from the rugged mountain peaks of Colorado, to the diverse “Sky Islands” of southern Arizona, and the arid desert ecosystems of southern California these are special wild places that we share as citizens.
“Each bill is the unique product of the place and the people in the local community whose appreciation for our country's natural heritage led them to work together to protect it. But they also share important characteristics. All five bills are widely supported by local governments, business interests, sportsmen and conservation groups. And all five bills were developed with close cooperation between legislators and the people they represent.
“These five wilderness bills are sponsored by Democrats and Republicans, and involve three federal land managing agencies—the Bureau of Land Management, the National Forest Service, and the National Park Service—further reflecting the great diversity in usage of our western landscape. We look forward to helping continue this collaborative process and to seeing these bills signed into law.