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News, notes, trip reports, and the lighter side (of the wilder side) of the Oregon environmental and conservation movement.
George Wuerthner argues the relationship between bark beetles and wildfire is overblown by agencies seeking to log western forests.
Author, environmentalist, and speaker George Wuerthner recently sent out a short NASA video about the alleged relationship and cause-and-effect between western forests killed by Bark Beetle infestation and wildfire, which is the premise upon which logging projects like the proposed D-Bug timber sale have been justified.
But the connection between beetle kill and wildfire, according to Wuerthner, is non-existent.
Located in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Mt. Stella offers some of the best, and most accessible, vantage points of Crater Lake and all of southern Oregon.
By Wendell Wood
Oregon Wild Wildlands Interpreter
Both roadless area hikes are easily accessible from Crater Lake Hwy. 230.
The Mt. Stella Roadless area, bordered along its east side by the upper Rogue River, provides a scenic backdrop for the Rogue Umpqua Scenic Highway, as well as the popular riverside Farewell Bend Campground (just a mile north of Union Creek).
Additionally, this roadless area is traversed near its eastern boundary by the Upper Rogue River Trail No. 1034, where the FS Rd. 6510 bridge (just off Hwy. 230) provides an easy access point to this side of the Rogue River and a roadless area trailhead to the southwest (downstream) to the Rogue Gorge Trail in 6.5 miles and Natural Bridge in seven miles.
Oregon Wild photo contest honorable mention, Ben Canales getting more ever more attention for an amazing Crater Lake image.
Ben Canales likes to take pictures of wild nature. And he likes to do it in the dark.
Well, not exactly the dark, but most certainly at night.
Over the last few years, Ben has been chasing the best starry night skies he can find, and capturing sometimes-eerie, sometimes-elegant, and always beautiful images of the world lit by starlight.
A hike to an off the beaten path spot in Oregon's only National Park - Plaikni Falls
Crater Lake superintendent Craig Ackerman officially opened a trail to a newly named waterfall this August as part of his plan to change the way people visit the national park.
“Crater Lake was designed as a motor park,” Ackerman complains. He wants to lure people out of their cars.
The new trail showcases a beauty spot that motorists circling the lake on the 33-mile Rim Drive would miss. Located to the southeast of the lake, the one-mile path ambles through a forest of old-growth mountain hemlock to a wildflower glen at 20-foot Plaikni Falls. The route is easy enough even for visitors with strollers or wheelchairs.
Weather and wildlife at Oregon's only National Park.
Earlier this week a friend and I traveled through some driving July rain as we climbed up Hwy 62 towards the rim of Crater Lake.
The unseasonable cold and unwelcome precipitation made us both wonder why the weather has been so strange this year. I don't claim to know if it linked to global climate change or not, but scientists say that more extreme weather patterns are certainly expected as global warming continues to grip the planet.
When we reached the rim and walked out towards the edge, the ominous clouds in front of us had us thinking that we chose the wrong day to venture to a spot where the views were all at least 1,000 feet away. Sure enough, a layer of mist sat like an ice cream scoop in the caldera and prevented all but the slightest glimpse of the pristine lake below.
The funky weather (more specifically, global climate change) isn't just affecting the view at Crate Lake. It's taking a toll on the wildlife that call the area home.
Two species are a case in point - the American Pika and the Whitebark Pine.
Connecting the dots between cheesheads, clearcuts, and Crater Lake? You betcha!
About 5 years ago I participated in Bend’s annual Pole, Pedal, Paddle competition with a team of (then) fellow OMSI outdoor educators. We didn’t place very high in the standings, but we had a great time. Part of the fun of the event was seeing all the costumes folks showed up in. While waiting for the canoe portion of the race to start, I spotted a guy sporting a what I considered to be a very handsome cheesehead.
Having both just emigrated from Wisconsin, we took some time to discuss Brett Favre (he was once a Packer), salmon fishing (salmon were transplanted into the great lakes from the Pacific), and our new home. We remarked that Wisconsin – like Oregon – is a state that prides itself on its outdoor culture and taught us both to appreciate the outdoors.
For both of us, coming to Oregon was like spending 25 years on the playground and then finally getting to go to Great America.
(Continue past the break to read more and be sure to join us at our next Wild Wednesday.)
Two news hits - one weird, one wonderful.
All of the hard work down at Oregon State University trying to help us all wrap our brains around the impacts and causes of climate change is paying off.
You've seen us mention the work of Mark Harmon, Olga Krankina, and Beverly Law before and now that group of folks is part of a university that will host one of eight "Climate Science Centers" across the nation.
From our perspective, hosting an institution devoted to adapting to and fighting climate change in the heart of Oregon's old-growth forests makes sense. Deforestation contributes about 20% of the earth's global carbon pollution and continues to be a major factor driving global climate change. Additionally, as our Climate Control report shows, Northwest forests store carbon more effectively than any other terrestrial ecosystem. That's a fancy way of saying our mature and old-growth forests (if we keep them standing) can have a huge impact in mitigating climate change.
See below the jump for Governor Ted Kulongoski's comments on the new center and news of a much weirder variety.
A preview for Roadless Recreation Week - Mount Bailey summit.
I'm not much of a mountain climber. But I set myself the goal of summiting one of the Oregon Cascade's peaks this year and picked one of the most accessible - Mount Bailey - to lead an Oregon Wild hike to.
This mountain has always appealed to me, with it's humble rounded summit - as opposed to Mt. Thielsen's pointy pinnacle standing out across Diamond Lake. It's a 10-mile round trip hike, with 3000 feet of elevation gain, which seemed doable on paper.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explores options for protecting this unique high-elevation species
If you're looking to find the tallest spot in Crater Lake National Park, you'll see some. Where you hear the call of a Clark's nutcracker, look around and you're likely to spot one. Hiking to timberline in the Cascade Range and this tree just might mark the spot.
That was the news this week when the federal government announced (in response to a 2008 petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council) that it would investigate whether the pine deserves to be place under the protections of the Endangered Species Act.
Senator Wyden takes steps to protect Crater Lake.
Crater Lake is one of Oregon's most prized natural treasures, and this week Senator Ron Wyden took an important step toward increasing protections for the park.
Unfortunately there is never a shortage of bad ideas to degrade our natural treasures, and Crater Lake is no exception. Senator Wyden has introduced an amendment that will help prevent helicopter flights from buzzing around the rim of Crater Lake.
You would think that when our public lands are protected as National
Parks that they are sufficiently protected. As it stands right now the
FAA and the National Park Service both have some say over whether
helicopters and commercial air tours can buzz around our national
parks. The amendment that Senator Wyden has introduced would change
that dynamic by clarifying that the Park Service can stop this noise
pollution if they determine it would degrade the visitors experience.
This is an important step forward, but at the end of the day, only
Wilderness protection will truly protect the experience at Crater Lake.
Wilderness designation is the gold standard for our public lands.
Thank you Senator Wyden for taking this important first step toward protecting Crater Lake.