Sept. 10, 2007
Mike Beagle, Pacific NW Field Coordinator, Trout Unlimited (541) 538-9167
Jim Rogers, Port Orford forester (541) 332-2555
Jim Auborn, Mayor of Port Orford, 541-332-3681
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TU, local leaders congratulate Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio for efforts to protect Copper-Salmon and Elk River headwaters
PORT ORFORD—Trout Unlimited congratulated U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio today for introducing legislation that would create the Copper-Salmon Wilderness, a 13,700-acre swath of wild land in southern Oregon’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The area encompasses the headwaters of the Elk River, one of the last, best coastal salmon and steelhead streams in the state. Wyden and DeFazio’s bill will also protect 10 miles of the Elk River’s headwaters with Wild and Scenic designation.
“Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio are acting on behalf of the sporting community in Oregon who value the Elk River fishery and want to see it protected for salmon and steelhead anglers today and for generations to come,” said Mike Beagle, Trout Unlimited’s Pacific Northwest field coordinator who lives in Eagle Point. “This bill will be very beneficial to the sport fishery as well as the commercial fishing industry. We’re very grateful to both of these men for recognizing the value of this special place.”
The effort to protect the Copper-Salmon area and the Elk River is supported by 10 sportsmen’s groups who are part of “Sportsmen for Copper-Salmon Wilderness” (http://www.sportsmenforcoppersalmon.org ) as well as local government and business leaders.
The new wilderness area would protect what many believe to be the one of the finest salmon and steelhead streams on the west coast. Every fall and winter, salmon and steelhead anglers descend on the community of Port Orford to chase fall Chinook and winter steelhead as the big fish return from the Pacific to spawn in the Elk’s clear waters. It will also help provide for a commercial fishing industry that has been decimated by poor runs of fish.
“Every winter, our fishing lodge fills up with people from every walk of life from throughout the West, and they come to experience the wonders of this fishery,” said Mark Kimball, owner of Steelblue-Chameleon Lodge on the Elk River. “We all know that habitat is the key to the health of this system and to our way of life. By introducing Copper-Salmon Wilderness legislation, Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio are helping to protect our way of life.”
“Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio understand that our businesses and community are dependent upon the health of this fishery”, said David Smith, president of the Port Orford Chamber of Commerce.”
The community along the Elk River has become dependent upon the river, and the fishermen who ply its waters.
“The citizens of Port Orford understand what the sport and commercial fishery means to our economy,” said Port Orford Mayor Jim Auborn. “We are pleased Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio have introduced this legislation because we all know it will protect the spawning and rearing habitat for these salmon and steelhead that that are such an important part of the fabric of this community.”
Wyden and DeFazio’s efforts to protect the Copper-Salmon area also demonstrate their desire to listen to their constituents and act upon their wishes.
“By introducing this legislation, Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio have listened to the people of our community who know first hand that a Copper-Salmon Wilderness designation will protect the fishery of the region, which so many people are dependent upon,” said Jim Rogers, a long time Port Orford forester.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, boasting over 150,000 members from coast to coast.