In 1990, Congress enacted legislation to establish the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) to protect the watershed, but the boundary of the NRA stopped at the Oregon border, leaving the North Folk of the Smith River and its tributaries unprotected.
Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have introduced legislation to expand the Smith River National Recreation Area by adding 58,000 acres, a move that would protect the diverse ecosystems of the rivers, streams, and adjacent lands of the North Fork Smith River watershed and help boost the local fishing and recreation industries that many Oregonian families rely on.
• Boundary Adjustment. The legislation will adjust the NRA boundaries to add approximately 58,000 acres of the North Fork Smith watershed in Oregon to the Smith NRA.
• Permanent Mineral Withdrawal. Like the NRA in California, all land located inside the National Recreation Area would be permanently withdrawn from new mining claims, helping protect this sensitive area from proposed nickel strip mines.
• Wild and Scenic River Protection. The legislation would designate 75 river miles of wild and scenic rivers, including Baldface Creek, Chrome Creek and nearby streams.
• Recreation Planning. The Forest Service will prepare an updated management and recreation plan for the NRA Expansion into Oregon.
• A Special Study. A special study of streams, fens, wetlands and potentially unstable and vulnerable aquatic habitat areas is requested in the legislation.
To learn more, go to Permanent North Fork Protection.