Wilderness at 50

Three Sisters WildernessOregon is a land of superlatives.

Some of Oregon's richest superlatives are found in the state's 48 designated Wilderness areas, made possible for the "gold standard" of protection by the passage of the of the National Wilderness Preservation System, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 3, 1964.

In 1974, ten years after the Wilderness Act became the law of the land, a coalition of Oregon conservation outlets and wilderness-monitoring organizations came together as the Oregon Wilderness Coalition, later changing their name to the Oregon Natural Resources Council.

In 2006 the Oregon Natural Resources Council opted to shorten their name to Oregon Wild - but the mission and dedication of the organization has remained the same for 40 years: to protect the wildlands, wildlife, and waters of Oregon.

Over the last 40 years Oregon Wild has made a lasting mark on its namesake state, helping establish the Hells Canyon and Wild Rogue wilderness areas in the mid-1970s, working against long odds (and a powerful timber industry) to pass the 1984 Oregon Wilderness Act, and securing a major victory for ancient forests with the establishment of the Opal Creek Wilderness in 1996.

In 2009, Oregon Wild and our partners celebrated the most recent Wilderness victory by expanding Wilderness protections around Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, as well as new protections for Soda Mountain, Copper Salmon, Badlands, and Spring Basin.

Celebrating two big anniversaries

Brown MountainNow, for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the 40th anniversary of Oregon Wild, we've got some big plans in store to celebrate Oregon's wilderness legacy and the wilderness projects we're working on today – and we want you to join us as we celebrate throughout 2014.

We'll have special wilderness hikes, wilderness-themed Wild Wednesday presentations, the return of our Oregon Wilderness Conference, and other events, outings and gatherings in some of the wildest areas of our superlative-worthy state.

Visit our Hikes and Events calendar to mark these special dates, and join us as we celebrate the special wildlands of Oregon all year long in 2014.

Wilderness Stories

We know each of you has a special connection to our Wilderness landscape that can be expressed in a variety of ways.

At our Wilderness Stories page, we're looking for stories about your favorite wilderness experiences.

You can share them with us via mail, e-mail, or through the Oregon Wild website, and a select few will be asked if they'd like to share their story in person as we collect video recollections of Oregon's wild places. Get more information at the Oregon Wild Wilderness Stories page.

Thanks for helping us keep Oregon Wild for 40 years. We've got plenty of work to do, and plenty to keep us busy - but four decades of conservation success is a legacy worth celebrating.

North Sister

JBJ signing Wilderness Act

Photos (top to bottom): Three Sisters Wilderness (Alan Hirschmugl); Brown Mountain Lava Flow (Susan Kenney Newman); North Sister (Tyler Deboodt); President Lyndon Johnson signs the Wilderness Act into law in the White House Rose Garden, September 3, 1964 (photo courtesy of the LBJ Library).