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Trump Enacts Sweeping Public Lands Protections With His Signature

<p>The Devil's Staircase, a series of cataracts on Wassen Creek in southwest Oregon.</p>

Chandra LeGue/Oregon Wild

The Devil's Staircase, a series of cataracts on Wassen Creek in southwest Oregon.

A wide-ranging bill that creates new public lands and rivers protections and provides money for volcano research and monitoring in the Northwest was signed into law Tuesday by President Trump.

The Natural Resource Management Act, which aimed to satisfy public land interests all over the country, easily cleared the U.S. House of Representatives Feb. 26 on a vote of 363-6. It  had already passed the Senate on a bipartisan 92-8 vote.

For Oregon, the signature provision is the designation of a new Devil's Staircase Wilderness area in a rugged section of the southern coastal mountains. It also adds protections to the Rogue, Chetco, Molalla and Umpqua rivers. The bill gives Oregon special status as the state in the lower 48 with the most river miles protected as "wild and scenic" under the law.

In Washington, the bill extends greater protections to public lands in the Methow Valley in the north-central part of the state. It also puts money into a water storage project for the Yakima Valley. The Northwest also will benefit from the bill's infusion of $55 million for the establishment of a National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System.

For hunters in the Pacific Northwest, the bill guarantees something sportsmen’s groups have been advocating for for years: public land access. 


Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

OPB Staff