SALEM, Ore. (AP) – After passing legislation earlier this year that applied the highest form of environmental protection to 10,000 acres in the Coast Range and 250 miles of rivers in Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden has returned with a new conservation bill.

The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, would create new recreation areas around the Rogue and Molalla rivers, expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness and outlaw mining on 100,000 acres in southwest Oregon.

The Democratic two senators said establishing the protected areas would increase the state’s outdoor recreation economy, but also stressed that legislation wouldn’t stop projects meant to reduce the threat of wildfire.

Opponents of the bill said the legislation could make wildfires worse, especially in a southwest Oregon region hit hard by wildfire the past five years, while limiting timber supply.

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