Wild Sky Signed Into Law
Last week President Bush signed a bill making Wild Sky the first new wilderness area in
Washington State in more than a quarter century. The new wilderness includes the headwaters of
several whitewater runs including the North Fork Skykomish, Silver Creek, Rapid, and Beckler.
Wild Sky was sponsored by Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Rick Larsen and covers 106,577 acres of forested lands on the west slope of the Cascades. Significantly, approximately 30% of the protected land includes low elevation forests which have typically not been a part of past wilderness legislation in this region. Protecting these forests is essential for protection of instream flows and water quality in rivers like the Skykomish which is one of the most outstanding recreational and natural assets in the region.
It took over six years of effort to move the bill through Congress over which time it passed the Senate four times and the House twice before making it to the President's desk.
On the signing of the law creating this wilderness Senator Murray issued the following statement:
"This new wilderness is a gift to young families, lifelong outdoor enthusiasts and everyone in between. We are blessed to live so close to such majestic beauty and thanks to this new designation it will be protected for generations to come. Wild Sky could not have made it to the finish line without the steadfast support of Rick Larsen who has been my partner in this journey. It's been a long hard climb, but crossing the finish line truly is sweet."
American Whitewater was originally founded on guiding principles that included protection of the wilderness character of waterways through conservation of water, forests, parks, wildlife, and related resources. We have been strong supporters of Wild Sky through letters of support and visits with the Congressional delegation in Washington, DC. We are pleased to see this long effort come to fruition.