Additional Wild and Scenic Protections Needed to Save World-Famous Rogue River
Submitted by Ted Williams on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 08:59.
Contact: David Moryc, 503-827-8648 Amy Kober, 206-213-0330 x23 (Portland) -- In a move to protect one of the country’s best-loved rivers from destructive logging of publicly-owned roadless forest, American Rivers called on Congress today to increase protections for Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rogue River. The proposal, supported by a coalition of conservation organizations, includes granting Wild and Scenic River protection to an additional 70 miles of tributary streams, and adding roughly 60,000 acres to the Wild Rogue Wilderness. “Tens of thousands of visitors don’t flock to the Rogue River every year to hear chainsaws and bulldozers,” said Rob Masonis, Northwest regional director for American Rivers. “They come to hear the splash of salmon, the birdsong, the rapids, and the laughter of their friends and family. This is the experience we need to protect on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.” The integrity of the Wild and Scenic Rogue is threatened by the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to log hundreds of acres of old-growth forest (much of which lies along Rogue River tributary streams) in the Zane Grey Roadless Area through the Upper East Kelsey Creek and Whisky Creek timber sales. While the Rogue itself is protected as Wild and Scenic, the management corridor set forth by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act does not apply to many important tributaries. The logging would irreversibly mar the integrity of the river, scarring forests, silting up salmon streams, and damaging what is now a world-class wilderness recreation experience. “Instead of clearcutting these wildlands for short-term profit, we should invest in more Wild and Scenic River protections. We need to protect the value of this place for the long-term, for all of the local businesses that rely on the river and for all Americans who love to fish and boat here,” said Masonis. The Wild and Scenic Rogue River is internationally known for its fishing and boating opportunities. Tourism on the Wild & Scenic section of the river contributes more than $13 million annually to the local economy. The Rogue is one of the most biologically diverse watersheds in the country. It is the largest producer of Pacific salmon in Oregon, outside of the Columbia. The tributaries proposed for Wild and Scenic designation are among the most important areas in the entire lower and middle Rogue for spawning and rearing, particularly for winter and summer steelhead and coho salmon. “As we begin to feel the impacts of global warming, refuges like the Rogue are going to become even more important for salmon and steelhead,” said Masonis. “We need to keep the Rogue wild so that these fish have enough clean, cold water to thrive.” American Rivers is calling on Congress to grant Wild and Scenic protection to the following Rogue River tributaries: Kelsey Creek (7.3 miles), Whisky Creek (9 miles), Big Windy Creek (6.8 miles), Little Windy Creek (2.5 miles), Howard Creek (7 miles), Mule Creek (7.6 miles), Grave Creek (7 miles), Anna Creek (3 miles), Missouri Creek (4.5 miles), Jenny Creek (3.5 miles), Rum Creek (3.5 miles), Wildcat Creek (1 mile), Montgomery Creek (1.5 miles), Quartz Creek (2 miles), Hewitt Creek (2 miles), Dulog Creek (1.8 miles). The Rogue was one of the original eight rivers designated as national treasures when Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. In 1970, the people of Oregon voted to add the Rogue River to the state’s Scenic Waterways System. Fun facts: • The American author Zane Grey made this river the basis of his 1929 novel Rogue River Feud • The Rogue was a favorite destination of luminaries including Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers and Herbert Hoover • Roughly 700,000 boaters and angers use the river annually. American Rivers is encouraging anglers, boaters and all who enjoy the Rogue River to contribute photos, video and stories to the virtual “Rogue River Scrapbook” at http://www.americanrivers.org/RogueRiver. Submissions will be compiled and shared with key decision-makers. # Founded in 1973, American Rivers is a national non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy natural rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife and nature. American Rivers has more than 65,000 supporters nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions. www.AmericanRivers.org .