Wild Sky Wilderness


Wild Sky Wilderness

The Wild Sky Wilderness is a convert|106577|acre|km2|0|sing=on wilderness area in the western Cascade Range of Washington state. The wilderness is within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest north of the U.S. Highway 2 towns of Index and Skykomish. The wilderness flanks, but does not include, the North Fork Skykomish River and the Beckler River. The Henry M. Jackson Wilderness is adjacent to the east and northeast.

The Wild Sky Wilderness is significant because it is the first new federally-designated wilderness in Washington since 1984. Also, unlike many other wilderness areas in the Cascades, Wild Sky protects significant amounts of high biological productivity low-elevation forest.

Legislative history

The Wild Sky Wilderness required several legislative attempts before becoming law, despite broad local support. Prior to 2007, the Wild Sky bill was blocked in committee by Rep. Richard Pombo of California, who was not reelected in 2006. President George W. Bush had been receptive to the proposal.

In February 2007, Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen introduced legislation to designate the Wild Sky as wilderness. The bill then passed the House and had been approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Before the bill came to the Senate floor, however, it was put on hold by Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, and never reached a vote. [Cite web |url= http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2004088491_dems23m.html |title= Mixed bag for state's Democrats |work= The Seattle Times |accessdate= 2007-01-02 ]

Reintroduced in 2008, The Wild Sky Wilderness passed the U.S. Senate on April 10, 2008 [Cite web |url= http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20080410/NEWS01/380225041 |title= Wild Sky Passes Senate |work= Everett Herald |accessdate= 2008-04-10 ] , and then passed the U.S. House of Representatives a little less than three weeks later on April 29. [Cite web |url= http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004381432_apwstwildskywilderness1stldwritethru.html |title= House approves Wild Sky wilderness in Washington state |work= The Seattle Times |accessdate= 2008-04-29] President Bush signed the Wilderness into law on May 8, 2008. [Cite web |url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004400570_apwawildskywilderness.html |title= Bush signs Wild Sky wilderness bill |work= The Seattle Times |accessdate= 2008-05-08]

Private Land

When the Wild Sky Wilderness was first proposed, about convert|2000|acre|km2 of private land (inholdings) were within its boundaries. Since 2003 the Wilderness Land Trust and Cascade Land Conservancy have purchased about one-third of this amount. Efforts continue to acquire the remaining inholdings.

References

* Associated Press, [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/173491_wildsky15.html "Nethercutt endorses Wild Sky wilderness"] , Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 15, 2004
* Goldfarb, Sam, [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2003561443_webwildsky08.html "Wild Sky wilderness bill back in Congress"] , The Seattle Times, February 7, 2007

External links

* [http://www.wawild.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=115&Itemid=209 The Wild Sky Wilderness Proposal] , Washington Wilderness Coalition (political advocacy)
* [http://murray.senate.gov/wilderness/ Wild Sky Wilderness] , U.S. Senator Patty Murray (political advocacy)
* [http://wildernesslandtrust.org The Wilderness Land Trust]


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