Hi everyone. The following was sent out by State Senator Linda Evans Parlette on Feb 3. I thought I would share it for those who are interested in what is happening with our upper road.
I am writing this morning to provide an update on the Road to Cottonwood issue. I know this is long overdue, but I am in the middle of the legislative session which began on January 11 and is scheduled to end on March 11 (God willing).
As you know, H.R. 2806 passed the House of Representatives on October 26 with a unanimous vote. Changes were made to the bill on the floor by Congressman Jay Inslee to narrow the authority given to the Secretary of the Interior in re-routing the road. Please find details of the changes below, along with a link to the text and summary of the bill.
On August 19, Senator Cantwell and her staff were scheduled to join me in Stehekin to see first-hand the results of the 500-year flood. Unfortunately, they were unable to make the trip due to the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, whose memorial service was held on the 18th. I was, however, able to meet with Congressman Norm Dicks on January 9th to give him an update on the issue.
Also in November, I facilitated scheduling for former Governor and US Senator Daniel J. Evans to meet with Senators Cantwell and Murray to share his perspective with them on the Road to Cottonwood. As you recall, Dan Evans, while serving as our US Senator sponsored the 1988 Washington Wilderness Act which is the underlying legislation that HR 2806 modifies. Additionally, we recently set up a phone call so Governor Evans could visit with Jon Jarvis, Director of National Parks Service.
I am now working on getting a hearing for H.R. 2806 in the National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Though Senator Cantwell does not sit on this subcommittee, she does sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which would be the next step for the bill. Chelan County Commissioner Doug England and I talked yesterday with his connection in Washington D.C. who will be scoping out the situation for us. I hope to have more to report in a few weeks.
I will be calling you all into action once we have more details, and will provide names of the committee members and suggestions for how to contact them in my next update. Until then, please stay in touch and do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions, or if I can be of service. Below my signature is the information on the bill I promised. Thanks for your continued attention and efforts towards the reopening of the Road to Cottonwood!
LINDA EVANS PARLETTE
Senate Republican Caucus Chair
12th Legislative District
Text of HR 2806:
Summary of HR 2806:
Amendments made to HR 2806:
Instead of giving the Secretary the ability to adjust wilderness boundaries, the revised version only allows the Secretary to adjust wilderness boundary in North Cascade National Park for the purpose of rebuilding the Upper Stehekin Valley Road with the following parameters:
1) Within one mile of the route, on the date of the enactment of this section, of the Stehekin Valley Road;
2) Within the boundaries of the North Cascades National Park; and
3) Outside of the boundaries of the Stephen Mather Wilderness
The measure goes on to further describe the principle of no-net-loss of lands and sets forth specific provisions on how this can be accomplished:
1) Equal amounts of federally owned acreage are exchanged between the Stephen Mather Wilderness and the North Cascades National Park, resulting in no net loss to either- authority is granted to the Secretary to make the wilderness designation of exchanged lands;
2) Newly designated wilderness shall include the lands along the route of the Stehekin Valley Road that are replaced by the reconstruction;
3) No sale or acquisition is authorized; and
4) No priority is given to this project over of other construction or repair of similarly damaged roads in units of the National Park System