Portland, OR - Tributaries of the lower Rogue River and other recreational hotspots in western Oregon will be permanently protected by the “Oregon Treasures” legislation introduced today by Representatives Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden.
The legislation will protect 143 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in the lower Rogue River watershed, an area of unparalleled recreational opportunities. These rivers also provide clean, cold water that is important for salmon and steelhead. Based on the threat of harmful logging along these tributaries, American Rivers named the Rogue one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers earlier this year.
“The Rogue River is an economic engine for local businesses like ours,” says Frank Armendariz, manager of Oregon River Sports in Eugene. “The protections proposed today by Congress will ensure that the Rogue stays clean and healthy and can sustain Oregon businesses and communities for generations to come.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Rogue River was among the original eight rivers protected in 1968 as a national treasure. A Wild and Scenic designation protects the recreational, scenic and wildlife values of our country's most precious rivers and streams.
“With salmon fishing closed up and down the Pacific Coast, we need to protect our last, best rivers more than ever before. The Rogue produces more salmon than any other river in the state, and this legislation helps keep it that way,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of the Conservation Alliance, a group of 150-plus outdoor industry companies that provide financial and organizing support to conservation efforts. “With these bills we can prove once again that Oregonians have a deep connection to our natural heritage and that we value our rivers, salmon, and wild places as global assets.”
In addition to the protections for the Rogue River, the Oregon Treasures legislation would also expand the Oregon Caves National Monument in southwest Oregon by nearly 4,000 acres. The River Styx, a unique river which flows through the Oregon Caves, would become our nation’s first subterranean Wild and Scenic river, flowing completely underground. The legislation would also protect 132,000 acres of Wilderness around Oregon’s iconic Mount Hood. Places like the Columbia Gorge and Boulder Lake would be off limits to logging and road building thereby protecting them for future generations.
“This kind of leadership is truly in the long-term economic best interest for southern Oregon,” said Rich Wilkinson, a Gold Hill, Oregon resident and owner of Rogue Klamath River Adventures, a company that has guided rafting and fishing trips on the Rogue for more than 20 years. “Locals here recognize that fostering a vibrant tourism and recreation economy on the Rogue River is a far better economic plan than degrading our natural heritage for small, short-term gains.”
More information on the campaign to Save the Wild Rogue, including contact information for over 60 business and conservation partners, can be found at http://www.savethewildrogue.org/.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.