MNW: Protect wild and scenic rivers in Oregon

December 18, 2020
MNW: Protect wild and scenic rivers in Oregon

I don’t usually ask Sen. Ron Wyden for a Christmas present, but I have a request that might help make all Oregonians’ holiday season a little brighter: Introduce legislation to protect our state’s Wild and Scenic Rivers.

This year has been difficult in so many ways, but many Oregonians have found some comfort in enjoying the beauty and bounty of our rivers on public lands.

While family gatherings may be limited by COVID restrictions, it can still be possible to continue traditions like the annual hunting campouts that my family shared along rivers and streams in Eastern Oregon for decades. Hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking have provided relief from the stresses of 2020.

Earlier this year, people across our state sent in nominations for rivers and streams that are near and dear to our hearts, as a part of Sen. Wyden’s grassroots process to protect the wild and scenic rivers Oregonians love most.

From the Ochoco Mountains, to the John Day river basin, to the remote Oregon Outback of Southeastern Oregon, the essential components of these public land treasures — healthy rivers — have been nominated for protection.

I hope Sen. Wyden will introduce a rivers bill to bring some light this year, or as a great kickoff to 2021. Protecting healthy rivers and riparian habitats is key for deer and elk, fish and wildlife that our public lands provide and that Oregonians cherish.

— Karen Lillebo, Bend

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An aerial view of a body of water.