News Releases

Wild Sky Wilderness Bill Clears Senate Committee

Jul 23 2003

Next step: Senate Floor

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The Wild Sky Wilderness bill cleared a key Senate committee Wednesday and is on its way to being considered by the full Senate. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, of which Sen. Maria Cantwell is a member, marked up the bill during a committee hearing this morning.

The proposed Wild Sky Wilderness area is the result of more than three years of bipartisan collaboration, community involvement and hard work. Led by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen, the proposal would protect 106,000 acres of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for a host of outdoor recreational activities.

"Today's Senate action is another important milestone on the path to preserving this pristine area for outdoor enthusiasts," said Murray. "Wild Sky will be an outdoor playground for the millions of people who live within a two-hour drive. I am proud that the Senate has again put Wild Sky on track to become law and I will continue to work to pass this bill through Congress. Sen. Cantwell also deserves credit for her efforts on this proposal."

"I am pleased that Wild Sky received a bipartisan seal of approval today," said Cantwell. "Wild Sky will be a recreational treasure and a boost for the local economy. Today's quick passage is a sign of recognition of a lot of hard work, particularly on the part of Senator Murray and Congressman Larsen."

Murray and Larsen have worked extensively with local stakeholders and interested parties to develop the wilderness area. Designation of this wilderness area would protect wildlife and promote clean water, protect threatened salmon, steelhead and trout, protect recreational opportunities for the region, and contribute to the local economy.

Last month, the Bush Administration praised Wild Sky during a Senate hearing. Mark Rey, the Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the Department of Agriculture declared that Wild Sky is "a good bill," which the President would sign into law.

The state's largest newspapers have also lauded the proposal.

The Everett Herald editorialized, "Given the remarkable bipartisan enthusiasm and support, and the president's willingness to sign the bill, Congress has no excuse for letting Wild Sky slip away again." [Everett Herald, 6/9/2003]

The Seattle Times wrote, "the Wild Sky Wilderness has been studied, debated and revised. Congress can be confident a good idea with broad local support is ready to proceed." [ST, 6/18/03]

The Seattle PI wrote, "Wild Sky deserves enactment. It's an excellent plan, and it keeps getting better." [SPI, 6/9/03]