Wild Sky Wilderness Act signed by President
Introduced six years ago, the Wild Sky Wilderness Act has followed a rocky trail
to the President's desk. Finally, hikers and conservation advocates can welcome our first new Wilderness area in 24 years.
Wild Sky initially fared better in the Senate than the House. Passed unanimously by the Senate three years in a row, the legislation languished in the House. Resources Chair Congressman Richard Pombo, who was generally inclined to oppose new Wilderness, refused to allow a vote on the legislation in his committee, despite broad bipartisan support for the proposal. Congressman Pombo lost his seat in 2006, paving the way for bill passage.
Wild Sky passed the House only to be delayed in the Senate over attempts to change the Department of Interior's rules on loaded and assembled firearms in National Parks. The legislation made it out of the Senate, received a concurrence vote in the House, and was signed by the President.
Wild Sky includes a great deal of low-elevation forest lands, which are less-represented in Washington's Wilderness lands. These valley bottom lands are important providers of wildlife habitat, clean water and other ecosystem services.
Although Wild Sky is not trail-rich, it does include popular routes like West Cady Ridge and Johnson Ridge. Barclay Lake, while surrounded by Wilderness, is not included, in the interest of preserving historic use by Boy Scouts.
I plan on lacing up my hiking boots this summer and exploring more of Wild Sky. I hope you'll join us in celebrating--and visiting--this brand new Wilderness.