BEND, Ore. (AP) — A proposed wilderness encircling Oregon’s Painted Hills has the backing of local leaders.

The Bulletin newspaper reports the Wheeler County Court and the city of Mitchell support the plan for the Sutton Mountain Wilderness. The Bend-based Oregon Natural Desert Association is now trying to win over the state’s congressional delegation.

The federal designation of a wilderness requires an act of Congress and approval by the president.

The planned Sutton Mountain Wilderness would cover nearly 60,000 acres around and in the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

The Bureau of Land Management currently oversees the land.

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