A giant step forward: Alpine Lakes bill passes Senate

Rafting the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.

Thomas O'Keefe

It’s been over four years since my barely walking toddler son, Leopold, attended his first media event.

It was at the Three Forks Natural Area in Snoqualmie, WA where Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Dave Reichert announced the introduction of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Wild and Scenic Act. 

That was the 111th Congress in 2009.  Four years later, the Act has taken a giant step of its own in Congress – today the Senate passed the bill, S. 112, for the first time. The Alpine Lakes bill was the only wilderness bill to pass the House of Representatives in the 111th Congress, and we look forward to seeing it move all the way through Congress to being signed into law by the President this year.

The result will be the permanent protection of 22,000 acres of wilderness and over 40 miles of river for their beauty, recreational opportunities and wildlife values. Just outside of the community of North Bend, this National Forest land is easily accessible to millions of people in Seattle and well-loved by the MidFORC Coalition, which has taken on its long-term stewardship. I have had the pleasure of rafting the Middle Fork Snoqualmie on two occasions and I can say that it is a splendor worthy of protection. The area hosts hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, birdwatching and climbing.

Now that Leopold is about ready to start kindergarten, I am looking forward to returning with him and his younger brother, Remy, to hike the newly reconstructed Pratt Connector Trail in Washington's soon-to-be newest wilderness addition.

Next step is a hearing on the companion bill, H.R. 361, in the House of Representatives. Stay tuned.

The case for Alpine Lakes wilderness additions and wild and scenic river protections.

See the map of proposed Alpine Lakes wilderness additions.