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House Approves Skimpy Land Acquisition Budget

National Park & Forest Land Acquisitions Need Funding

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the FY07 Interior Appropriations Bill, which had the lowest allocation for conservation land purchases in decades. The bill included only 10 national park projects, including $1.5 million for acquisition of key parcels along the Carbon River in the recently authorized addition to Mt. Rainier National Park. Rep. Norm Dicks, senior member of the appropriations committee, and Rep. Dave Reichert, who represents the 8th district where the park addition is located, worked to get this into a very tight budget bill. In a similar situation for the Forest Service, $1 million was allocated to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.

Now the action turns to the Senate, where Senator Patty Murray, a long time supporter of funding for the Checkerboard country, sits on the appropriations committee. The Sierra Club is supporting funding to acquire some other key parcels in the checkerboard country this year. One 620-acre parcel at Stampede Pass includes a mile of the Pacific Crest Trail. Another section along Big Creek is partly within the Manastash Roadless Area and contains habitat for spotted owls and salmon. Each will cost about a million dollars. The Sierra Club is working with Cascade Land Conservancy and Trust for Public Land on these projects.