Wilderness bills pass important hurdle in Senate: Is logjam over?

Colorado's San Juan Mountains stand to gain the protections they deserve. 

Random Letters, flickr

Last year was a huge disappointment for wilderness in Congress -- not a single wilderness bill passed. Will this year be different?

If the Senate is any indication, your support of wilderness bills may meet success this year. On June 18, after months of speculation about how wilderness-friendly the 113th Congress will be, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed five bills that we support and have been working to pass. 

These bills include three wilderness designation bills and two others that would preserve special lands through other protections!

Urge your Congress member to pass these and other wilderness bills

Oregon, Colorado and Nevada would gain protections

Kayakers on Oregon's Chetco River. By Northwest Rafting Company

The Wilderness Society applauds the committee’s bipartisan efforts to protect America’s wildlands and waters for future generations.

The three wilderness bills mark a huge victory for the protection of our wilderness and signals momentum in the Senate for the continued preservation of our cherished wild areas.

Urge your Congress member to pass these and other wilderness bills

All three bills – supported by both Democrats and Republicans alike -- protect land that cradles precious headwaters and wildlife habitat.

The areas protected in Oregon, Colorado and Nevada are home to a rich array of fish, wildlife, flora and fauna. These bills also have support from a broad spectrum of groups and organizations, from hunters to anglers, hikers to bird watchers, bikers to campers.

Protections for Montana and New Mexico

Two other bills would continue to preserve significant lands in New Mexico and Montana:

  • Montana: The North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2013 would prevent any future mining or oil and gas development just outside of Glacier National Park, protecting the pristine waters of the Flathead River from mining impacts. 

  • New Mexico: The Valles Caldera National Preserve Management Act (S. 285) would transfer management of New Mexico's Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service (NPS), creating robust economic benefits for New Mexico while simultaneously protecting the continued use of the preserve for grazing, hunting and fishing.

As we continue into the 113th Congress, The Wilderness Society is pleased to see the Senate moving wilderness legislation.

We are hopeful that this continued momentum will inspire the U.S. House of Representatives to stop its logjam of wilderness bills and start to move the dozens of community-crafted bills stalled from last Congress

See also: 

Learn about other wilderness bills up for consideration

Photo: Cow elk in Valles Caldera, New Mexico. Larry 1732, flickr