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Columbia Gorge is One of Five Oregon Areas Poised for Protection

January 23, 2009

Portland, OR – The Columbia River Gorge is one of several locations in Oregon that could get increased federal protection, after passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act by the U.S. Senate earlier this month. If enacted, the measure could be one of the most sweeping conservation laws to take place in Oregon since the mid-1980s.

It would mean greater safeguards for five wilderness areas in the state, including more than 25,000 acres of the Columbia River Gorge, according to Michael Lang, conservation director for Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

"These lands are within the National Scenic Area, but the level of protection provided by a wilderness designation is much more permanent; making these lands much more secure from future development."

Lang believes the federal legislation will ensure preservation of the Gorge for future generations.

"These lands within the Columbia River Gorge really needed protection because of ongoing threats, from mostly logging – but other sorts of land management activities that were inconsistent with their permanent protection."

The bill, which would designate more than two million acres of wilderness in Oregon and eight other states, is expected to go before the U.S. House next month.

Find out more at the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Web site, at

Bruce Kennedy, Public News Service - OR