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Press Release of Senator Cantwell
Ice Age Floods Trail Passes Key Senate Committee
Cantwell’s Bipartisan Legislation Creating New National Park Service Trail Heads to Full Senate
Wednesday, September 28,2005
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s decision to unanimously approve the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail Designation Act (S.206). Approved Wednesday morning and now ready for consideration by the full Senate, the bipartisan Ice Age Floods bill will create a National Park Service administered trail through portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
“Celebrating the unique geology of the Pacific Northwest is an exciting project that the whole region can take pride in,” Cantwell said. “This isn’t just about glaciers and rocks—the Ice Age Flood Trail will boost tourism and related economic development. Developing an accessible educational trail will bring in tourist dollars that will help invigorate rural Central and Eastern Washington communities.”
The proposed trail—which will tell the story of how a series of monumental floods created the unique geology of Central and Eastern Washington—would be managed by the National Park Service in partnership with the Ice Age Floods Institute, participating States, Tribes, and other local entities. Interpretive centers, signs and markers, exhibits, waysides, and roadside pullouts would be used to tell the story of the floods. Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA-04) has sponsored companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“This trail is significant in its potential to generate tourism for the Tri-Cities and throughout Washington state and the Pacific Northwest. So much of our community is tied to the history of the Ice Age Floods,” said Kris Watkins, President and CEO of the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau. “The floods created the soil conditions that have allowed Washington state to become a world leader in wine production, they carved the scenic canyons of the Columbia Gorge, and created the geologic interest evident in the Hanford Reach National Monument. The Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau commends Senator Cantwell for her vision and leadership in supporting development of an Ice Age Floods Trail.”
“The Ice Age Floods Institute is most grateful to bill sponsor Senator Maria Cantwell, the co-sponsoring Senators and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for this bi-partisan effort,” said Gary Kleinknecht, the Institute’s president. “This trail will enhance America's understanding of the amazing natural forces that have shaped the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. It will showcase the work of repeated outburst floods from Montana's Giganitic Glacial Lake Missoula, which drastically changed the landscapes of northern Idaho, eastern Washington and northern Oregon and the Willamette Valley.”
Cantwell’s bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by four of her Energy and Natural Resources Committee colleagues, Senators Larry Craig (R-ID), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Conrad Burns (R-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), as well as Washington State Senator Patty Murray. Representative Hastings’ bill has 10 co-sponsors, including 4 Republicans.