October 08, 2015

Wyden Highlights Importance of Mt. Hood and Frank Moore Bills in Senate Hearing

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today stressed the importance of two bills that would protect and enhance Oregon’s land and habitat conservation priorities in a hearing before the Subcommittee on Public Lands.

In the hearing, Wyden pushed for the Senate to move forward with a bill he and Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., wrote to help resolve a decades-long dispute over proposed land development on the northeast side of Mt. Hood. The Mt. Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act would allow development of 107 acres of the mountain, and protect 770 acres – a land exchange that is now about five years delayed.

“The Mt. Hood land exchange delays have angered the public, endangered the environment, and spurred a lawsuit against the Forest Service,” Wyden said. “It is time to get this done. Sixty-two months to wait for something like this is by any standard just absurd, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on this.”

Additionally, Wyden urged the Senate to designate the Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary to honor a World War II hero and distinguished conservationist in Oregon. Wyden and Merkley introduced a bill in May to designate about 104,000 acres of Forest Service land in the state as the “Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary.” The area is north of the North Umpqua River around Steamboat Creek in Douglas County. A map of the proposed sanctuary is attached.

Frank Moore stormed the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day Allied invasion and was awarded the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor for his bravery. After returning home to Oregon, he served on the State of Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and has been recognized for his conservation work with the National Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year award, the Wild Steelhead Coalition Conservation Award. In 2010, he was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

“The Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Designation Act will ensure that this area – the waterways and forests – is managed in a way that protects delicate steelhead habitat and river ecosystems,” Wyden said. “It serves as a tribute to Frank’s many outstanding accomplishments, both on and off the river.”

Video of Wyden’s remarks is available here and audio can be found here.