Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Press Conference Held on Proposed Additions to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Mountaineers Recreation Resources Division chair Tom O'Keefe speaks at a press conference held by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representative Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) on completion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (photo by Harry Romberg).

On Friday, April 10th, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Dave Reichert announced at Three Forks Park that they are co-sponsoring a bill "The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act" (S. 721 and H.R. 1769) to complete the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

This bi-cameral legislation will help protect some of the most gorgeous and accessible backcountry (located less than an hour from a major metropolitan area) anywhere in the country. The proposal includes adding 22,000 acres to the exisiting Alpine Lakes Wilderness as well as protecting 30 miles of Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River under Wild and Scenic designation.

“The Alpine Lakes Wilderness connects the wildlands between Snoqualmie, Stevens and Blewett passes,” said John Chelminiak, North Cascades Initiative Director for The Wilderness Society. “This legislation preserves key recreation opportunities for more than three million people in the region, improves wildlife habitat and enhances our communities by protecting two river corridors. Future generations will look back on this measure as one of the most significant in our efforts to ensure the future of Washington’s remaining wildlands for our children and grandchildren.”

Stay tuned here and in the Mountaineer for updates as this exciting piece of legislation progresses through the House and Senate.

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