Congress considers protecting two of Oregon’s treasures

Devil’s Staircase Proposed Wilderness Area

Imagine a place so rugged and wild that one guide book describes it as a place that only a “handful of mortals have penetrated”. It is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including salmon, black bear, otter and mink. Do you picture Alaska? If so think again. In fact, you don’t have to travel to Alaska to enjoy this type of pristine wildness. One exists in the Lower 48 – in Oregon.

In the southwest corner of Oregon’s beautiful coastal range, you will find this special place, situated in Siuslaw National Forest and in the Coos Bay Bureau of Land Management district.

In June 2009, two bills (S.1272 and H.R.2888) were introduced in the Senate, championed by Senator Wyden, and in the House of Representatives, championed by Rep. DeFazio, that would protect over 25,000 acres of this gem, including almost 15 miles of river as Wild and Scenic.

The Wilderness Society is supporting this bill, which will preserve lush ancient forests, cascading waterfalls and a recreational playground for the hardcore adventurer now and in the future.

The Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act of 2009 will have a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009. Co-sponsors of the bill are: Senator Merkley and Representatives Schrader, Wu and Blumenauer.

Molalla River Proposed for Wild and Scenic River Designation

The Molalla River is less than an hour’s drive from Oregon’s busiest city, Portland and provides clean drinking water to the cities of Canby and Molalla.

Considered one of Oregon’s crown jewels, the upper forks of the Molalla wind through old-growth Douglas fir forests and basalt rock canyons, providing a healthy habitat for wildlife and fish, including winter steelhead.

If designated as Wild and Scenic, the Molalla and tributary Table Rock Creek, would be preserved so that future generations can experience the river’s rich history and recreational benefits.

The proposed Molalla Wild and Scenic River legislation was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader in the House of Representatives in June 2009. The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow, October 1st on the legislation.

Co-sponsors of the bill are: Representatives DeFazio, Wu and Blumenauer. A companion Senate bill, S.1369 is sponsored by Senator Wyden and co-sponsored by Senator Merkley.