The Senate has plenty of high-profile issues to keep it busy in its lame duck session. But lawmakers should take time to pass a proposal that would protect more than 2 million acres of federal lands as wilderness, including 30,000 acres in the Oregon Coast Range known as the Devil’s Staircase.
The proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., would include 60 public lands bills that have passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which he chairs. They include a bill that would create the Devil’s Staircase wilderness in the Wassen Creek roadless area located between the Smith and Umpqua rivers.
Bingaman’s proposal would take the same approach as a 2009 omnibus bill that designated 2.1 million new wilderness areas in nine states, including 125,000 acres of new Mount Hood wilderness in Oregon.