November 29, 2012

Oregon wildernesses - take action.

The following is excerpted from Oregon Wild's email newsletter:

As the 112th Congress draws to a close it reveals a wildly unproductive, do-nothing session. This will be the first Congress since 1966 which has failed to pass a single Wilderness bill. Even bills with prominent Republican sponsors have been blocked by lobbyists from the oil, gas, mining, and logging industries.

But there's a chance to salvage the record of the 112th Congress
a package of fully-vetted Oregon Wilderness bills awaits a final vote.

The package includes spectacularly wild places like the old-growth forests of the proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness in the Coast Range, the rugged canyons and thrilling whitewater of the proposed Wild Rogue Wilderness, and a proposal to extend Wild and Scenic River protection to the waters of the Molalla River, just south of Portland.

In Eastern Oregon, the rolling grasslands and hidden pine forests of Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven are similarly ready and waiting for Wilderness designation.

Oregon's most incredible wild and special places do not deserve to be ignored or dismissed away. These natural gems are ready to move forward with wilderness designations worthy of their special, uniquely Oregon characteristics. Unfortunately, the bills are currently cooling their heels, waiting for the day when Congress remembers wilderness is a worthy, bipartisan endeavor with a grand tradition.

The good news is the elections sent a strong signal to Congress the status quo is not acceptable. For the first time in years, there is a significant opportunity to advance legislation which puts our nation's wildlands and natural heritage ahead of the whims of corporate lobbyists.

Please take a moment to contact Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and ask them to fight for the inclusion of Oregon's unfinished Wilderness business in any Senate legislation on public lands.

There is a chance major legislation could move in Congress before January, and it is vital our elected leaders take action to ensure Oregon's wildlands, wildlife, and waters are included in any package.

Whether one is a hiker, fisherman, hunter, or lives for whitewater rafting or soaking in the peace and solitude of Oregon's enviable wildlands, we all have a responsibility to protect these remaining special places.

Please take action today to ensure a heritage of protected Oregon Wilderness for generations to come.

The hard work of research, policy, writing draft legislation and reaching consensus has long been accomplished – the time to send these bills through Congress for approval is NOW.

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