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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 9, 2000
                        WASHINGTON AND OREGON
     New Designations Will Protect Hanford Reach and Soda Mountain

Washington, DC--Vice President Gore today announced the creation of two new national monuments -- the Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington, which will protect one of the last free-flowing stretches of the Columbia River, and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon, which includes Soda Mountain and surrounding lands rich with plant and animal life.

The two new monuments, which strengthen protection for lands already managed by the federal government, were recommended last month by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

"These lands are among America's great natural treasures, and we owe it to future generations to preserve them," the Vice President said. "We act today so that years from now Americans will still be able to paddle free-flowing waters and hike pristine peaks, enjoying these extraordinary stretches of our natural heritage."

The Hanford Reach National Monument is located in south central Washington along the Columbia River and encompasses approximately 195,000 acres of public land within the borders of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford Reservation. This area represents the last free-flowing, non-tidal stretch of the Upper Columbia River, where approximately 80 percent of the Columbia's fall chinook salmon spawn.

"Protecting the Hanford Reach is another critical step in our long-term effort to restore salmon throughout the Columbia River basin," the Vice President said.

The monument also includes the largest remnant of the shrub-steppe ecosystem that once blanketed the Columbia River Basin, and contains well preserved cultural artifacts of Native American history and other remnants of human history spanning more than 10,000 years. Much of the land within the new monument has been managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under an agreement with DOE that ultimately will be extended to the full monument.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is located in south central Oregon, encompassing approximately 52,000 acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), including Soda Mountain. Situated at the convergence of the Klamath and Cascade Mountains, with elevations ranging from 2,300 to 6,000 feet, the monument contains a rare mix of ecosystems supporting biological diversity unmatched in the Cascade Range.

The two monuments were recommended by Secretary Babbitt, who was asked by President Clinton last year to survey and report back on unique and fragile federal lands in need of additional protection. In developing his recommendations, the Secretary consulted with state and local officials, members of Congress, stakeholder groups, and the public.

The monuments were designated by President Clinton under the Antiquities Act, which authorizes the creation of monuments on federal land to protect objects of scientific and historic interest.