(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA8) reintroduced their Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act. This legislation would expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and designate both the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers as Wild and Scenic.
“I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Reichert to protect and expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness,” said Senator Patty Muray. “I am committed to making sure that this pristine environment is preserved as a legacy and natural resource for generations to come. I appreciate Congressman Reichert’s work on this in the House, and I am going to push hard to pass this bill in the Senate.”
“Americans can find common ground in protecting what is most valuable to us – the naturally beautiful terrain and wildlife that helped shape the history and people of the American West,” said Representative Reichert. “We have an inherent responsibility to do our part to preserve for the resources with which we’ve been blessed.
“That’s why I’m excited Senator Patty Murray is joining me in this continued bipartisan effort to preserve an extraordinary wilderness in Washington, not far from our own backyards. We came close last year when my bill passed in the House, but Senator Murray and I have renewed our vow to work hard to move this proposal through the 112th Congress and see it signed into law. Only then will we properly honor the volunteers, stakeholders, and residents who have shown us how important and necessary these protections are to people throughout our region. Until then, I am committed to working with Senator Murray, the entire Washington State delegation, and our communities to protect this legacy for the benefit of current and future generations.”
Senator Maria Cantwell is a co-sponsor of this legislation in the Senate, and Congressmen Inslee, McDermott, Smith and Dicks are co-sponsors in the House.
The existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1976 by the late Congressman Lloyd Meeds and is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the country. It is one of the closest blocks of wild forests to an urban center in the country and provides diverse recreational opportunities. Key elements of the new Alpine Lakes legislation include:
Providing the protection of the Wilderness Act of 1964 for the lower elevation lands, which will bring a richer diversity of ecosystems, including deeply forested valleys, into the wilderness area and increase its overall biodiversity. The addition of these lower elevation lands also has the direct effect of protecting a broader array of outdoor recreational opportunities easily accessible for wilderness enthusiasts.
- Designating the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers as Wild and Scenic, which would permanently protect the rivers’ free-flowing character, water quality and outstanding recreation, fisheries, wildlife, geological and ecological values. This designation provides for many recreational activities including unique backcountry hiking, kayaking, and white water rafting that is unheard of so close to a major urban center