Advocates see good odds for bill expanding federal wilderness area in Snoqualmie Valley

February 11, 2011

A bill to protect the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers has been re-introduced into Congress after an identical bill was held up last year in the Senate.

The previous bill’s leading co-sponsors —Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Dave Reichert — are again leading bipartisan support for the legislation.

But the bill faces a Congress with more members skeptical of environmental protection. Nonetheless, the bill’s advocates are optimistic it will pass — eventually.

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House votes to increase Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and add protection for Middle Fork

March 18, 2010

NEW — 2:00 p.m. March 18, 2010

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to increase federally-protected land in and around the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, including the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. 

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Alpine Lakes Wilderness expansion bill passes House committee

February 26, 2010

NEW — 11:51 a.m. Feb. 26, 2010

Proposed legislation to increase federally-protected land in and around the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area has passed committee in the U.S. House and will be next voted on by the full House.

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Alpine Lakes expansion legislation goes to Senate for vote

December 21, 2009

NEW — 5 p.m. Dec. 21, 2009

Proposed legislation to increase federally-protected land in and around the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area has passed committee in the U.S. Senate and will be next voted on by the full Senate.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., co-sponsored the bill, which would increase the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area and designate the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The bill was simultaneously submitted in the U.S. House by Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash. and several co-sponsors.

The bill proposes adding over 22,000 acres to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The addition would include important lower-elevation lands and watersheds.

Congress designated the wilderness area in 1976. It is one of the closest blocks of wild forests to an urban center in the country and provides many recreational opportunities.

Designating the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers as Wild and Scenic Rivers would permanently protect their free-flowing character, water quality and current natural value.

No vote is scheduled for the bill as of now.

Valley areas may receive federal protection

April 4, 2009

 

The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, along with its tributary the Pratt River, may get federal protection for the proposed Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. 

In a conference call on March 26, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) announced their bipartisan efforts to secure wild and scenic river designations for the two rivers.

Reichert proposed the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area in 2007, but was unable to find much support for protecting the area. Murray said that after the completion of the Wild Sky Wilderness Area in 2008, she asked her staff to be on the look out for the next public lands project, which lead to her support of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. 

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