Wilderness Bills Clear Senate Committee

Projects funded by The Conservation Alliance took an important step forward yesterday when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved five bills to protect more than 125,000 acres of Wilderness. Among the bills were three initiatives that would protect Wilderness in Washington, Oregon, and Tennessee, as follows:

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), to add 22,100 acres to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and designate parts of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers as Wild and Scenic.

The Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act of 2011, introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (both D-Ore.), to safeguard nearly 30,000 acres on Wassen Creek in Oregon’s Coast Range (map).

The Tennessee Wilderness Act, introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (both R-Tenn.), to protect nearly 20,000 acres of wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest.

These bills now go to the full Senate for a vote, and then on to the House. While the politics for Wilderness in Washington are tricky right now, we are pleased that three of the campaigns we have supported have made progress.