Three Cheers for Roadless!
Oregon and other states across the nation are celebrating roadless recreation this week.
Get ready. It’s almost here- Roadless Recreation Week is August 7-15th. The national event celebrates the 58.5 million acres of roadless areas protected by the 2001 Roadless Rule.
Oregon is blessed with nearly 2 million acres of roadless wildlands including Olallie Lakes, Mt. Bailey, Metolius Breaks, and the Imnaha – home to one of Oregon’s two confirmed wolf packs. These remaining pristine wildlands are important sources for clean drinking water, habitat for endangered fish and wildlife, and of course the amazing recreation opportunities for which Oregon is so well known.
It may not be what timber or mining industry lobbyists want to hear, but protecting what remains of our pristine backcountry provides sustainable jobs and economic benefits. Even during a recession, Outdoor enthusiasts continue to bring their business to outdoor businesses like Columbia, KEEN, Patagonia, Osprey, Rough Wear, and REI. People don’t buy hiking boots to go hike clearcuts or check out the local suction dredge operation. According to a recent article in The Salt Lake Tribune,
“The outdoor industry contributes over $730 billion to the U.S. economy, supports 6.5 million jobs and generates about $88 billion in state and national tax revenue.”
It’s not all about dollars and cents, though. Perhaps the most relevant boon of roadless areas right now is something that most Oregonians are pretty crazy about: Outdoor recreation.
Whether it’s hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, photography or even just picnicking, most Oregonians have a passion for the outdoors. Maybe it’s for that reason that Oregon has always led the charge to protect roadless areas here and across the country. To honor our passion and commitment, Governor Kulongoski has officially declared August 7th-15th as Roadless Recreation Week in Oregon.
With a statewide holiday coming up, there’s no reason not to lace up your hiking boots, slather on some sunscreen and hit the trails to celebrate Oregon’s outstanding roadless wildlands!