American Rivers applauds Wild and Scenic proposal

Seattle -- Congressman Dave Reichert (R-8th) today introduced a bill to protect Washington's Pratt River, one of the last truly wild rivers in King County. HR 4113 (The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Wild Pratt River Act) would grant Wild and Scenic River protection to the Pratt, safeguarding clean water, fish and wildlife, and excellent hiking, fishing and paddling opportunities for millions of people in western Washington.

The bill, which would also grant wilderness protection for an additional 22,000 acres in the Alpine Lakes region, was developed in consultation with local stakeholders and with help from a coalition of conservation and recreation organizations, including American Rivers.

The Pratt River, a tributary of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie, contains old-growth forest and is home to strong native trout runs, as well as bear, elk and cougar. The area is treasured by anglers, whitewater boaters and hikers.

Bonnie Rice, Associate Director of Conservation for the Northwest office of American Rivers, made the following statement:

"When I first looked out over the Pratt River valley from Bessemer Mountain, the view took my breath away. I want other people to be able to experience the wild beauty of this place. The Wild and Scenic designation will ensure that we can continue to enjoy this wonderful river today and for generations to come."

"This bill will protect clean water, fish and wildlife, and recreation opportunities for millions of people. As we've seen with other Wild and Scenic rivers in the Northwest and across the country, this special designation can bring real benefits to local economies and communities."

"It is very rare to have such a pristine, wild river so close to a major metropolitan area. Wild and Scenic designation will give the Pratt River the protection and recognition it deserves. There is no question that the Pratt should join the ranks of Washington's other great Wild and Scenic rivers, like the Skagit and White Salmon."

"We thank Congressman Reichert for leading the effort to protect the Pratt. Today's communities and future generations will benefit from his vision."

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was signed into law in 1968 to preserve forever the free-flowing condition and outstanding values of our country's most precious rivers. To qualify, a river must be free-flowing and must be deemed to have one or more "outstandingly remarkable" scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values.