FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At Summer’s Last Outdoors Hurrah, a Cautionary Note
Group releases 10 Most Endangered Places in Oregon for 2009
Report highlights ten pristine areas threatened by harmful development and what citizens can do to help prevent the destruction of Oregon's last wild places.
Crater Lake Wildlands top the list of the 10 Most Endangered Places in Oregon in 2009 (photo by Justin Lee)
As Oregonians head into the outdoors for their last summer hiking, fishing, and camping trips this Labor Day weekend, Oregon’s oldest conservation group is launching an important new report highlighting threats to some of the state’s most precious wild lands. In their report, Oregon’s 10 Most Endangered Places 2009, non-profit conservation organization Oregon Wild explores some of the state’s most pristine and spectacular areas, as well as the threats they face from mining, logging, and energy development.
Topping the list is Crater Lake National Park and the surrounding wildlands, threatened by a proposal for noisy and disruptive helicopter flights and a proposal to log in pristine roadless areas and the Oregon Cascades Recreation Area along its borders.
“Labor Day hiking, fishing, and camping trips are as much a part of being an Oregonian as rain jackets and coffee shops” noted Steve Pedery, conservation director with Oregon Wild. “We hope that the report we are releasing today will serve as a reminder that as we head out to enjoy Oregon’s natural beauty, we all have an obligation to help protect it.”
Threats to Oregon’s only National Park at Crater Lake emerged over the summer as a Bend-based helicopter company filed for permits to fly tours over the park. The helicopter proposal garnered additional attention when Senator Ron Wyden grilled the nominee to head the National Park Service about the flights during a Congressional hearing in July.
In addition, a massive timber sale project on the doorstep of Crater Lake National Park is currently in the planning process. The proposed D-Bug sale includes almost 1,000 acres of logging in roadless forests and nationally designated recreation areas, a total of 25 miles of road building, and the conversion of the area’s only dedicated skiing trail to a logging road. The sale is moving forward despite the recent ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed the legality of the 2001 Roadless Rule.
“Today, more than ever, Oregonians understand the value of safeguarding our last roadless wild areas for clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and a legacy for future generations,” added Rob Klavins, who toured the proposed logging project in May. “The forests that surround Crater Lake, Mount Bailey, and Mount Thielsen are special places where logging is just not appropriate.”
Coming in as the second most endangered place on the list is the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge System. Host to hundreds of thousands of migrating birds every year, the refuges have long been threatened by lack of water, commercial agriculture, and heavy pesticide use. A proposed water settlement currently under negotiation could lead to the continued degradation of these national treasures.
Rounding out the top ten are:
- Oregon’s Yellowstone—the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area threatened by mining and in need of Wilderness protection;
- the Clackamas River Watershed endangered by construction of a massive pipeline that would clear-cut a strip through Mount Hood National Forest;
- Wallowa-Whitman National Forest suffering from excessive livestock grazing and plans to allow far too much noisy and polluting ORV use;
- Steens Mountain where ill-sited wind energy development projects threaten unique vistas;
- Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area also threatened by unnecessary and ecologically damaging ORV use;
- Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests abused by a reckless decision to increase logging on an already battered landscape;
- Lookout Mountain where fire suppression and livestock grazing have put old-growth forests at risk;
- and The Wild Rogue River at risk from logging and water quality degradation
“Oregon is blessed to have some of the most spectacular wild areas found anywhere in the country,” concluded Pedery. “From hiking to fly fishing, and from whitewater raft to bird watching, they are a vital part of what makes our state such a special place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“We hope this report serves as inspiration for people to take action to protect the lands they love.”
View a full PDF of the report here.