I was disappointed to read the Bulletin’s short-sighted critique of the River Democracy Act. The legislation is an important and bold step toward protecting clean drinking water, wildlife habitat and public lands recreation.
One take away, among many, from the pandemic is that many of us have a newfound appreciation for wild places. More than ever, Oregonians have been flocking to protected public lands and rivers because they provide peace of mind — exploring clearcut forests and muddy streams just isn’t the same.
That’s why I’m supportive of Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley’s proposal to protect more Wild & Scenic Rivers throughout the state. It’s a bold vision, based on years worth of grassroots input from the public, businesses, outdoor recreationists, kids, scientists, anglers, hikers and everyday people who care about healthy rivers and streams.
The Bulletin’s odd objection to protecting smaller streams misses the science — and the intent of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. Streams, including intermittent ones, are allowed to be included for protection under the Act, and rightfully so. Without these small tributaries, many rivers would be a shell of themselves. After all, a river is just the sum of its tributaries.
I encourage anyone who loves rivers, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love rivers during a hot summer like this, to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for their visionary efforts to protect our cherished rivers — regardless of their size. I highly doubt future generations will suggest we went too far in protecting clean water.
— Erik Fernandez, Bend