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Charlie Fisher,
Environment Oregon

Environment Oregon to Congress: Keep Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Safe from Development

For Immediate Release

Portland, OR – On the first full week of spring, Environment Oregon unveiled a list of the top ten reasons the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument deserves additional protection through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

With funding for key conservation programs chronically underfunded, Environment Oregon urged Congress to keep the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and other Oregon treasures safe from development.

 “We can’t afford to let developers literally cement the fate of places like the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with more development,” said Charlie Fisher, field organizer with Environment Oregon. “It’s time for our leaders to defend the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Oregon's special places.”

Here are a few of the reasons presented by Environment Oregon for why Congress should protect the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument:

•    The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument connects the distinct Oregon ecosystems of the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountain ranges into one unique biological corridor that contains species from east and west of the Cascades.
•    The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument includes a section of the Pacific Crest Trail—an historic 2,650 mile long-distance trail from Mexico to Canada. The beauty of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument’s ridges and canyons attracts thousands of hikers, equestrians, and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts to the PCT each year.
•    Several archaeological excavations of Modoc, Klamath and Shasta tribes reside within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, providing clues to the Native American use of the area as spiritual sites, root-gathering areas and dwellings.

With the population of Jackson County, where the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is located, growing at double the national average, the incentive for developers to purchase and develop lands within and around the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument continues to grow.

Thankfully, Senators Merkley and Wyden have the chance to step up and defend the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and other areas from this encroachment by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is a federal program with a track record of success in Oregon that offers even more opportunity for protecting places like the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon. It provides places like the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with critical protection from increased overdevelopment by putting a fraction of the royalties from offshore oil drilling toward our Park Service and other agencies being able to purchase privately-owned land within or surrounding parks. Otherwise this land becomes vulnerable to development, threatening the local ecosystem.

Unfortunately, Congress annually raids the LWCF for non-conservation purposes, leaving a legacy of backlogged conservation and recreation needs.

“I applaud Senators Wyden and Merkley to for being true champions for Oregon’s natural heritage by supporting full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and fighting to make sure that the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and other special places can stay open and in great working condition now and in the future,” said Fisher.