Oregon and the 1964 Wilderness Act
Wild, pristine wilderness areas are a precious - and unfortunately, endangered - part of Oregon's natural heritage. Wilderness may be an intact forest ecosystem. It may be a vast landscape of desert sagebrush and lava rock, or a marshy wetland vital to the life cycle and survival of numerous animal species.
MOST RECENT UPDATES:
(6.20.13) Wilderness protection for Devil's Staircase passes out of the US Senate unanimously. Press release.
(6.18.13) Legislation to protect the Wild Rogue, Molalla River, Cathedral Rock, Horse Heaven, and the Chetco River passed out of committee in the Senate today. This was a very important hurdle, next step is a vote by the full senate. Press release.
Wild, pristine wilderness areas are a precious — and unfortunately, endangered — part of Oregon's natural heritage.
Wilderness may be an intact forest ecosystem. It may be a vast landscape of desert sagebrush and lava rock, or a marshy wetland vital to the life cycle and survival of numerous plants and animal.
Wilderness is simply an area where nature is left to find its own path, without interference from logging, roads and dams.
Oregon's pristine forest wilderness areas provide the purest habitat for salmon and are home to many rare and endangered animal and plant species.
These areas serve as a critical anchor for biological diversity and are the source of clean drinking water for many Oregonians. When protected, they also offer an enduring legacy of wilderness recreational activities and adventure.
On September 3rd, 1964 Congress passed the Wilderness Act to protect the unspoiled character of these wild areas in Oregon and across the United States. Wilderness designation preserves the public's ability to enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, whitewater boating, horseback riding, hunting and fishing in these natural areas, while protecting land and the plants and animals that live there from destructive logging, mining, road building and other forms of development.
Most recently in 2009, some 202,000 acres of Wilderness were designated in Oregon, including 127,000 acres around Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.
Hard as it may be to believe, only four percent of Oregon is currently protected as Wilderness. Approximately five million additional acres of roadless natural areas remain suitable for wilderness designation, but are currently unprotected from logging, road-building, mining, and other human development. Oregon Wild believes Congress should designate these remaining areas as Wilderness.
As leaders of the statewide Wilderness coalition, we seek permanent protection for Oregon's forested roadless areas 1,000 acres and larger. We also work to provide ecosystem restoration of public lands adjacent to core wilderness areas in order to heal damaged watersheds.
Follow these links to find out more about what Oregon Wild is working to protect:
Crater Lake Wilderness Campaign
Devil's Staircase Wilderness Campaign
Wild Rogue Wilderness Campaign
Mount Hood - Unfinished Business Wilderness Campaign
Siskiyou Wild Rivers Wilderness Campaign
Purple = Wilderness protected in 2009
Dark Green = Wilderness protected pre-2009
Click here to download the KMZ file and even more viewing options with Google Earth.
Wilderness photo credits, from top to bottom: Cheryl Hill (Mount Jefferson);
Leslie Logan (Roaring River); Wendell Wood (Bald Mountain); Sky Montana