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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Council Roundup: Alpine wilderness expansion supported

Also, arts funding approved 

The City Council Monday voiced unanimous support for federal legislation that would expand the Alpine Wilderness Area by protecting areas of the Middle Fork and South Fork Snoqualmie River valleys and the Pratt River Valley near Snoqualmie Pass.

The legislation was introduced in March by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.)  

"The Middle Fork, South Fork and Pratt River valleys are the closest and most accessible mountain valleys to residents of the greater Seattle-Bellevue metropolitan area," Mayor Grant Degginger said in a letter to Reichert on behalf of the City Council.

"As the population of the metropolitan area continues to grow, protection of wilderness areas is critical in order to preserve watersheds for clean water, protect wildlife habitat, preserve existing recreational opportunities and ensure these areas are available for future generations to experience."

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Act was passed by Congress in 1976. One of the most popular and diverse wilderness recreational areas in the nation, the 394,000-acre area is accessed by dozens of trailheads and more than 615 miles of trail.

The pending legislation would add critical low-elevation forests to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, bringing a richer diversity of ecosystems into the area and increasing recreational opportunities.

In addition to wilderness protections, the bill designates nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River as "Wild and Scenic Rivers," which permanently protects the rivers' free-flowing character, water quality and recreation, wildlife, fisheries and ecological values.

Council approves Arts Commission funding recommendations
Following the recommendations of the city's Arts Commission, the City Council has approved $120,000 in 2009 funding to 30 diverse arts groups.

The funding allocations were made as part of the Eastside Arts Partnership and Special Projects funding programs. Ballet, theater, chorale and dance groups were among those that received grants ranging from $1,000 to $16,000.

Each year arts organizations are invited to submit funding requests to the city.

Feedback: Mary Pat Byrne, Arts Specialist, 425-452-4105, mbyrne@bellevuewa.gov

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