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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

April 10, 2008

Contact: Kristina Johnson (415) 977-5619
Oliver Bernstein (512) 477-2152

Senate Votes to Honor César Chavéz, Protect Wild Sky Wilderness
Sierra Club Applauds Protection of America’s Wild Legacy

Washington, D.C.-Today, the Senate voted 91-4 to pass a public lands package that preserves America’s natural and cultural heritage for generations to come. The package includes a provision to honor labor and environment leader César Chavéz, as well as a landmark wilderness bill that will protect Washington State’s Wild Sky Wilderness. 

The César E. Chavéz Study Act
The César E. Chavéz Study Act, sponsored by Representative Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) authorizes the U.S. Department of Interior to study significant lands in Chavéz’s life for inclusion in the National Parks system.

"César E. Chavéz’ courageous life has inspired many to continue the fight for environmental justice so our children and families have a stronger, healthier future," said Isabel M. Long, Associate Representative for Latino Programs. "To have the National Park Service trace landmarks significant to his life is a fitting honor to Chavéz."

The 387 units of the National Park System - including well-known places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, Mesa Verde and the Great Smoky Mountains - are truly symbols of America. Our National Parks encompass breathtaking landscapes, spectacular geologic features and historic landmarks. They are beloved destinations where millions of American families choose to visit year after year. Despite the close connection between Latinos and the environment, there is not currently a single park unit dedicated to a Latino.

Wild Sky Wilderness Act
The Wild Sky Wilderness Act, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representative Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), will protect 106,000 acres of Washington’s Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest-an astounding area that includes old-growth forests and world-class trout and salmon streams, while providing valuable habitat for wildlife like bears, mountain lions, and lynx.

"We applaud the Senate today for recognizing the Wild Sky Wilderness as one of America’s irreplaceable natural treasures," said Sierra Club representative Athan Manuel. "This scenic area is home to important trout and salmon streams, along with some of the Northwest’s best wildlife. Protecting the Wild Sky Wilderness ensures that Americans will be able to hike, camp and fish in this spectacular landscape for generations to come."

A Wilderness designation affords some of the strongest protection Congress can provide to public land.Wild Sky Wilderness will be the first new national forest wilderness area created in forest-rich Washington State in more than two decades.


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