If you haven’t already seen it, the Benjamin Harrison National Recreation Area and Wilderness Establishment Act of 2023 (S 2990) was officially introduced two weeks ago by US Senator Mike Braun. If approved, this legislation will add approximately 15,300 acres to Charles Deam Wilderness, more than doubling its size from the current 12,953 acres to 28,253 acres. It will also establish the 29,382 acre Benjamin Harrison National Recreation Area on national forest land surrounding the expanded Deam Wilderness to protect the drinking water provided to more than 120,000 Hoosiers from the Monroe Reservoir and expand recreation such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain biking beyond the Wilderness.
If this bill becomes law, it will preserve the largest expanse of wild forest in Indiana’s history.
WE NEED YOU TO HELP this bill become law by writing to US Senator Todd Young and Congresswoman Erin Houchin (whose 9th Congressional District includes the proposed Wilderness and National Recreation Area in S. 2990) and urge them to support S. 2990 Benjamin Harrison National Recreation Area and Wilderness Establishment Act of 2023.
Ask Senator Young also to cosponsor S. 2990 and ask Congresswoman Houchin to introduce S. 2990 in the US House of Representatives.
The staff person or “point of contact” for Senator Young on S.2990 is his Legislative Assistant for Public Lands, Burke Miller, at: Burke_Miller@young.senate.gov
The point of contact for Congresswoman Houchin is her Legislative Director, Jonathan Van Buren, at: JVB@mail.house.gov
Please send a copy of your email to Senator Young to Burke and a copy of your email to Congresswoman Houchin to Jonathan.
To assist in writing these letters, IFA has prepared a brief fact sheet. Feel free to include any of this information in your letters to Sen. Young and Rep. Houchin, as well as any additional information or personal connection to the proposed Wilderness and National Recreation Area which you feel may be relevant.
A massive outpouring of public support will be necessary for this bill to pass the Congress. It will have to pass the US House after it clears the Senate. Congress must pass the bill before Senator Braun retires from the Senate at the end of 2024. Another opportunity to save such a wild expanse of nature in Indiana may not come in your lifetime.
The clock is ticking. Please act today!