Earlier today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray announced that legislation to expand the Alpine Lakes
Wilderness and federally designate both the Pratt and stretches of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie
Rivers as Wild and Scenic has passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent. Senate Bill 112, The Alpine
Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, was
introduced by Senator Murray and cosponsored by Senator Cantwell (D-WA). It would expand the
existing wilderness area by more than 22,000 acres to include important lower-elevation lands and
watersheds. A companion House bill (H.R. 361) was introduced by Represenative Dave Reichert
(WA-08) and is co-sponsored by Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Jim McDermott (WA-07), and
Adam Smith (WA-09).
In addition, legislation designating Illabot Creek in Skagit County as a Wild and Scenic River
has passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent. The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Maria
Cantwell (D-WA) and companion legislation has been introduced in the House by U.S. Reps. Suzan
DelBene (WA-01) and Rick Larsen (WA-02). The bill would protect the free-flowing character of
Illabot Creek, an important habitat for threatened wild Chinook salmon, steelhead, bull trout and
other wildlife, while maintaining recreational opportunities like hunting and fishing.
American Whitewater has worked hard in advocating for the addition of these river segments to the
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. While dozens of rivers have been recommended for Wild and
Scenic River designation in Washington State, currently only the Skagit (and major tributaries
that include the Sauk, Suiattle, and Cascade), White Salmon, and Klickitat are designated.
"Today was an important day for river conservation in Washington State," said Thomas
O'Keefe, the Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. "Our rivers
represent an important recreational and cultural resource for the state, defining our quality of
life and attracting visitors from around the world. As our rivers face new development pressures
and threats it is important to safeguard the intact free-flowing river systems that are critical
to the ecological and economic health of our region."
The attention now turns to the House where both bills have been introduced and await passage.
Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell comment on Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and its tributary
“Today we moved one step closer to expanding the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and ensuring this
pristine landscape will be preserved as a legacy for generations to come,” said Senator
Murray. “I am so proud that after years of effort, this legislation has passed the
Senate. This designation will allow our children and grandchildren to experience these
special places in their natural state. Washingtonians are fortunate to have permanently
protected national gems like the Alpine Lakes, and this legislation will help preserve an area
cherished by so many, and will help bolster the recreational economy. I look forward to
working with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure these important protections
are finally signed into law.”
“The Alpine Lakes Wilderness offers incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation just 45
minutes from Seattle,” said Senator Cantwell. “Areas like Alpine Lakes help make
Washington state unique, and draw visitors and talented workers to our communities.
Wilderness areas also ensure the supply of clean water and vibrant wildlife populations.
I am proud that the Senate acted today and put the preservation of these lands one step
closer to the President’s desk.”
Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell comment on Illabot Creek, a tributary of the Skagit Wild and
“This bill would protect a delicate habitat and one of Washington state’s precious
natural resources for generations to come,” said Senator Murray. “Preserving
Illabot Creek is vitally important for the many fish and wildlife species depending on it for
survival. This legislation will also support outdoor recreation opportunities for hunters,
fishermen, and families to enjoy in perpetuity. I am so proud that after years of effort,
we are closer than ever to preserving these spaces for future generations. I look forward
to working with my colleagues in the House to move this important legislation forward.”
“Today the Senate acted to protect Illabot Creek’s critical wildlife habitat and
incredible sites for outdoor recreation,” said Senator Cantwell. “Home to salmon and
bald eagles, Illabot Creek exemplifies the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. This legislation is
one step closer to becoming law and protecting Illabot Creek for wildlife and outdoor recreation
for generations to come.”