*** URGENT ALERT ***
Dear Friends of the Siskiyous,
I am sorry to announce that on Tuesday, the Bush Administration put 800,000 acres of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area at risk to new mining claims. A temporary ban on new mining claims was put into place at the end of the Clinton administration in order to study the feasibility of creating a Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument. Instead of engaging in a democratic process to determine the will of the public, the Administration has scrapped the temporary moratorium, and replaced it with one approximately 10% of the original size, leaving 800,000 acres of Oregon's most diverse ecosystem at risk.
Half of the Rough and Ready Creek watershed is now open to new mining claims. Other globally significant areas now under increased threat include Briggs Creek, a tributary to the Wild and Scenic Illinois River, Sucker Creek, one of the most productive wild salmon streams in Oregon, and areas with high concentrations of rare and endemic plants in the Illinois River Valley and South Kalmiopsis roadless area.
The vast majority of the hundreds of mining claims in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers are "recreational" in-stream gold mining operations (pictured below) that employ no one. Though it makes no meaningful contribution to local economies, the Bush Administration has prioritized marginal mining over wild salmon, recreation and the internationally-recognized biodiversity of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area.
It is increasingly clear that the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area needs permanent protection as a National Monument. In the short term, threatened roadless areas, especially Rough and Ready Creek, need to be preserved as congressionally-designated Wilderness THIS YEAR.
TAKE ACTION for the SISKIYOUS!
PLEASE CONTACT THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS TODAY:
Rep. Peter DeFazio
DC phone: (202) 225-6416
151 W. 7th Rm 400, Eugene, OR 97401
Eugene phone: (800) 944-9603 or (541) 465-6732
Siskiyou Wild Rivers is in DeFazio's district. Ask him to champion Wilderness designation for Rough and Ready Creek THIS YEAR, and to help win protection for Siskiyou Wild Rivers as a National Monument. Tell him that we can't afford to let the Bush Administration sacrifice one of our country's ecological gems for marginal mining operations.
Senator Ron Wyden
Washington DC phone: (202) 224-5244
500 NE Multnomah, #320, Portland, OR 97232
Portland phone: (503) 326-326-7525
email submission page: http://www.senate.gov/~wyden/mail.htm
Tell Senator Wyden that you are appalled by the recent Bush Administration action that opens Siskiyou Wild Rivers to new mining claims, and abandons the process of studying the feasibility of a Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument. Ask him to champion Wilderness designation for Rough and Ready Creek THIS YEAR, and to help win protection for Siskiyou Wild Rivers as a National Monument.
Senator Gordon Smith
DC phone: (202) 224-3753
121 SW Salmon Suite 1250, Portland, OR 97204
Portland phone: (503) 326-3386
email submission page: http://gsmith.senate.gov/webform.htm
To date, Senator Smith has not demonstrated a commitment to protect the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area (In March of 2001, Senator Smith asked Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to "review" the new mining claim moratorium in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area - an action that contributed to yesterday's lifting of the protections). Tell him that you are disappointed by the decision to open Siskiyou Wild Rivers to new mining claims, and the abandonment of the process of studying the feasibility of a Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument. Tell him that the wild salmon, recreational opportunites and globally outstanding biodiversity of Siskiyou Wild Rivers shouldn't be sacrificed for marginal mining operations. Ask him to support Wilderness designation for Rough and Ready Creek THIS YEAR and to work for a Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument.
I've included a press release and a link to an LA Times story on the Bush Administration action below.
Link to LA Times story: