Western Outreach Coordinator
4/1/2002 -- Portland, Ore. -- Trout Unlimited, a national trout and salmon conservation organization, today voiced its support for new wilderness designations in Oregon. Trout Unlimited (TU) has long recognized the correlation between protection of wild areas and the lasting benefits they pay for wild and native trout, salmon and steelhead.
“It’s no coincidence that the last best places for native fish in Oregon lie in predominantly wild, undeveloped areas,” said Sam Mace of Trout Unlimited. “Protecting Oregon’s remaining wildlands will provide native fish with important sanctuaries they need to survive.”
Oregon is currently home to six species of native trout, including steelhead, as well as three species of native salmon. Several stocks are hanging on in remnant populations and many are in serious trouble. Less than 4 percent of Oregon’s landbase is designated wilderness, while Washington has 10 percent and California more than 13 percent.
The Oregon Council of TU is a member of the Oregon Wild Campaign, a coalition representing over 130 conservation groups and 140 Oregon businesses working to designate new wilderness in Oregon.
Tom Wolf, chair of the Oregon TU Council, said Trout Unlimited was committed to protecting Oregon’s wild areas, both for the sake of native fish and for the state in general.
“In a lot of ways, wilderness represents why we live here in Oregon. We’re drawn to its wild rivers, cold, clean water and healthy ecosystems,” Wolf said. “So are the salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other native fish that make their home here.”
Among the areas identified by the Oregon Wild Campaign for wilderness designation are the Copper Salmon on the southern coast, Big Bottom on the Clackamas River, and Beaver Creek in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The campaign has also proposed additions to the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness on Mt. Hood, including Eagle Creek, and additions in the Siskiyous that would protect salmon and steelhead habitat.
A press conference will be held in Portland today at 10:00 AM at the Multnomah County Library, 801 SW 10th. Representatives of the Oregon Wild Campaign, including TU, will discuss the upcoming Wilderness Forum to be hosted by Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
To learn more about TU and Oregon Wild go to http://www.tu.org  or http://www.onrc.org. 
For more information: Tom Wolf, TU Oregon Council Chair: 503.708.1317