By Tiffany Eckert
June 20, 2013
A 30-thousand acre block of primeval rainforest is one step closer to permanent protection. Wednesday the U.S Senate voted unanimously to pass the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act.
Conservation groups have been working to designate the devil’s staircase as “wilderness” since the 1980’s. It’s considered the most pristine old-growth forest remaining in Oregon’s Coast Range. Josh Laughlin is with Cascadia Wildlands. He says in response to a clear-cutting proposal for the area, a protection measure was introduced into congress.
“Congressionally designated wilderness is the utmost protection a public landscape can be afforded. So what it means is it will be safeguarded for future generations to enjoy, for fish and wildlife habitat, for recreation opportunities. And, we need more wilderness.”
Laughlin says Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley championed the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness legislation through the Senate. The bill now heads for the U.S. House of Representatives.