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Obama signs bill protecting 2 million acres of wilderness

Associated Press / March 31, 2009
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WASHINGTON - President Obama signed legislation yesterday setting aside more than 2 million acres as protected wilderness.

Obama called the new law among the most important in decades "to protect, preserve and pass down our nation's most treasured landscapes to future generations."

Obama said the law guarantees that Americans "will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parts, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted, but rather we will set them aside and guard their sanctity for everyone to share. That's something all Americans can support."

The law represents one of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in a quarter-century. It confers the government's highest level of protection on land in nine states.

Land protected ranges from California's Sierra Nevada and Oregon's Mount Hood to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and parts of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. Land in Idaho's Owyhee canyons, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, and Zion National Park in Utah also won wilderness protection.

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