Senate passes bill protecting Devil's Staircase as wilderness

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The U.S. Senate has approved the Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act, which would permanently conserve thousands of acres of forest near the southern Oregon coast.

The legislation passed Thursday as part of a group of 14 public lands bills from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is chaired by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden. It now goes to the House of Representatives.

The act designates more than 30,000 acres of land in the Siuslaw National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management's Coos District as wilderness and protects about 14 miles of the Wasson and Franklin creeks.

The old-growth forest includes large Douglas-fir, cedar and hemlock trees.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press