WASHINGTON — The House has approved a bill to create federal wilderness protection for 13,000 acres of national forest along Oregon's southern coast.

The new Copper Salmon Wilderness was approved today on a voice vote. The bill would protect nearly 13,000 acres of forest and streams at the headwaters of the Elk River near Port Orford.

The proposed wilderness, in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, is considered one of the best habitats on the West Coast for chinook salmon, winter steelhead, coho salmon, cutthroat trout and rainbow trout.

Rep. Peter DeFazio calls Copper Salmon a "coastal Oregon gem" that deserves protection for future generations.

A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

— The Associated Press