Portland, OR (July 13, 2016) – A bill that would protect more than 100,000 acres in Douglas County, Oregon took another step forward today as it passed through a mark-up in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
The Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Designation Act (S. 1448) would permanently safeguard an area that contains some of the best wild steelhead spawning areas in the Pacific Northwest. Named in honor of Frank Moore, a World War II veteran and a legendary steward of the North Umpqua River, the act would safeguard drinking water, critical wildlife habitat, and cultural resources in a watershed identified as one of the most important ecological areas in the Pacific Northwest. The area provides more than 50 miles of high-quality river and stream habitat for summer and winter steelhead, chinook and coho salmon, rainbow trout, and other native species.
“As we have learned time and time again, our fish are only as healthy as their habitat,” said Chris Daughters, owner of Caddis Fly Shop in Eugene. “Fishing is a time-tested tradition here in Oregon, and moving the Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Designation Act forward in the Senate is a win-win for our way of life and our environment.”
From the clean water, to the wild salmon and steelhead trout that make their home in the river, to historic and cultural sites along the riverbanks, this area boasts a raw beauty that draws visitors from near and far. In addition to the multitude of fisheries, the area is also habitat for black bears and river otters, bald eagles and northern spotted owls, Roosevelt elk and grouse. Historically, the combination of large salmon and steelhead runs and majestic scenery has attracted anglers from all over the world, but the area is also valued for its rugged recreational hiking and backcountry offerings.
Passing the Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Designation Act would boost the local economy. Visitors from across the country and around the globe come to explore and enjoy the area’s outstanding fishing opportunities. The Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation in Oregon generates $12.8 billion in consumer spending, 141,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages and salaries and $955 million in state and local tax revenue.
“Our business depends on protected public lands and waters,” said Pat Lee and Jim VanLoan, co-owners of Steamboat Inn. “People come from near and far to fish in our rivers, and the communities that surround this part of the Umpqua depend on its clean, healthy water for their livelihoods. I want to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for investing in Oregon’s outdoor recreation economy.”
As a World War II veteran, Frank Moore landed on the beaches of Normandy. Upon returning home, Moore found that fishing in the area and spending time in the great outdoors helped him cope with the tragedies of the war. He established the Steamboat Inn in the North Umpqua watershed and guided trips down the river. He later started the Steamboaters, a group dedicated to safeguarding the river.
“As a veteran, I fought to protect what makes our nation great, and for me, it’s our public lands,” said Rusty Lininger, a veteran and fly fisherman. “There is something uniquely American about our great outdoors, and that value is recognized across the globe. I hope that Congress chooses to honor Mr. Moore as Senators Wyden and Merkley have, and protect this most remarkable place for future generations to enjoy.”
The Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Designation Act now awaits a vote on the Senate Floor. Oregonians are urging Congress to pass this important measure before the end of 2016.