The Oregon Wildlands Act: Preserving Oregon’s Wilderness and Natural Beauty

The state of Oregon is rich with wildlife and agricultural beauty, and protecting its environment is in the interests of all Oregonians. From national forests to winding rivers teaming with fabled salmon populations, Oregon is one of the most stunning states in the nation.

Among these outdoor allures is the state’s abundance of rivers, wildlife, and outdoor recreation areas, which is why support for the Oregon Wildlands Act (S. 1548) is so important. With meaningful protections for some of Oregon’s most treasured lands and rivers, this measure is worth more than just consideration.The bill has been passed by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and it is paramount that it now be brought before and then passed by the United States Congress.

S. 1548 would have a substantial, positive impact in some of Oregon’s most important conservation areas, including the Rogue River, Devil’s Staircase Wilderness, and the Molalla River. Adding approximately 86,000 acres of new Wilderness and 120,000 acres of recreational areas benefits countless Oregonians and visitors looking for opportunities to hike, camp, raft, and explore the state’s unique areas. In addition, the Oregon Wildlands Act would add more than 250 river miles to the Wild and Scenic river system -- a system of protecting and maintaining healthy, panoramic rivers established by the 1968,  Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Protecting these areas also contributes to the outdoor recreation economy in Oregon. The tourism sector has been an integral part of Oregon’s economy for years and it continues to grow every year. With the Rogue River alone generating $30 million a year, it along with the other protected areas of this bill are worthy of protection for more than just conservation purposes.

The American Conservation Coalition supports the passage of S.1548, the Oregon Wildlands Act. This bill continues our mission to protect our treasured outdoor areas, providing both environmental and economic benefits. We hope that the Congress will approve this legislation to help keep Oregon as the beautiful, thriving state that it is.

Spencer McLaughlin is a true advocate of the phrase “west coast best coast.” He is currently working on a double major in political science and Spanish at SCU.

Spencer McLaughlin