Grateful for the Wilderness Act
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Thank God we had people with the wisdom to enact this law. The many years leading up to the act in 1964 are a rich, important part of our country’s history. Some of the first conservationists were hunters, trappers and fishermen, because lumbermen back east were destroying habitat of the animals that were their livelihood.
This landmark conservation bill created a way for Americans to protect their very few pristine wildlands for future generations. There are many beneficial values to our communities in protecting wildlands.
The most important thing to me is the cold, clear water that flows from these areas supporting the fisheries. Fishing is a way of life for many Oregonians and also a way for us to provide food for our families.
Over-cutting our forests and the continued practice of clear-cuts are degrading our watersheds, making it harder for successful spawning and rearing of wild salmon and steelhead. This loss leaves us with fewer jobs and millions of dollars in reduced economic output.
I support responsible forest practices such as thinning younger stands. There are peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that wilderness and wild areas are functioning watersheds. Go into our public forests during rainstorms and see how the streams from cut forests run muddy and those from intact forests run clear.
I support the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal. It will protect the headwaters of the Klamath, Rogue and Umpqua rivers. The headwaters are the most important part of a watershed. The very few intact areas that are left should be protected as wilderness. A sincere thank-you to the great patriotic Americans who 50 years ago left us some of our beautiful natural heritage by enacting the Wilderness Act.