Missouri Group Pushes for Federal Wilderness Protection

FREDERICKTOWN, MO - Hundreds of Missouri bird-watchers, backpackers and hunters are lobbying Congress to designate about 50,000 acres as federally protected wilderness areas.

If the Missouri Wilderness Coalition succeeds, it will be the first time in more than 23 years that Congress has designated a wilderness area in Missouri.

The proposal would almost double the amount of land in the state with that kind of federal protection.

But the proposal could still face significant hurdles.

The group must convince a member of the Missouri delegation to sponsor legislation.  And it is likely to face opposition from private landowners, riders of all-terrain vehicles, and the timber industry.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)