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New bill aims to create protected wilderness areas in 1.3 million acres of public lands

New bill aims to create protected wilderness areas in 1.3 million acres of public lands

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Last week, the House passed a new bill aimed at creating protected wilderness areas in 1.3 million acres of public lands. Sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado), the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act targets land in California, Colorado and Washington and would “add nearly 1,000 miles of U.S. rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems,” Bloomberg reports.

While other bipartisan bills have passed through the Senate, this Democratic bill may be too narrow and will likely meet Republican opposition. Last week, the White House “warned the bill could ‘impede future energy and mineral development, including development that is important to the economic and national security’ of the U.S.,” according to Bloomberg

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“The House has a much more expansive package,” Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told Bloomberg Law last week. Murkowski adds that other recent measures that have passed the Senate committee “have gone through a full process at the state level and it’s been a bipartisan effort.”

The proposed bill, which combines six wilderness bills “that recently advanced out of the House Natural Resources Committee,” would create permanent protection for the acreage under the 1964 Wilderness Act, which allows Congress to designate “unique landscapes for hiking and other limited uses in the National Wilderness Preservation System,” according to Bloomberg. The bill was passed by the House after members approved other amendments that included “a DeGette amendment that would designate another 60,000 acres of Colorado lands as wilderness” and another that would allow “either the Interior secretary or the Agriculture secretary to manage lands in any of the wilderness acreage created under the bill for fire, insects, and diseases.”

4 Comments

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Clint K. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 02:19:39 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Any maps or general location of these areas?

Tyson C. - posted 1 month ago on 02-19-2020 09:29:38 am
Lincoln, NH
goHUNT INSIDER

I don't like it. Wilderness designation just makes it too difficult to perform habitat improvement.

Eric W. - posted 1 month ago on 02-18-2020 11:12:13 am
goHUNT INSIDER

On the surface, I like it. The question I have is what impact will it have on recreation (hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and such)?

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-18-2020 10:50:04 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Hopefully it will make people start walking and close the damn jeep trails.

Both of which would be a good thing in my opinion.

I am so sick of side by sides and jeeps tearing up our national forests. People need to get out and walk if they want to enjoy these lands. Instead of tearing them all to hell with motorized vehicles.