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Mailbag: Encourage passing legislation ASAP

Mailbag: Encourage passing legislation ASAP

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Tucked away in the southeast corner of our state, the Owyhee Canyonlands is a treasure whose value can’t really be understood without spending time discovering the many secrets of such a vast and rugged landscape.

This past October, I hiked three miles into the Owyhee Breaks and pack-rafted an 11-mile stretch of the river. It was a trip I’ll never forget, and one that brought much healing and restoration amidst these troubled times.

With hunting, fishing and other outdoor equipment selling like never before and increased interest in getting outside, it’s clear we have much to gain for our personal and economic well-being by safeguarding Oregon’s wild lands and rivers. Sen. Ron Wyden’s Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act (S.2828) will promote just that. The bill offers the opportunity to protect the Owyhee’s most special places, and provides Malheur County with crucial economic development opportunities that support local, rural communities.

As an avid sportsman, pack-rafting is just one of many ways I enjoy this vast, wild place. Rugged landscapes like the Owyhee are part of our shared heritage, and as a father, I hope that my son will be able to enjoy casting a fly rod, chasing chukar and sleeping under some of the darkest night skies in the lower 48 states, just as I have.

I urge you to join me in encouraging Sen. Wyden, Sen. Merkley and incoming Rep. Bentz to work together to pass this important legislation as soon as possible.

Kyle Smith

Corvallis 

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