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Bill to protect 22,000 wilderness acres in Snoqualmie area clears House committee

Supporters of a congressional measure to preserve wild areas in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River had reason to celebrate last Wednesday, Feb. 24.

That's because the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act cleared the Natural Resources committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The measure is meant to protect an additional 22,000 acres of wilderness adjoining the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, and would add 10 miles of the Pratt River and nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River to the National Wild and Scenic River System.

The bill, which has had strong bipartisan support, passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in December.

“Today’s vote is a critical step forward in the protection of these treasured areas,” said Congressman Dave Reichert. “Washington State has a deep tradition of working together to preserve our natural resources for our children and grandchildren, and this bill will make substantial progress in continuing that tradition. I’m hopeful that my bill and Senator Murray’s companion legislation will soon be brought before the House and Senate for votes, and when they both pass, we look forward to the President signing this legislation to protect these areas for generations to come.”

“Protection of these spectacular rivers has so many benefits for nearby communities,” said Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “With the proximity of the Pratt and Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie rivers to the major urban center of Seattle, residents of the region have unparalleled access to an abundance of recreational opportunities provided by these world-class rivers. As someone who has explored hundreds of river miles across the country and around the world, I can confidently say that we have some of the most spectacular river resources of any place in the world.”

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