Two members of Oregon's Congressional delegation have introduced a bill that would create the Copper Salmon wilderness area. As Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, it's meant to help Curry County’s bottom line.
The 13,000 acre site is home to old-growth forest and lots of wildlife. But it’s probably most prized as a salmon spawning ground, thanks to the rushing waters of the Elk River.
Officials downstream want to protect the watershed, since fishing is a major part of the local economy. The wilderness designation would halt mining and logging on the Forest Service land.
So it’s kind of ironic that one of the chief local backers is a retired logger named Jim Rogers:
Jim Rogers: “The place was so steep and rugged and fragile that logging activity just stirred a lot of stuff up. And so we were kind of destroying the place, and I didn’t feel good about that.”
Rogers turned his efforts to preserving the area.
He says fishing pays the bills for many in the remote coastal community. Congress could take up the wilderness legislation sometime this fall.
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