(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A plan to preserve 106,000 acres of wilderness area in Snohomish County has cleared another hurdle in the race to become law before the end of the Congressional session. The "Wild Sky" wilderness bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen, passed out of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on a bipartisan vote earlier today.
"We are nearing the finish line in this historic, two-year effort to preserve a beautiful and accessible wilderness area for future generations," said Murray. "I am hopeful that the bipartisan, cooperative spirit that has brought us this far will prevail in creating a lasting recreation area for Washington state families."
Sen. Murray and Sen. Cantwell, who sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, worked with their colleagues to pass the measure.
Companion legislation passed the House Resources Committee on September 12.
Despite rapid population growth, Washington state has not added any new Forest Service wilderness areas since 1984. Designation of this wilderness area would protect wildlife and promote clean water, protect threatened species of salmon, steelhead, and trout, enhance and protect recreational opportunities for the region, while contributing to the local economy.
The Wild Sky Wilderness proposal is the result of more than two years of discussion and negotiation with the local community, Longview Fibre, the Washington State Snowmobile Association, the Wild Washington Campaign, and the Chelan County Public Utility District.
Murray added, "This legislation will help preserve the way of life that those of us in Washington state hold so dear. It will be a haven for climbers, hikers, hunters, anglers and anyone else who wants to enjoy the serenity and beauty of Washington state."