Merkley Co-Sponsors Legislation to Protect Wilderness Areas

Merkley Co-Sponsors Legislation to Protect Wilderness Areas

Merkley supports legislation to preserve the Oregon Caves National Monument and the Devil’s Staircase

Washington, DC - Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has co-sponsored legislation to protect some of Oregon’s most scenic natural areas while helping boost local tourism and increase recreation opportunities.  The legislation would expand the protection of the Oregon Caves National Monument and some of Oregon’s ancient old growth forest situated along the Oregon Coast.

“We’ve made great strides this year enhancing protections for Oregon’s wilderness areas by passing the Public Lands bill,” said Merkley.  “Now we have an opportunity to build on those successes by enacting legislation that will further safeguard Oregon’s treasured old growth forests and the Oregon Caves National Monument.  I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that will stimulate economic growth and invigorate recreation activities as well as ensure that these wilderness areas can be enjoyed by future generations. “

The Oregon Caves bill will add approximately 4,070 acres to the Oregon Caves National Monument, preserving its natural resources and protecting the associated drinking water from harmful pollutants.  The Devil’s Staircase legislation will designate approximately 29,650 acres of the Siuslaw National Forest as a protected wilderness area, helping preserve old growth forests and the endangered species that inhabit the area.  The bills are sponsored by Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio in the House and Senator Ron Wyden in the Senate.

“Oregonians have been blessed to be able to enjoy these wild areas and benefit from the tourism economy they provide.   We have a responsibility to preserve these iconic special places and the habitats that surround them, which is exactly what this legislation does,” said Merkley.