U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio today introduced legislation that would create the Copper-Salmon Wilderness, a 13,700-acre swath of wild land in southern Oregon’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The area encompasses the headwaters of the Elk River, one of the last, best coastal salmon and steelhead streams in the state. Wyden and DeFazio’s bill will also protect 10 miles of the Elk River’s headwaters with Wild and Scenic designation.
“Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio are acting on behalf of the sporting community in Oregon who value the Elk River fishery and want to see it protected for salmon and steelhead anglers today and for generations to come,” said Mike Beagle, Trout Unlimited’s Pacific Northwest field coordinator who lives in Eagle Point. “This bill will be very beneficial to the sport fishery as well as the commercial fishing industry. We’re very grateful to both of these men for recognizing the value of this special place.”
The effort to protect the Copper-Salmon area and the Elk River is supported by 10 sportsmen’s groups who are part of Sportsmen for Copper-Salmon Wilderness as well as local government and business leaders.
Last fall, Wild Bill and I chased salmon on the Elk and the Sixes Rivers near Port Orford, and it is one of the best fisheries I’ve ever seen. I’m really happy for Mike and the TU folks who worked really hard on this project. This wilderness designation will go a long way toward protecting one of Oregon’s endangered resources.
Here are some quotes provided by Trout Unlimited:
Every winter, our fishing lodge fills up with people from every walk of life from throughout the West, and they come to experience the wonders of this fishery. We all know that habitat is the key to the health of this system and to our way of life. By introducing Copper-Salmon Wilderness legislation, Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio are helping to protect our way of life.
–Mark Kimball, owner of Steelblue-Chameleon Lodge on the Elk River
Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio understand that our businesses and community are dependent upon the health of this fishery.
–David Smith, president of the Port Orford Chamber of Commerce
The citizens of Port Orford understand what the sport and commercial fishery means to our economy. We are pleased Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio have introduced this legislation because we all know it will protect the spawning and rearing habitat for these salmon and steelhead that that are such an important part of the fabric of this community.
— Port Orford Mayor Jim Auborn
By introducing this legislation, Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio have listened to the people of our community who know first hand that a Copper-Salmon Wilderness designation will protect the fishery of the region, which so many people are dependent upon.
–Jim Rogers, a long time Port Orford forester