Rep. Rick Larsen, Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell today asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use all legal means to protect the Green Mountain Lookout in Glacier Peak Wilderness. In the letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the members of Congress stress the importance of the Green Mountain Lookout to the community and urged against the removal of the lookout.
The text of the letter is below:
May 21, 2012
The Honorable Tom Vilsack
US Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
As you know, a group based out of Montana recently filed a lawsuit (Wilderness Watch v. Iwamoto and US Forest Service) against the US Forest Service (USFS) for using a helicopter and machinery to repair Green Mountain lookout in the Glacier Peak Wilderness within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. As a result, a U.S. District Court ordered the USFS to remove the lookout. We urge you to ensure that this is not the final result of this lawsuit, and that you use all legal means in order to protect the Green Mountain Lookout.
Many of our constituents have told us how important the lookout is to the community. The lookout is an important part of the region, and reflects a unique and vanishing part of the Pacific Northwest's heritage. It is one of few surviving fire lookouts in the West, and only one of six such lookouts within a Wilderness area. It was also an early warning station during World War II to alert citizens to possible aerial invasion. The Washington State Trust for Historic Preservation named it one of the ten most endangered buildings last year, before the court made its decision. The Snohomish County Council, Darrington Historical Society, and numerous local citizens all support protection of the lookout.
We appreciate that the USFS has filed a recent motion to remand the court's ruling in order to assess whether the lookout can remain without violating the National Environmental Policy Act or the Wilderness Act. If you believe there are other actions that the USFS can take to ensure the future of the lookout, we urge you to use them without delay.
Thank you for your consideration and for your continuing work to protect this important piece of our state's history.
Rick Larsen Patty Murray Maria Cantwell
U.S. Congressman U.S. Senator U.S. Senator