Will Congress pass wildland bills before it’s too late? The pressure mounts

Alpine Lakes in Washington. Courtesy USFS.

With only weeks left before the 111th Congress adjourns for its final time, conservationists are waiting to see if dozens of land, water and wildlife bills (including 21 wildlands and Wilderness bills), will make the short list of bills to be considered during the last days of the lame duck session.

Congress is down to the wire on deciding the fate of these critical bills—some which have been years in the making—but supporters are not going to let up the fight until the very end.

Politico AdJust this week, we joined a coalition of more than 120 groups from 31 states to sign an ad asking Congress to pass a conservation package this year. The ad ran on Dec. 7 in Politico, where we aim to get the attention of thoughtful lawmakers.

The suite of bills that the coalition is advocating for would establish new wilderness, parks, monuments, battlefields and heritage areas. It would also support water supply and conservation projects and protect key river segments. It would facilitate necessary land exchanges and conveyances and improve the management of America’s public lands.

Most notably in these times of need, the measures will boost local economic development by creating tourism, recreation and restoration jobs that work toward preserving essential components of America’s national heritage and protecting key natural resources.

The Wilderness Society is advocating for 21 wildland and Wilderness bills that would protect more than 2 million acres of Wilderness designations and 2 million acres of other wildlands protections from coast to coast in places like Colorado’s stunning San Juan range, California’s multi-colored desert and New Mexico’s rugged Organ Mountains.

The signatory groups are from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and, Wyoming.

The Wilderness Society encourages you to join us in contacting your Senators to support a comprehensive land, water and wildlife package that will protect important cultural, historical, and wild resources for the future. The wellbeing of our natural heritage depends on each generation contributing to the protection of water, air, land, and wildlife. Help us preserve the future of nature.

photo: Alpine Lakes in Washington. Courtesy USFS.