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Your Wilderness - January 2006 January 10, 2006 11:25 AM

Your Wilderness - January 2006

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Featured Organization 

ONRC
ONRC: Thirty years of protecting wild Oregon

In the struggle to protect Oregon’s remaining unspoiled lands from logging and reckless development, few names carry as much history as Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC). Founded in 1974, ONRC has been the leading voice for the preservation of Oregon’s wild lands, wildlife, and waters as a legacy for future generations for over three decades.

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The Gift of Wilderness

The holiday season has passed and as we review gifts we have received and bills for those given, we may have overlooked the couple of nice heirloom gifts Congress delivered to the American people.

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For wilderness, 2005 ended with a lot to cheer. Congress passed, and President Bush signed, three wilderness packages, designating public land for permanent protection in New Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Utah. Our gift to future generations, the National Wilderness Preservation System, grew by another 120,000 acres. Plus, on the winter solstice, the U.S. Senate blocked a maneuver to open the quintessential wilderness of the Arctic Refuge for oil companies to profit. Thus, for the time being, the nation’s only stretch of arctic coast closed to oil development by law will remain a lasting vestige of our natural heritage.

A new year is now upon us. What will 2006 bring?

At the Campaign for America's Wilderness, we believe it will bring continued success. Waiting in the wings for Congressional approval are no fewer than ten wilderness proposals, including some hefty ones: 300,000 acres of northern California coastal forests; 300,000 acres in Idaho central mountains; and 100,000 acres in Washington’s western forests. The buoyancy created by the victories of 2005 has generated enthusiasm on the part of legions across the country participating in our democracy. The process does work—when we combine our voices into a boisterous one on behalf of wild places.

For the wild,
SELC
Mike Matz
Executive Director

Featured Wilderness 

New Hampshire’s Wild River

NH Wild RiverNew Hampshire’s White Mountains have been a destination for hikers for well over a century. Home to the highest peaks

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 January 10, 2006 11:26 AM

in the northeast, the area was heavily logged in the 19th century. Congress responded to public concerns about the vast clearcuts and wildfires with passage of the Appalachian-White Mountains Forest Reservation Bill in 1911, authorizing the federal government to purchase lands in the eastern United States to be permanently reserved, held, and administered as national forest lands, "for the protection, development and use of their natural resource." Today the legislation is known as the Weeks Act, after its sponsor Representative (and later Senator) John Wingate Weeks (R-MA), born near Lancaster, NH, who knew firsthand of the need for restoration of these lands. Perhaps nowhere else was or is the concept of a federal forest so widely embraced and treasured by such a variety of interests. As a result, since passage of the Weeks Act, most of the land within the national forest boundaries has been donated to or acquired by the Forest Service, and mountainsides and valleys once scarred by clearcuts, roads, and railroads, have re-grown so that the White Mountains now contain the largest undeveloped expanses of any national forest in the East.

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Congressional Update 

Much to Celebrate in 2005

Conservationists had much to celebrate as we say farewell to 2005 and ring in the New Year. A high point was our colleagues' success in stripping provisions from the Defense Appropriations conference report that would have permitted drilling in the Arctic Refuge—the only portion of America’s arctic where oil drilling is currently not allowed by law. This win came on the heels of a successful effort to drop disastrous language from the Budget Reconciliation package that would have allowed millions of acres of public land to be sold at give-away prices.

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Take Action 

Tell a Friend About Wilderness

As you know, the protection accorded under the Wilderness Act is the strongest available for our precious public lands. Today, less than 5 percent of the U.S. land base is protected wilderness; outside of Alaska just 2.5 percent of our nation’s lands are protected. Now it’s time to tell some friends about Campaign for America’s Wilderness and help us grow the grassroots movement for wilderness protection.

Take Action today!
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Wilderness Hero 

Michelle Halle – an Outdoors Woman

January 2006 HeroI am here today because I think it’s important that you know that people like me exist in the Portland metro area and people like me value roadless and wilderness areas. As you can plainly see, I am a woman − but the obvious stops there. I am also a Republican who has voted in every single election I was eligible to vote in since I was 18 yrs old. I also hunt and fish – I own two birddogs, three shotguns and six fly rods, know how to use them, and use them on a regular basis. I can put food on my family’s table without going near a grocery store. And I know that the best hunting and fishing opportunities are located in roadless and wilderness areas.

-- Michelle Halle, from her testimony before Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Greg Walden (R-OR) at “Mt. Hood Summit III: A Legacy for Mt. Hood,” Dec. 3, 2005

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