Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Ron Wyden

Oregon Wilderness by the Numbers: Versus Adjacent States, Congressional Delegation Rankings, and Total Potential Wilderness

Oregon Wilderness by the Numbers: Versus Adjacent States, Congressional Delegation Rankings, and Total Potential Wilderness

Compared to its political equal Washington, arch-liberal California, arch-conservative Idaho, and politically purple Nevada, Oregon has the least designated wilderness acreage and the smallest percentage of the state’s lands protected as wilderness.

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Wither the Wild Rogue?

Wither the Wild Rogue?

When Representative Greg Walden (R-2nd-OR) hears “the Rogue,” he happily dreams of the roar of chainsaws. But now Walden is down and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-4th-OR) is up, and the stars have aligned to save the Wild Rogue. You can help.

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Trump Signs DeFazio-Walden-Wyden-Merkley Bill Giving Away 50 Square Miles of Federal Public Land in Oregon

Trump Signs DeFazio-Walden-Wyden-Merkley Bill Giving Away 50 Square Miles of Federal Public Land in Oregon

A bill that gives away 32,261 acres of federal public land in Oregon has been signed into law by President Donald Trump. The new owners are expected to intensively log and road their new holdings.

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Go Take a Hike: The National Trails System at Fifty

Go Take a Hike: The National Trails System at Fifty

In 1965, in a message to Congress, President Lyndon Johnson said, “We can and should have an abundance of trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding, in and close to our cities. In the backcountry we need to copy the great Appalachian Trail in all parts of America.”

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How US Public Lands Can Help Save the Climate and Ourselves

How US Public Lands Can Help Save the Climate and Ourselves

Rather than limiting ourselves to the micro and at the margin, the public lands conservation community must go for the macro and at the core.

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Filling the Congressional Conservation Pipeline for When It Unclogs

Filling the Congressional Conservation Pipeline for When It Unclogs

Several mostly good public lands conservation bills have been introduced in the 115th Congress (2017–18) but languish in committee, unable to get a vote on the floor of the House or the Senate.

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The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, Part 2: Rounding It Out and Cleaning It Up (For Oregon, If Not Elsewhere)

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, Part 2: Rounding It Out and Cleaning It Up (For Oregon, If Not Elsewhere)

Currently, less than 1 percent of Oregon streams, by mileage, are included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. An estimated additional 10,000 miles (less than 3 percent of the total mileage) of Oregon streams are eligible for inclusion.

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The National Wilderness Preservation System, Part 3: The Promise of and a Promise to Wilderness

The National Wilderness Preservation System, Part 3: The Promise of and a Promise to Wilderness

Despite its imperfections, the Wilderness Act is a wonderful law, worth defending against all attacks and attackers.

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Protecting the Pacific Northwest Offshore Ocean for This and Future Generations

Protecting the Pacific Northwest Offshore Ocean for This and Future Generations

Abstaining from mineral development offshore is the only way to protect the marine environment and the renewable resources that depend upon it.

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Public Lands Conservation in Congress: Stalled by the Extinction of Green Republicans

Public Lands Conservation in Congress: Stalled by the Extinction of Green Republicans

Many politicians call for a return to the era of bipartisanship as a solution to any woe. This call has resonance because the bipartisan era occurred in the living memory of baby boomers. But in the long arc of history this era did not last long, and the evidence of today does not give much hope of a return to it.

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The National Landscape Conservation System: In Need of Rounding Out

The National Landscape Conservation System: In Need of Rounding Out

In 2000, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt created, by administrative order, the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), to “conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.”

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Oregon’s Wildlands Should Matter At Least as Much to Oregon Legislators as Alaska's and Utah's

Oregon’s Wildlands Should Matter At Least as Much to Oregon Legislators as Alaska's and Utah's

However, their cosponsoring a tundra wilderness bill in Alaska and a red rocks wilderness bill in Utah—at relatively large acreages of 1.6 and 9.1 million acres respectively—contrasts unfavorably with the Oregon congressional delegation’s efforts to conserve and restore Oregon’s green forests, tan deserts, and blue waters for the benefit of this and future generations.

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Dancing on the Dark Side: Wyden Guts His Own National Recreation Area System Bill

Dancing on the Dark Side: Wyden Guts His Own National Recreation Area System Bill

Senator Ron Wyden had a visionary and bold bill that would establish a National Recreation Area System. I strongly supported that legislative provision in a post to this Public Lands Blog.... I heaped praise on the Wyden-Blumenauer bill that would have established generally strong conservation and management standards for new national recreation areas.... Now I must heap scorn on the Wyden-Bishop bill. The section that would establish a National Recreation Area System has been gutted of any significant conservation value and would only change the color on the map, but not management on the ground.

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The Proposed Oregon Wildlands Act of 2017: Very Good but Not Yet Great

The Proposed Oregon Wildlands Act of 2017: Very Good but Not Yet Great

The congressional conservation pipeline is clogged. This is not because it is too full of fine legislation that would elevate the conservation status of certain public lands by designating wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, and other special protection areas, but because of the general dysfunction of Congress. (I hear it was worse before the Civil War.) One bill in that pipeline, sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and cosponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), is the proposed Oregon Wildlands Act (OWA) of 2017 (S.1548, 115th Congress).

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Owyhee Canyonlands: Faux Conservation and Pork Barrel Development

Owyhee Canyonlands: Faux Conservation and Pork Barrel Development

The Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon are worthy of inclusion in the National Park System, administered by the National Park Service. Now that would be local economic development! The Owyhee Canyonlands are worthy of designation by Congress as an overarching national conservation area with underlying wilderness and wild and scenic rivers where appropriate. The Owyhee Canyonlands are not deserving of a half-assed mineral withdrawal that locks in other harmful uses.

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The Westerman Bill: The Timber Industry’s Wet Dream

The Westerman Bill: The Timber Industry’s Wet Dream

Who wouldn’t want “resilient” (“able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”) forests? With the name Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (H.R.2936, 115th Congress), what could possibly be wrong with this bill?

Everything. Judge neither a book by its cover nor a bill by its name.

Introduced by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-4th-AR), the bill is the timber industry’s wet dream legislation. In only his second term in Congress, Westerman has received more campaign contributions from Big Timber than any other industry.

The Westerman bill would legislate horrifically harmful public forest policy into law. 

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