To the Editor,
I attended the last meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners where a number of issues and concerns were discussed, among them the proposed Horse Heaven-Cathedral Rock Wilderness, this bill being recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
While the commissioners were generally in favor of this potential new wilderness, the commissioners were unable to vote for a full endorsement, the one sticking point being the board wanted one remote access to the proposed wilderness area.
It will be sad indeed if the wilderness bill does not go through because of this one small issue. Over the past several years, much work has been done by various organizations and people to ensure a nearly 100 percent satisfaction for a new wilderness, among them landowners, ranchers and permit holders. A new wilderness will generate a favorable economic impact to the town and county by increasing visitors to a Horse Heaven-Cathedral Rock Wilderness, taking its place in the National Landscape Conservation System, which contain some of the most beautiful and stunning areas in the United States.
Volunteer stewardship opportunities from the local community will also present themselves to look after Horse Heaven and Cathedral Rock, these volunteers coming from schools, churches, and at-risk youth. The board of commissioners is encouraged to think of their constituents by voting fully in favor of the bill to create a new wilderness, thus increasing the economic and volunteer opportunities for Madras and Jefferson County.