New Wilderness Proposed for Skykomish River (WA)
In May 2002 Senator Murray and Representative Larsen introduced legislation known as the Wild Sky Wilderness Act to designate wilderness areas in the North Fork Skykomish and Beckler River watersheds. The Skykomish Valley provides outdoor recreation opportunities to tens of thousands of visitors who come to enjoy world class whitewater, tremendous fishing, challenging rock climbing, and many spectacular miles of hiking trails as well as skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, horse packing and many other forms of recreation. American Whitewater supports proposed legislation which will provide continued access while protecting the ecological integrity of whitewater runs on the North Fork Skykomish, Beckler, Rapid, and Silver Creek. While previous wilderness designations in the region have focused on high altitude "rocks and ice", the proposed legislation is significant because mid-elevation forests will be protected for recreation and ecological integrity.
Senator Patty Murray
173 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Representative Rick Larsen
1529 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Senator Murray and Representative Larsen:
We wish to express our support for the Wild Sky Wilderness Act and thank you for the leadership you have shown in working to designate 106,000 acres of new wilderness in the State of Washington.
The North Fork of the Skykomish is an internationally-recognized whitewater river and tributary streams such as the Rapid River and Silver Creek are popular with many local paddlers. Protection of this watershed is a high priority for our 8,000 individual members and local club affiliates. The North Fork of the Skykomish is known for its convenience to the City of Seattle, high quality whitewater suitable for intermediate to expert paddlers, and an incredibly scenic river corridor with high water quality and impressive mature riparian forests. This river is a personal favorite for many of our members living in the region.
As we watch development encroach upon river corridors throughout the country it is refreshing to know that the North Fork of the Skykomish will retain its wild character and be managed for recreational use. Local communities will be able to take advantage of economic opportunities based on recreational activities in our National Forests, and a river well known for both these recreational opportunities and impressive salmon runs will be protected for enjoyment by future generations.
John Gangemi, Conservation Director
Thomas O'Keefe, Regional Coordinator