Congress looks at Oregon’s Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act

Devil's Staircase, Oregon. Photo by Dave Tvedt.

Oregon’s Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act is off to a positive start in Congress.

U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Joel Holtrop testified in support of the proposed Wilderness Area at a House Natural Resource Committee hearing on Oct. 1. He cited the area as one of the last remaining stands of old-growth forest in the Oregon Coast Range and its benefits as critical habitat for dozens of species, including the threatened Northern Spotted Owl and the Marbled Murrelet.

Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Abbey also testified in support of the bill. A total of 6,100 acres managed by the BLM fall in the proposed designation.

Adding to the chorus of support for this unique area, Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics called the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Area Oregon’s “wildest place” with a robust ecosystem supporting a wide range of plant and animal species.

A Senate hearing for the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act was scheduled for Oct. 8, after which the bill may be voted on in both the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the House Committee on Natural Resources. In order to continue in the legislative process, it must then be brought for a vote in the House and the Senate.

photo: Devil's Staircase, Oregon. Photo by Dave Tvedt.

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