As a fifth-generation Eastern Oregonian, I’m a strong supporter of Oregon’s clean, wild rivers. I was pleased to read on Oct. 3 that Sen. Ron Wyden is seeking nominations from the public for new Wild and Scenic Rivers to include in a statewide bill.

My great-great-grandparents came to the Burnt River Valley in 1863 and I grew up in the small town of Hereford, just south of Baker City. I spent the majority of my youth roaming the hills, fishing the streams and hunting throughout the region. I will be nominating the rivers that I enjoyed as a boy for Wild and Scenic protection in hopes that future generations will have the same opportunity that I did to enjoy healthy, wild rivers.

The most important lesson I’ve learned as a part-time farmer is that I have to be a good steward of my land if it is to be productive into the future. In this same way, we must ensure that the rivers that provide clean water and critical habitat for fish and wildlife are protected and managed to keep these values intact for generations to come.

I applaud Wyden for his leadership on protecting Oregon’s wild rivers, and for giving all Oregonians the opportunity to be involved in keeping our state the special place that it is today.

Mike Higgins


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