Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wilderness Bill Passes Congress Protects 2 Million Acres

The House approved the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146) on a vote of 285 to 140 on March 25, 2009 that includes the largest expansion of the wilderness system in 15 years -- 2 million acres in nine states -- and launched one of the most ambitious river restoration efforts in the West. The bill passed in the Senate on March 19, on a vote of 77-20. President Obama will sign the bill on Monday, March 30. Provisions by state include:

* Preserve nearly 450,000 acres of wilderness and 73 miles of wild and scenic rivers near Santa Clarita and along the California Nevada border, including the White Mountains.
* Protect some 190,000 acres in Riverside County as wilderness, including parts of Joshua Tree National Park.
* Protect about 70,000 acres of wilderness, including the new John Krebs Wilderness, named for the former congressman and conservationist who fought to protect these lands in the Mineral King Valley.
* Protect nearly 250,000 acres of Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park.
* Protect 66,000 acres of red rock sandstone canyons, cliffs, streams and waterfalls in western Colorado.
* Protect as wilderness 517,000 acres in Idaho's Owyhee Canyonlands.
* Protect 11,739 acres of wilderness at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
New Mexico:
* Protect more than 15,000 acres in San Miguel County as wilderness.
* Protect 13,700 acres of old-growth forest in Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest.
* Protect more than 128,000 acres of national forest on Mount Hood.
* Protect nearly 31,000 acres of wilderness in the Badlands just east of Bend.
* Protect more than 250,000 acres of wilderness in and near Zion National Park.
* Protect 43,000 acres of the Jefferson National Forest as wilderness, and 12,000 as a national scenic area.
West Virginia:
* Protect 37,000 acres in the Monongahela National Forest.

Source: Associated Press, L.A. Times, (Omnibus Wilderness Bill Key Provisions, The Wilderness Society)

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