On October 2, 2018 – the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act – a bill to protect wild rivers and lands in Oregon moved one step closer to the finish line. The Oregon Wildlands Act (S.1548) passed through the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources suggesting it is ready for the spotlight – approval from the full Senate and House and a signature by the President.
Senators Wyden and Merkely’s Oregon Wildlands Act brings together longstanding efforts to protect outstanding rivers and wild landscapes in Oregon. If passed, the bill would protect 90,000 acres of Wilderness in the Devil’s Staircase and Wild Rogue areas, add 256 miles of Oregon rivers to the Wild & Scenic system, safeguard 128,000 acres of the Rogue and Molalla Rivers as Recreation Areas and withdraw an important section of the Chetco River from new mining claims.
Fifty years ago the Lower Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Oregon Wildlands Act would grant nearly 100 miles of tributaries of the Lower Rogue River with the same protections. And, protecting the Rogue, it’s tributaries and it’s surrounding wild landscapes is good for business. According to a 2009 economic report, river-based recreation on and near the Wild & Scenic Rogue River accounted for nearly $30 million in economic output and 445 full and part time jobs.
Here’s a blog post by longtime Conservation Alliance member Northwest Rafting Company explaining the bill and highlighting the abundant and important recreation opportunities it seeks to protect.
Our very own Josie Norris joined Conservation Alliance members KEEN and Northwest Rafting Company, and longtime grantee American Whitewater on a four-day trip down the Wild Rogue. Check out what a four-day trip down the Wild Rogue looks like on KEEN’s blog.
Inspired to take Action? Keep Scrolling Down!
This summer, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center was the recipient of a $45,000 grant from The Conservation Alliance for its work to protect southwest Oregon’s wild rivers, streams, and lands. Our history of funding campaigns to protect the Wild Rogue and its surrounding areas dates back well over a decade.
We remain hopeful that the Oregon Wildlands bill will pass in the 115th Congress, if not alone than in a year-end public lands package. It’s going to take a lot of work to get there. Many of our Oregon-based members joined us in a letter to our Senators thanking them for their hard work and urging them to continue to work to protect southwest Oregon’s wild places. Please consider contacting Senators Wyden and Merkley with a similar message. We’ve made it simple for you to do so, below!