Lawmakers Kick Off Oregon Caves Expansion
Portland, OR – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio will meet Friday with advocates for the Oregon Caves to celebrate the first tourist season with added land and protections for one of the state’s most unique natural treasures.
A bill passed late in the last Congress adds 4,070 acres to the 480-acre Oregon Caves National Monument, promoting recreation in Southern Oregon, boosting the local economy and improving forest health.
In addition to the land expansion, the legislation also designates the River Styx, which travels through the caves, as the first underground river in the country to be considered “scenic” under the “wild and scenic program."
“As Oregon heads into the spring and summer tourist season, the monument’s nearly eightfold expansion and these additional protections are very welcome news for one of our state’s most iconic natural treasures,’’ Wyden said. “This is a fantastic shot in the arm for Oregon’s tourism and recreation economy.”
“The expansion of the Oregon Caves National Monument will provide an added boost to the regional recreation economy and protect one of Oregon’s most iconic locations,” said Merkley. “Now, more visitors will get to experience the natural beauty of Josephine County by visiting the River Styx, the nation’s first scenic underground river, the spectacular underground caves, and now over 4,000 acres of newly protected forest land.”
“This celebration was decades in the making, so I’m immensely proud to say we were finally able to cross the finish line,” DeFazio said. “Not only will expanding the Oregon Caves provide long-term protections for one of the most geologically unique places in the Northwest, it will also expand recreational opportunities and encourage visitors to stay longer and explore more. This is a huge economic opportunity for Josephine County, which is why the expansion garnered so much local support.”
WHERE: The Chateau, Oregon Caves National Monument, 19000 Caves Hwy, Cave Junction
WHEN: 1 pm, Friday, April 10