Alpine Lakes Wilderness Bill Passes Senate
In a surprise to many followers of federal wilderness legislation, the U.S. Senate passed the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Expansion bill last night.
Behind-the-scenes work by senators from both parties resulted in a passel of conservation and energy measures passing the Senate by unanimous consent. Among the legislation passed was S.112, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, and S.383, the Illabot Creek Wild and Scenic River Act. Senator Patty Murray has shepherded both bills.
WTA has supported the Alpine Lakes proposal since its inception in 2007. The bill would protect 20,000 acres adjacent to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and designate both the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers as Wild and Scenic. It enjoys the support of a broad swathe of the non-motorized recreation community, including the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and Back Country Horsemen of Washington.
Now we wait for the House of Representatives to take up the proposal. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, has indicated that he will schedule a hearing on the House version, H.R. 361, in July. Congressman Reichert, Congresswoman DelBene, Congressman Smith and Congressman McDermott have all signed on to this legislation and worked to advocate for it.
Please take a moment to thank Washington's Senators Murray and Cantwell for this great move forward. And if you happen to live in the district of Congressman Hastings or one of the House sponsors listed above, make sure to call and thank them, encouraging them to move the proposal forward with all due speed.