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WA Wild Heads to Washington D.C. for Wild & Scenic Rivers Hill Week

Last week, our Executive Director and Brewshed® Alliance Director advocated for Washington’s rivers during meetings with Washington State’s congressional delegation and several federal agencies.

A collage of images showing a can of Save the Snake River Lager infront of the US Capitol, WA Wild and American Rivers staff.

Each spring, members of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition gather in Washington D.C. for the annual Wild and Scenic Rivers Hill Week. Coming from across the country, the annual hill climb grants folks working in river protection the opportunity to workshop together on collective issues, learn from diverse experiences, and meet with Congressional offices, key committees, and agency leadership to advance specific designation campaigns and/or stewardship issues. Last week, our Executive Director Tom Uniack and Brewshed® Alliance Director Chris Chappell traveled to our nation’s capital for Wild and Scenic Rivers Hill Week to advocate for strong federal protections for our incredible rivers here in Washington.

Despite the intense wind, they attended several meetings with federal agencies and met with the Washington congressional delegation alongside our colleague Tom O’Keefe from American Whitewater. The meetings were very productive and touched on several important issues pertaining to protecting our wild forests and rivers and improving sustainable recreational access. However, the main point we wanted to get across was undoubtedly that now is the time to pass Wild Olympics.

Graphic demonstrating the benefits of Wild Olympucs Legislation: 126,000 acres of forest protected at Wilderness, 460 miles of river protected as Wild & Scenic, 800 stakeholders have endorsed, 12,000 local residents in support

Designed through extensive community input, the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act would designate the first new Wilderness in Olympic National Forest in nearly four decades, and the first-ever Wild & Scenic River designations on the Peninsula. It would permanently preserve ancient and mature forests, critical salmon habitat, and sources of clean drinking water for local communities while also protecting and expanding world-class outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, camping, boating, hunting, and fishing. No roads would be closed, and trailhead access would not be affected.

Other issues raised during congressional staff meetings included Legacy Roads and Trails funding, removal of the four Lower Snake River Dams to prevent salmon and orca extinction, the recent Outstanding Resource Waters designations for the Green, Cascade, and Napeequa Rivers, and how breweries are advocating for clean water through our Brewshed® Alliance.