Teddy Bear News

New Bill and Hearings on others advance wildlife
Author: teddygirl | Wednesday September 26, 2007

The following is from Campaign for America's Wilderness, an organization that is working to achieve lasting protection for threatened wild lands.

While many people are out enjoying our national parks, forests, and wild lands this summer, Members of Congress and their constituents have been busy trying to add additional lands to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) on July 12 introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 1774 and H.R. 3022, respectively) to protect as wilderness nearly 115,000 acres of pristine public land within the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. The Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Wilderness Act would protect high mountains, canyons, caverns and ancient Sequoia groves, while providing opportunities for camping, hiking, and horseback riding.

Nearly 70,000 acres of this proposed wilderness area would be named after former Congressman John Krebs, a renowned conservationist from the area. The proposed wilderness area includes the Redwood Mountain Grove, the largest Giant Sequoia grove within the park. It also includes California’s longest cave and the Old Hockett Trail, one of the first Cross-Sierra routes in the southern Sierra Nevada range. The land is home to many wild animals, including the California spotted owl and the Golden Eagle.

Also on July 12, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness and Indian Peaks Wilderness Expansion Act. Sponsored by Sens. Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Wayne Allard (R-CO) and Reps. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), the legislation would permanently protect nearly 250,000 acres of pristine backcountry as wilderness. It reflects a years-long collaborative process between the congressional sponsors, hiking, biking, and many other recreational groups, conservation organizations, as well as businesses and affected local communities. Passage of S.1380 will ensure economic sustainability for local communities and will guarantee that the park will be as beautiful and inviting to future generations as it is today.

While we hope to work with the sponsors and the Committee to improve specific parts of the legislation to better protect the park land and the integrity of the Wilderness Act, we are optimistic that this Congress will finally make sure the American treasure that is Rocky Mountain National Park is protected for all time.

The Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act of 2007 (S. 647) now awaits consideration by the full Senate, thanks to a unanimous vote July 25 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR), would designate as wilderness 125,000 acres of pristine, rugged landscape around Mount Hood and in the Columbia Gorge, while also designating 80 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Senate legislation builds on a bipartisan Mount Hood proposal, authored by Reps Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Greg Walden (R-OR), that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year.

In addition to safeguarding some of the region's last old-growth forests and pristine watersheds from logging and development, the legislation would help ensure future generations can continue to enjoy these areas through activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. Wilderness designation also helps combat global warming by protecting old-growth forests, nature's most efficient system for removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

For more information, visit Campaign for America's Wilderness' website.

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