Target: Governor John Kitzhaber
Goal: Secure more protected wilderness in Oregon
Compared to other states in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon lags behind in wilderness conservation. Only four percent of Oregon is set aside for protection, while states like California and Washington have over 10 percent of their land protected from exploitation. Many environmentalists say that this lack of wilderness protection results from lawmakers not understanding that four percent of the state is not enough and their not pushing hard enough for bills that would expand the amount of protected wilderness.
Setting aside more of Oregon for wilderness protection is an important goal. Protecting wilderness will prevent the land from being used for logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, off-road vehicle use, and other destructive activities. These protections help keep watersheds clean, providing safe drinking water to local communities, and protect wildlife habitats while still allowing recreation like hiking, camping, and canoeing. Wilderness protection areas balance protecting natural forests and other ecosystems with allowing people to experience nature, making them an important part of encouraging living in harmony with the natural world. Oregon’s deserts are the least protected areas of the state—of 47 protected areas, only three are part of the state’s deserts.
Oregon’s lawmakers need to make wilderness protection a priority. The state is lagging behind other states nearby and wilderness is easily swallowed up by city expansion, logging efforts, and other human activities. Securing protected wilderness is great way to ensure clean water, air, and the continued existence of Oregon’s unique and diverse wildlife populations for future generations. Ask Oregon lawmakers to put wilderness protection at the forefront of their causes before the land is put to other use.
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
Oregon’s wilderness is in danger. As more time passes, the chances that land will be gobbled up by logging, mining, or other destructive activities increase. Efforts to set aside wilderness for protection have been met by opposition in the House of Representatives, but, if wilderness protection is a priority for the state, we can keep pushing for lands to be set aside.
Only four percent of Oregon is set aside for protection, compared to California’s 15 percent and Washington’s 10 percent. Oregon has a diverse and unique landscape spanning old-growth forests, beautiful coastlines, and deserts alike—all of this is deserving of protection. Currently, only three out of 47 protected areas are located in the desert. It’s time to protect these unique areas before they get used for another purpose—it can take hundreds of years to restore an area to wilderness again after it is misused.
Oregon’s unique lands deserve protection. Please make wilderness protection a goal for 2015 and keep trying to set aside more land for protection. Oregon’s wilderness is just as deserving of protection as the lands of California and Washington, and it’s time that Oregon catches up with others in the amount of land it protects for future generations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: FlickreviewR via Wikimedia Commons