After 6 years of working Wild Sky Wilderness through the legislative process, U.S. Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Representative Rick Larsen today celebrated the final step in the process – Presidential signing. President Bush signed Wild Sky Wilderness into law this morning, creating the first new wilderness area in the state of Washington in over twenty years.
"I could not be more proud of the spirit of togetherness and dedication that has surrounded Wild Sky from the very beginning. Today is a tribute to so many people who never gave up and never lost sight of the goal – preserving the heart and soul of this beautiful land," Senator Murray said. "This new wilderness is a gift to young families, lifelong outdoor enthusiasts and everyone in between. We are blessed to live so close to such majestic beauty and thanks to this new designation it will be protected for generations to come. Wild Sky could not have made it to the finish line without the steadfast support of Rick Larsen who has been my partner in this journey. It's been a long hard climb, but crossing the finish line truly is sweet."
“Reaching the end of the trail never felt so good,” said Larsen. “Today marks the summit of a long journey made possible by many committed people and years of community input. Together, we not only created a new wilderness bill, but a new model for creating wilderness in the future. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner on this long hike than Senator Patty Murray, and I look forward to celebrating together in the new Wild Sky Wilderness this spring.”
Wild Sky is the result of nearly nine years of work by Senator Murray, Representative Larsen and advocates across Washington state. Murray and Larsen first introduced the bill in 2002, and it passed the Senate four times and the House twice before finally making it to the President's desk.
The Wild Sky Wilderness law designates 106,577 acres of national forest in east Snohomish County as wilderness. In the past, wilderness has consisted solely of old growth forest at higher elevations. Wild Sky protects thousands of acres of low-elevation old growth and 25 miles of salmon streams to make the land accessible for recreational use.
Wild Sky will preserve the pristine nature of the land, protect wildlife, promote clean water, enhance and protect recreational opportunities for the region, and contribute to the local economy.