EUGENE, Ore. — For the third year, Oregon lawmakers have been attempting to push through legislation designating the area around the Devil’s Staircase as Wilderness. Today a House committee in Washington, DC heard testimony about the proposal.
The Devil’s Staircase is a stepped waterfall located deep within federal forestland near Reedsport, north of the Umpqua River. Environmentalists have been pushing to get the area a Wilderness designation, the highest level of federal protection.
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio is co-sponsor of the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act. He told the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands the mountains have not been logged since the 1970s because of prohibitively steep terrain.
“I personally made the trek to the Devil’s Staircase. There’s maybe a couple hundred people who have ever gotten there. For a while, it was even rumored whether it existed or didn’t exist, until about 30 years ago. So it is a truly wild area that does deserve special designation and recognition.”
DeFazio said the area is currently the home of several endangered species. For the Wilderness Act to advance, it must survive at least two committee votes before seeing any action on the House floor.
(This was first reported for KLCC.)
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