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Bill expanding Oregon Caves on verge of approval

By JEFF BARNARD

Of the Associated Press

GRANTS PASS — Decades of efforts to expand the Oregon Caves National Monument to protect water quality and reduce wildfire danger are on the verge of paying off.

A bill expanding the boundary of the southwestern Oregon monument to include its watershed has been attached to a defense spending bill virtually assured of passing the House and Senate in coming days.

Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio said Thursday one of his first projects after being elected to Congress in 1986 was trying to get the U.S. Forest Service to cede land around the monument to the National Park Service, and when that didn't work, to pass legislation.

The bill includes designation of the River Styx running through the caves as the nation's first underground wild and scenic river.

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