Larsen and DelBene Applaud House Approval to Keep Illabot Creek Wild and Scenic

Dec 4, 2014 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Suzan DelBene, WA-01, today praised the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to designate Illabot Creek in Skagit County as a Wild and Scenic River. Illabot Creek is a critical habitat for threatened wild Chinook salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other wildlife, as well as a popular recreational destination for fishers and hunters.

“Illabot Creek is a beautiful part of our community and an integral part of Skagit Valley’s environment,” Larsen said. “Preserving this habitat ensures that Skagit County residents and visitors will be able to continue hunting, fishing and hiking in the region. When we support vital salmon spawning waters like this, we protect the fishing industry jobs that depend on healthy fish populations. Moving this bill forward has taken persistence over the years, and I am pleased to work with Rep. DelBene to try to push it across the finish line.”

“For years, there has been a broad coalition of stakeholders from our region who have fought tirelessly to protect these important public lands, and I am thrilled that we are about to cross the finish line. The inclusion of the Illabot Creek Wild and Scenic bill means we will ensure the preservation of significant wild lands that are home to several threatened species. In addition to being important to local wildlife habitat, people have come to Illabot Creek for generations to hunt, fish and recreate. This legislation will preserve these opportunities for generations to come,” DelBene said.

Larsen first introduced the bill in 2009 with Senator Patty Murray. It passed the House in 2012, but did not clear the Senate. DelBene took the bill up after being elected to represent the new First Congressional District.

Illabot Creek flows for 14.3 miles through Skagit County, starting at Snow King Mountain 7,500 feet up in the Cascades and tumbling down to join the Skagit River at 500 feet above sea level.

Other conservation provisions in Washington state include:

  • Expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area.
  • Create the Manhattan Project National Historical Park near the Tri-Cities.
  • Open Rattlesnake Mountain summit in the Hanford Reach National Monument to the public.
  • Restore access in the North Cascades National Park to allow repairs to the Stehekin Road.

The Illabot Creek provision was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.