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March Was a Big Month for Wilderness Protection Both Nationally and in Washington State

By Ben Greuel

On Monday, March 30th President Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act (S.22) therefore designating over 2 million acres of wilderness in 16 areas and in 9 different states. The signing was a huge victory in the effort to protect our public lands. Though Washington State was left out of this round of wilderness bills, our wilderness champions are working hard at protecting our precious public lands.

On Thursday, March 26th, four days before President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act, Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Dave Reichert introduced the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act” - this joint legislation will help ensure the future of some of Washington’s most popular backcountry recreation areas by designating more than 22,000 acres of wilderness adjacent to the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. The legislation will also protect nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

The Sierra Club joined other conservationists, recreationists, local stakeholders and elected officials in applauding the much anticipated announcement.

Photo is of the Pratt River Valley by Rick McGuire