Bill to save Green Mountain lookout unanimously passes Senate

Here’s an update on the Green Mountain lookout, from a story by Gale Fiege about landslide recovery efforts:

“When asked by Sen. Patty Murray what she could do to help, (Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin) Rankin told her that Darrington could use a little good news, like saving the fire lookout on nearby Green Mountain.

“On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would protect the historic lookout in the Glacier Peak Wilderness of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The bill now goes to the House, where it could be taken up as soon as next week.

“The legislation is necessary to block a U.S. District Court order that the historic fire lookout removed. A Montana-based group in 2012 successfully sued the U.S. Forest Service for using a helicopter to repair Green Mountain’s lookout in violation of the Wilderness Act.”

And here is the Associated Press story:

DARRINGTON — The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a measure to save the popular Green Mountain fire lookout, which a federal judge has ordered removed from its perch in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell called for the expedited legislation, which passed Thursday. The House is expected to consider a companion bill next week.

The lookout was built in 1933, and the Forest Service used a helicopter and machinery to repair it in 2009. That prompted a lawsuit from a Montana-based environmental group: Such methods aren’t allowed in federal wilderness areas.

A judge ordered it removed, but the state’s congressional delegation has been trying to save it. The structure is popular with hikers, tourists and locals in nearby Darrington.

And here’s Sen. Murray talking about the landslide’s effect on the community and the lookout in the U.S. Senate. She told the story of Rankin saying that saving the lookout could be a glimmer of hope for the area.

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