Mt. Hood Stewardship Legacy Act Advances in House
The House Resources Committee today unanimously approved the Mount Hood Stewardship Legacy Act (H.R. 5025), introduced by Congressmen Greg Walden (R-Hood River) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland). The comprehensive legislation provides a long-term stewardship plan for one of Oregon's most diverse and treasured icons and comes after several years of cooperative work between the pair including public summits, round table forums with stakeholders, in-depth meetings with scientists and a four-day, 41-mile backpack trek around Mt. Hood on the Timberline Trail.
"The Mount Hood Stewardship Legacy Act represents a tremendous amount of hard work by hundreds of Oregonians who found common ground on the crucial issues concerning our state's greatest icon, Mt. Hood," Blumenauer said. "Committee passage today represents a significant milestone and I look forward to moving it quickly on the House Floor."
"After several years of hard work, through a bipartisan show of strength by Oregon House delegation, including Congressmen Blumenauer and DeFazio, and Congresswoman Hooley, we've achieved a monumental piece of legislation for the state of Oregon," Walden said. "This bill preserves Mt. Hood for future generations to know the mountain the way we know it, and the way our parents knew it. It's a bill that improves access, recreation, forest health and watersheds. It's a bill that fulfills our Treaty Trust obligations, in no small part because of the participation of The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. And getting to this point is in essence a rekindling of the Oregon dream, one where lawmakers, the public and all interested parties work together to solve problems. We've still got a lot of work ahead of us as the bill reaches the House floor and from there, the Senate. But what we've done today is take a major step forward in developing a shared vision for Mt. Hood using a very public and collaborative process."
H.R. 5025 was introduced by Walden and Blumenauer on March 28 after several years of collaboration between the congressmen and stakeholders to address the many challenges facing on Mt. Hood. Cosponsoring the bill are fellow Oregon House members Congressman Peter DeFazio and Congresswoman Darlene Hooley. The bill has earned support from Wasco, Clackamas, Multnomah and Hood River counties, The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Governor Ted Kulongoski and Campaign for America's Wilderness.
Their legislation is a multi-faceted approach to addressing the many diverse management issues on the mountain. In addition to proposing 77,215 new acres of wilderness and 25 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Mt. Hood National Forest, the bill would encourage long-term planning to meet future demands for recreational uses, transportation and clean and abundant drinking water while fostering forest health and respecting the cultural traditions and historical rights of Native Americans.
The bill must now be voted on by the full U.S. House of Representatives. More information on the Mount Hood Stewardship Legacy Act can be found online at www.blumenauer.house.gov or www.walden.house.gov.
Congressman Blumenauer represents the 3rd District of Oregon and Congressman Walden represents the 2nd District of Oregon; the two districts split Mt. Hood at its crest.