Iconic Oregon Public Lands Would be Conserved in New Legislation

WASHINGTON – Approximately 100,000 acres of Oregon public lands backcountry – including riparian wildlife habitat and a unique steelhead fishery – will be permanently conserved if legislation introduced today in Congress becomes law, announced Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Act, sponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, would permanently safeguard the Steamboat Creek basin, a tributary of the North Umpqua River, and protect important steelhead spawning grounds and habitat relied on by a range of game species. As drafted, the bill recognizes the area’s uniqueness by limiting industrial and road development while maintaining activities such as hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. It honors Oregonians Frank and Jeanne Moore for a lifetime of advocacy on behalf of the state’s lands, waters, fish and wildlife.

“Sportsmen and women thank Oregon’s congressional delegation, including Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley and Rep. DeFazio, for quickly advancing this issue and for their commitment to conserving a bona fide backcountry treasure,” said BHA Northwest Outreach Coordinator Jesse Salsberry. “Frank and Jeanne Moore have dedicated their lives to conserving Oregon’s public lands treasures, and this bill would further that legacy by securing wild summer-run steelhead spawning and rearing habitat that is, in a word, irreplaceable.”

The North Umpqua has been plied by anglers from around the world, including renowned sportsmen and novelists Ernie Schwiebert and Zane Grey. Along with the summer and winter steelhead, the area also provides habitat for Chinook, coho, rainbow and cutthroat trout, as well as a range of big game species including black bear, blacktail deer and Roosevelt elk.

“A jewel of the Pacific Northwest, Steamboat Creek hosts a significant proportion of the summer-run wild steelhead within the Coastal Planning Domain,” said BHA Oregon Chapter Chair Mike Haralson. “Close to 100,000 acres of the surrounding Steamboat Creek basin and the resident wildlife that thrive here would be permanently protected should this legislation advance into law.”

The Moores have lived on the North Umpqua River for most of their lives. Frank, a decorated World War II combat veteran, served as an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife commissioner and has won numerous awards for his conservation work. Jeanne, a self-taught botanist, discovered and identified a myriad of rare flora hidden on the steep basins surrounding the North Umpqua.

Outdoor recreation in Oregon is an economic powerhouse, annually generating close to $13 billion in consumer spending. BHA and other sportsmen’s groups are urging both the House and Senate natural resources committees to schedule hearings on the Moore bill as soon as possible.

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