by Harry Romberg
Just 45 minutes east of downtown Seattle, the Pratt, Middle Fork and South Fork Snoqualmie Valleys are the closest mountain valleys to Puget Sound population centers. This remarkable area includes glacier-cut u-shaped valleys, snow-capped peaks, old-growth forests, whitewater rivers and vibrant native trout runs.
Now, Congress can protect these areas forever with the reintroduced Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R-8) and Suzan DelBene (D-1) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). This bill would preserve low elevation, accessible recreation opportunities for more than three million people in the region, improves wildlife habitat and enhances our communities.
The low elevation forests provide relatively rare wilderness recreation opportunities and are a key complement to the iconic peaks and lakes in the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Powered by strong local support, including nearly 80 local elected officials, more than 100 local businesses, more than 50 conservation and recreation groups, and nearly 70 Washington faith leaders, community members have advocated for protecting the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie River valleys.
Future generations will look back on this measure as a critical addition to Washington great legacy of protecting our remaining wildlands for our children and grandchildren.