House approves Wild Sky wilderness

House approves Wild Sky wilderness
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. House has voted to create the Wild Sky wilderness in 167 square miles of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest northeast of Seattle.

The bill sponsored by Congressman Rick Larsen creates the first new wilderness area in Washington state in more than 20 years.

A companion bill sponsored by Senator Patty Murray is pending in the Senate but versions have been approved three times in recent years. It never reached a vote on the House floor before the Democrats took control.

The wilderness designation would ban development in an area that includes habitat for bears, bald eagles and other wildlife, as well as hiking trails.

Environmental groups call the House vote a huge victory.