News | March 30, 2009

SELC wins passage of Virginia wilderness law!

On March 30, President Obama signed the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act into law, along with other measures in the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. With a 285-140 vote in the U.S. House, Congress passed the bill on March 25. Permanently protecting more than 53,000 acres in the publicly owned Jefferson National Forest, this is the largest wilderness bill in the Southern Appalachians in the last decade.

The Virginia Ridge and Valley Act establishes six new wilderness areas, a wilderness study area and two new national scenic areas, and expands several existing wilderness areas, all in the  mountains of southwest Virginia. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act also includes dozens of other land-protection measures around the country, among them a wilderness bill in West Virginia. The Senate passed the bill March 19 on a 77-20 vote.