Help protect the Wild and Scenic Chetco River against mining

The Wild and Scenic Chetco River has stunning emerald-green and turquoise waters, amazing recreational opportunities, and provides clean drinking water to over 20,000 people in Brookings and Harbor in southern Oregon.

It also hosts runs of massive King/chinook salmon, and the Chetco fishery is an important economic engine for surrounding communities. The Chetco was recently mentioned in National Geographic Magazine.

Unfortunately all these values are at risk from in-river gold mining which led American Rivers to list the Chetco as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ in 2010. Under the 1872 Mining Law mining is treated as the highest and best use of our public lands, even National Wild and Scenic Rivers like the Chetco.

In 2008, a company submitted plans to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest to mine nearly half the Wild and Scenic Chetco River’s length for gold, including about six miles inside the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

Oregon’s Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio have introduced legislation that would increase protection for this jewel of a river.

To aid Congress in their consideration of the legislation, the Forest Service has asked the Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, to withdraw 17 miles of the Chetco River—the Scenic and Recreational segment—from the 1872 Mining Law for five years (the Wilderness segment is already permanently withdrawn).

Secretary Salazar needs to hear that the public supports this “mineral withdrawal in aid of legislation” to provide greater protection for the National Wild and Scenic Chetco River.

Please help us safeguard the Chetco River from mining by sending in a public comment to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

You can write a short letter to the BLM saying that you support “mineral withdrawal in aid of legislation” to permanently protect the Wild and Scenic Chetco River and appreciate the BLM and Forest Service’s efforts to provide interim measures for protection while Congress considers more lasting protection. Find out more here. Thank you!

Please send your letter to the below address. Comments must be received by November 30th.  

Oregon/Washington State Director
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 2965
Portland, Oregon 97208–2965