Wyden and Merkley Introduce Bill to Protect 200,000 Acres of Wild Lands in Oregon

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today renewed their commitment to protecting the state’s most pristine and environmentally significant areas by introducing a bill to designate more than 200,000 acres of land as wilderness or national recreation areas and add more than 250 miles to the Wild and Scenic River System. 

“Protecting some of Oregon’s most breathtaking and unspoiled lands ensures healthy habitats for countless species of plants and animals, benefits local economies that depend on these areas and creates new recreation opportunities for Oregonians and visitors from across the country,” Wyden said. “Preserving these lands is a top priority, and Senator Merkley and I are going to be working to do all that we can to protect them.”

“Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world,” Merkley said. “By taking action to preserve our natural treasures, we enhance our recreation and tourism economy and make sure that our Oregon heritage will be passed on for generations to come. I’m proud to join Senator Wyden in introducing this legislation to preserve many of Oregon’s most special places.” 

The Oregon Wildlands Act would:

  • Create the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness by designating 30,500 acres of remote lands in the Oregon Coast Range and also designate 14.6 miles of Franklin Creek and Wasson Creek as Wild and Scenic Rivers. 
  • Expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness by more than 56,000 acres and add about 125 miles to the incomparable Rogue Wild and Scenic River. 
  • Protect almost 95,000 acres to create the Rogue Canyon National Recreation Area and another 24,000 acres to create the Molalla National Recreation Area to protect and enhance the unique fish and wildlife and recreational values of both areas. 

Wyden and Merkley introduced similar versions of the bill in the Oregon and California Land Grant Act of 2015 and in the previous Congress.