TU supports Gov. Kulongoski's request for Siskiyou Wild Rivers protection

Thu, 10/15/2009

Mike Beagle, (541) 772-7720
Tom Wolf, (503) 640-2123


TU supports Gov. Kulongoski’s request to protect Siskiyou Wild Rivers area
Diverse region encompasses intact habit, offers excellent fishing

MEDFORD—Trout Unlimited today congratulated Gov. Ted Kulongoski for taking an important step toward protecting one of the most biologically diverse—and fish and game rich—areas of the state when he asked the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to permanently protect the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area in the southwest corner of the state.

In letters to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the governor asked first for the withdrawal of mining from the region, and second for wilderness designation, “the greatest protection federal law provides.” In 2001, the area was initially nominated for mining withdrawal, but those plans were not finalized. Hard rock mining in the region could prove detrimental to renowned salmon and steelhead rivers, like the Rogue and the Illinois. In his letters to Salazar and Vilsack, the governor said, “we are very concerned that the suction dredge miners are now heading for Oregon,” after the environmentally dubious practice was recently banned in neighboring California.

In 2008, Kulongoski wrote to his state’s federal delegation, asking for wilderness designation for the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area, and he said, with the possibility of mining penetrating the Siskiyou backcountry, “the need for protection in this area has only grown.”

“We stand behind the governor’s request to Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack,” said Tom Wolf, chairman of the Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited. “The rivers in that region are wild and free-flowing, and they offer some of the best salmon and steelhead fishing left in Oregon. It is truly unique country—it’s the only place in Oregon where redwoods grow, and it’s one of the most diverse regions in the entire country. Protecting it now for the enjoyment of future generations is the right thing to do.”

Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. It has over 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
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