Wilderness bill clears final Congressional hurdle

Two proposed wilderness areas in southwestern Oregon are now only one signature away from being the law of the land.

The U.S. House of Representatives this morning passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 by a vote of 285 to 140. It contains the 23,000-acre Soda Mountain Wilderness in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in the mountains just east of Ashland and the 13,700-acre Copper Salmon Wilderness in the upper Elk River watershed on the west side of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Other Oregon wilderness areas contained in the bill include 128,000 acres on Mount Hood, nearly 31,000 acres in the badlands just east of Bend, and 8,600 acres overlooking the John Day Wild and Scenic River.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation soon.

— Paul Fattig

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