By Jim Haley Herald Writer
The U.S. Senate today approved a bill that would create a new wilderness area in Washington.
The bill is a major step toward creating the Wild Sky Wilderness in eastern Snohomish County, but it’s not the final vote.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said the House would have to vote once more because the Senate version was approved in a large package of land-use measures. In the House, Wild Sky was approved as a single measure.
The wilderness would be about 106,000 acres north of U.S. 2 and the towns of Index and Skykomish. It would be the first wilderness created in the state since 1984.
This is the fourth time that Wild Sky has passed the Senate.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., championed the measure, getting approval three times since 2002. Each time in the past, Wild Sky languished in the House. In April 2007, the Democratic-controlled House approved it.
The wilderness issue for the first time stalled in the Senate last year when it and other federal land decisions were stymied over the cost of implementing them.