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PNS Daily Newscast - December 13, 2018 


Trump 'fixer' Michael Cohen gets three years, and Trump calls him a liar. Also on the Thursday rundown: Higher smoking rates cause some states to fall in health rankings; and the Farm Bill helps wilderness areas.

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Ore. Vets Travel to DC to Urge for Public Lands Protections

Frank Moore, a World War II veteran, is one of the biggest advocates for protections of the North Umpqua watershed, world-renowned for its fly-fishing opportunities. (Uncage The Soul Productions)
Frank Moore, a World War II veteran, is one of the biggest advocates for protections of the North Umpqua watershed, world-renowned for its fly-fishing opportunities. (Uncage The Soul Productions)
November 13, 2018

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Veterans from around the country, including Oregon, are in Washington, D.C., this week advocating for bills to protect more acres of public lands.

In a letter delivered to Congress on Veterans Day, former service members said public lands and rivers offer a chance to heal and reintegrate into civilian life. Rusty Lininger is founder and president of Source One Serenity, which provides fly-fishing opportunities as healing projects for veterans in Oregon, and he joined the group in D.C.

He said for many veterans, being outside is a special kind of rehabilitation after being on the battlefield.

"The best therapy for me is to sit on a cold, wet rock and just let the outdoors take it all because it doesn't judge,” Lininger said.

Oregon veterans are pushing for passage of the Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area Designation Act to protect about 100,000 acres of the North Umpqua watershed and is named for a World War II veteran who lives in the area. They'd also like to see Congress pass the Oregon Wildlands Act, which would designate more than 90,000 acres as wilderness and add 250 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers protections.

Lininger said he would like to see lawmakers from both sides of the aisle stand together to protect one of the country's most precious resources: its public lands.

"We don't take care of our natural resources and this land, then what have we got? We don't have a boat, basically,” he said. “Politics and stuff, they come and go, but the land is here. We don't protect it, then, well, might as well find another place to go."

Former service members are pushing Congress to pass nine bills in total by the end of the year. Together, these bills would preserve 1.3 million acres as wilderness, nearly 400 miles of rivers and more than 700 thousand acres of land through other conservation designations.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR