A wild gem in our extraordinary backyard

I have been living in southwest Oregon for more than 8 years, and I am still constantly in awe of the wild natural beauty that surrounds us. Surely one of the reasons so many people gravitate to this area is the rugged beauty of mountains, forests and rivers that greet us at every turn. Many people do not realize that the region in which we live is 50% federal lands, which means we own it and the federal government manages it for us, the people. I encourage everyone to learn more about this world-renowned region, public lands management and how you can get involved. A great place to start is by visitng and learning about the lower Rogue River, which is an exceptional wonderland northwest of Grants Pass.The Bureau of Land Management recently auctioned off hundreds of acres of old-growth forest near the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. On November 16, 2006, the BLM sold "Upper East Kelsey," part of the enormous Kelsey-Whisky timber sale. The timber company plans to log this spring.By pushing forward with this deeply controversial timber sale, the BLM is ignoring the requests of Representative Peter DeFazio, Senator Ron Wyden, the Environmental Protection Agency, local businesses and hundreds of citizens from across the country.Upper East Kelsey proposes to log more than 500 acres within the Zane Grey Roadless Area, virtually all of it centuries-old forest. The Zane Grey is the largest forested roadless area on BLM land in the nation. This roadless area protects important tributaries to the Rogue River, safeguarding water quality and important habitat for salmon and steelhead.Every year, thousands of people from around the world travel to southern Oregon to float the Rogue River and take pleasure in the pristine landscape, and in doing so contribute millions of dollars to the local economy. The area is widely enjoyed for wildlife viewing, hiking and fishing. The Zane Grey and nearby Whisky Creek Roadless Areas should be protected as wilderness.Due to the ecological and economic importance of these wildlands, and their suitability as potential Wilderness, we urge you to take action!Please write a letter to Representative Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden requesting they protect the Wild Rogue River for future generations. The Wild Rogue needs our help!For a sample letter and addresses, please visit: more information on Kelsey-Whisky and the lower Rogue, please visit: more information about this incredible region, please visit:

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