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Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions Bill Passes House

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Mar 26, 2010 12:40 PM |

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Pratt River falls sq

In the Summer of 2007, a group of conservation and recreation organizations formed with the intent of working with Congressman Reichert (WA-08) to add 20,000 acres to the Alpine Lake Wilderness and to designate the Pratt River as a Wild and Scenic River. After a long hard road, the bill has made it over a major hurdle - passage through the House of Representatives.

Along with the Alpine Lakes Protection Society, American Rivers, American Whitewater, The Mountaineers, Cascade Chapter Sierra Club, Middle Fork Coalition, North Cascades Conservation Council, Washington Wilderness Coalition and The Wilderness Society, WTA is an Alpine Lakes Working Group member organization.

In fact, I spoke up for the bill at a press event on the Middle Fork in August of that year. We're very happy to see this legislation take such an important step forward, particularly since the Middle Fork Valley has only recently been reclaimed from the shooting, dumping and meth labs that riddled the area for decades.

Now the Senate needs to act on the companion legislation authored and championed by Senator Patty Murray. Once passed and signed, this proposal will add portions of the Ira Spring and Granite Mountain trails to the Wilderness. The Pratt River Valley will be added to the Alpine Lakes, as will a slim section of the Middle Fork Valley that is in the 8th Congressional District.  Advocates working on the proposal chose to leave the Middle Fork Trail out of the Wilderness in recognition of existing mountain bike access to the trail. As a result, the Evergreen Mountain Bike Association - previously the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club - supports the proposal.

We've enjoyed working with Congressman Reichert, as well as the bill's original co-sponsors - Congressmen Inslee, Smith, Baird and McDermott - and look forward to the companion moving through the Senate.  

For more information on the Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions, please don't hesitate to contact me at 206.625.1367 or by email at jonathan@wta.org.

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