Bass and Bradley Introduce Legislation to Protect Wild River, Sandwich Range Areas of White Mountains

From the Offices of Congressmen Bradley and Bass

Washington, D.C.: - U.S.Reps. Charles Bass and Jeb Bradley (R-NH) today introduced legislation that will designate areas of New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) as "wilderness." Bass' legislation will create a new wilderness area of approximately 23,700 acres in size in the Wild River Valley. Bradley's legislation will expand the existing wilderness area in the Sandwich Range by 10,800 acres. Bothwilderness areas were proposed in the WMNF plan and require Congressional action in order to be established.

"The Whites are one of the most visited national forests in the country for good reason, with their ready mix of recreational opportunities, natural conservation and pristine habitat protection, and economic support," said Bass. "From the passage of the Weeks Act that established the national forest system in the eastern U.S. in 1911 while my grandfather was governor, through the almost 100 years of the forest's history, the White Mountain National Forest has been a jewel and place of solitude for millions of Granite Staters and visitors alike. I am honored to play a small part to improve the experience for millions of future visitors and protect our precious habitats and native ecosystems."

Bradley stated, "As someone who has climbed all 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000-foot peaks, I know first hand how important the wilderness designation is to preserving the beauty and solitude of the White MountainNational Forest. I have also hiked the Wild River and Sandwich Range areas and I know that they are truly deserving of this designation, which will preserve the areas for future generations to be able to enjoy. I commend Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner and his staff for their work in putting this sensible plan forward, and I look forward to working with the rest of the Congressional Delegation to make this plan a reality."

"The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) commends Congressmen Bass and Bradley and the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation for their leadership on wilderness legislation that will provide outstanding opportunities for backcountry recreation and, over time, restoration of unfragmented, mature forest habitat," said Susan Arnold, Director of Conservation for the AMC. "Wilderness is an important element in the balance of a multiple-use forest, and new wilderness designations in the White Mountain National Forest will protect these remote and irreplaceable lands forever."

Fred Lavigne, a member ofthe Friends of Sandwich Range citizens' group, said, "We're very pleased that Congressmen Bradley and Bass are introducing a New Hampshire Wilderness Bill in the House. This will permanently protect historic sites as well as older forests in the Sandwich Range. We're also pleased that new Wilderness will be created in the magnificent Wild River Valley."

Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner commented, "I appreciate the time and thought both Congressman Bradley and Congressman Bass put into the revision process. They were actively interested and involved, and encouraged their constituents to participate in crafting the Final Plan. Their support and understanding of the complexities of managing public land is appreciated by me and the employees of the White Mountain National Forest."

U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu(R-NH) introduced similar legislation in the Senate earlier this week. Bass and Bradley's bills will be referred to the appropriate committees for consideration.