This bill — the Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act — would require the Dept. of the Interior to adjust the eastern boundary of the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area in Oregon to exclude 832 acres specified on an April 2017 map to facilitate fire prevention on those lands. Those activities would aim to protect the adjacent 5,500 resident community of Crooked River Ranch. These lands are classified in the highest risk category for wildfire due to overstocked juniper, but mechanical thinning (ie logging) of the juniper stands is currently prohibited because of its designation as a wilderness study area.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Energy and Natural ResourcesPublic Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee
- senate Committees
- The house Passed July 11th, 2018Passed by Voice Vote
National Parks, Forests, and Public LandsCommittee on Natural ResourcesIntroducedApril 6th, 2017
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 2075?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 2075
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) introduced this bill to protect Crooked River Ranch from wildfire:
“Passage of the Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act through the Resources Committee is really important. We all know fire is like in our environment in central Oregon. What we’re trying to do is move a government boundary back so that teams can get in and thin out the excess fuels that could result in catastrophe if fire ever came over the top into Crooked River Ranch.”
The local fire chief said the bill “has the potential to save lives and property at Crooked River Ranch” and added:
“With the current wilderness study area (WSA) boundary, practical firefighting and fire prevention activities are unavailable. The lack of fuel mitigation around Crooked River Ranch, due to wilderness restrictions codified in law, has created a dangerous environment and continues to threaten the people that live here… From a firefighting standpoint, Congressman Walden’s bill is appreciated and is simply commonsense.”
Some House Democrats expressed opposition to this bill on the grounds that it’d permanently remove the 832 acres form the wilderness study area without making the remaining acreage a permanent wilderness area, but noted that striking that provision “would have been enough to garner bipartisan support.”
This legislation passed the House Natural Resources Committee on a 20-13 vote.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Crooked River Ranch / Creative Commons)