Oregon Wildlands Passes Senate!


When elected leaders do good, we thank them!

Please thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for protecting wild places today!

Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), including the Oregon Wildlands Act (S. 1548), the Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Act (S. 513/H.R. 1308), and the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,. The package now heads to the U.S. House where we are hopeful it will pass and be signed into law.

KS Wild an allies have worked for over ten years to secure southwest Oregon protections in this bill - these include:

  • Protecting the upper Chetco River from mining claims.

  • Expanding Wild & Scenic protections for streams feeding the Wild Rogue River.

  • Expanding Wild & Scenic protections for streams feeding the Elk River.

This is an amazing step forward for wild rivers. KS Wild allies are also fired up about these protections. One of our business partners is Zach Collier. He owns the Northwest Rafting Company and said this: “Oregon is the Wild and Scenic Rivers state, and I’m exceptionally proud that we’re adding more watersheds and more miles of National Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Chetco and Elk Rivers are particularly important to me and I’m happy to see increased protection to these exceptional watersheds.”

The Oregon bills have been pending in Congress for years despite broad public support from Oregonians across the state. The bills will protect some of Oregon’s most unique lands and rivers that are treasured sources of clean drinking water, phenomenal outdoor recreation, and wilderness character. Unfortunately, Congressman Greg Walden was able to remove the Wild Rogue Wilderness from the bill. KS Wild and our allies will continue to fight to protect the Wild Rogue Canyon between Grave Creek and Mule Creek.

The Oregon Wildlands Act was introduced by Senators Wyden and Merkley and will designate the nearly 256 miles as Wild and Scenic Rivers, including the Molalla and Elk Rivers and tributaries to the lower Rogue River. The bill will also permanently withdraw portions of the salmon-rich Chetco River, the drinking water source for the City of Brookings, from mining claims. U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader have been steadfast champions of the protections located within their congressional districts.  

The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Area would safeguard an area in the North Umpqua basin that contains some of the best wild steelhead spawning areas in the Pacific Northwest and honor Frank Moore, a World War II veteran, and his wife of over 70 years. Both are legendary stewards of the North Umpqua.

Western Oregon boasts some of the most biologically diverse and undeveloped lands in the nation. From free-flowing rivers teeming with salmon to deep ancient forests to plants seen nowhere else on the planet, the area offers people a place to relax and listen to hidden waterfalls, and raft and fish in wild rivers.

Passage of these bills will be a boon to local economies. Visitors from across the country and around the globe come to explore and enjoy Western Oregon’s outstanding fishing, rafting, hiking, and other outdoor recreation opportunities. The Outdoor Industry Association recently found that outdoor recreation in Oregon generates $16.4 billion in consumer spending, 172,000 jobs, $5.1 billion in wages and salaries and $749 million in state and local tax revenue.  

The protections in this bill including Wild and Scenic River and Wilderness designations that specifically allow for continued access, hunting, and fishing. Nothing in this bill curtails fighting wildfire or fuels reduction.

The Oregon Wildlands Act builds on a rich legacy of river and wilderness conservation in Oregon. Oregonians hope to continue building on this legacy by protecting more of Oregon’s spectacular natural treasures.

The Natural Resources Management Act (S.47) now awaits a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Community members across Oregon are urging the House to pass the bill.