Long-awaited victory in House for Wild Sky

Congratulations to U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen. At last, after more than five years of pushing, his Wild Sky Wilderness Act reached the House summit.

Having finally made it to the floor after being blocked for years by a committee chair whose voters showed him the door last year, Wild Sky was approved Tuesday on a voice vote. Now it heads to the Senate, where Patty Murray stands ready to guide it to its fourth successful vote in that chamber. After that, it heads to President Bush, who has said he’ll sign it into law.

The fact that passage was expected this year makes it no less sweet for Larsen – whose district includes Wild Sky – Murray and the scores of others who have worked for so long to create a pristine, accessible wilderness area near Index and Skykomish. This critical hurdle in the creation of Washington’s first wilderness area in 20 years is worth celebrating.

Wild Sky’s 106,577 acres include lowland old growth forests that can be visited and enjoyed by the very young and the very old. During the inclusive public process that forged the wilderness’ boundaries, creative compromises were made to ensure nearly all stakeholders’ priorities were addressed. What emerged was not only a unique wilderness area in terms of its access, but a model process for creating such areas.

Larsen’s role in that process was key, and this legislative victory is well-deserved.

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