Date: Tue, 11/26/2013 TU congratulates Wyden for strong O&C draft legislation Nov. 26, 2013 Contact: Dean Finnerty, (541) 214-0642 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TU: Wyden's Draft Bill to Protect O&C Lands a 'Good Start' MEDFORD--Trout Unlimited today congratulated U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden for drafting a bill intended to resolve the contentious issues surrounding the management of over 2 million acres of public land in Oregon. Known as O&C Lands, these lands are home to some of the best fishing and hunting country in Oregon, and their protection is a priority for TU members in Oregon and throughout the Northwest. "This bill is a good start," said Dean Finnerty, public lands coordinator for TU in Oregon. "We are encouraged by the initial draft, which takes a useful first cut at the very difficult task of increasing timber harvest that will benefit local economies while protecting and restoring the fish and game habitat that is so important to anglers and hunters and to the rural communities in the region that benefit greatly from sportsmen." More analysis is needed to determine if the bill would adequately protect fish and game habitat and sporting opportunity for generations to come. "We're pleased to see proposals to add additional protections to outstanding rivers, such as the Rogue and Illinois, but we still need to see if the bill's protection of riparian zones will ensure healthy fisheries generations from now, and if forest management practices outlined in the draft bill will do enough to protect wildlife." Finnerty said TU is looking forward to working with Sen. Wyden and the other stakeholders to refine the draft bill and ultimately pass legislation that provides certainty for all parties and ushers in a new era of collaboration. Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org.