Today, the House of Representatives approved two bills important to Central Washington that will allow increased public access, tourism, and fishing opportunities in the region. Both bills were introduced by Congressman Doc Hastings (WA-04), who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Both pieces of legislation now move to the Senate for consideration.
"The 3,600-foot summit of Rattlesnake provides an unparalleled view of Central Washington and the Columbia River, but it has been closed to the public," said Congressman Hastings. "These lands belong to the American people and this legislation allows the public to visit Rattlesnake Mountain."
"Today's House vote is an endorsement of advancing public access and continued fishing opportunities in Central Washington. These two bills translate into boosts for tourism, businesses, and the local economy. Both of these bills passed the House with broad, bipartisan support last Congress and I'm encouraged to see they received the same support today. There are several more steps to go before these common-sense bills become law, and I'll continue working with my colleagues towards this goal," said Hastings.
The first bill, H.R. 1157, the Rattlesnake Mountain Public Access Act, passed with a unanimous vote of 409-0. This bill ensures public access to Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument for educational, recreational, historical, scientific, cultural, and other purposes. The Management Plan prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service closed Rattlesnake Mountain.
The House also approved H.R. 1158, the North Cascades National Park Service Complex Fish Stocking Act, by voice vote. This bill ensures fish stocking continues in certain lakes in the North Cascades National Park Complex. Many of the alpine lakes have historically been stocked with fish since the late 1800s, long before they became part of the National Park System, and are home to many recreational activities that draw Park visitors from around the state, region, and beyond. Without legislative authority, the National Park Service has put an end to this time-honored tradition of fish stocking.