The Wild Sky Wilderness may become a little less wild if the timber industry has its way.
Congress approved the Wild Sky Wilderness Act during the fall
legislative session, it would have designated 106,000 acres of
wilderness in the valleys of the Cascades north of Seattle (HCN,
6/24/02: A wide-angled wilderness). Although U.S. Sen. Patty
Murray, D-Wash., pushed the bill through the Senate, House leaders
broke early for the holidays before voting on it.
year, the bill’s sponsors will have to start from scratch
— and its supporters are worried it won’t survive a new
round of negotiations in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Chris West, vice president of the Portland-based American
Forest Resource Council, says timber companies are looking forward
to another crack at Wild Sky. The industry is loath to lose timber
it claims is scheduled for harvest under Clinton’s Northwest
Forest Plan, and it also wants about 30,000 acres of the proposed
area exempted from wilderness protection.
bill’s sponsors remain optimistic, but are not anxious to see
it back on the negotiating table. “The Wild Sky legislation
is already the product of a tremendous amount of negotiation and
work with a number of local interests,” says Todd Webster, a
spokesman for Murray.