Oregon Wilderness at the Library 11-May-2019

Earlier this year, Kevin Mittge, the Adult Services Librarian at the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence, Oregon contacted us about doing a library program on our visits to all of Oregon’s wilderness areas. We were already planning some hikes on the Oregon Coast, so we said we’d love to do a talk. We agreed on a date in May and the coastal weather cooperated by not raining on our hikes or on our talk. We dedicated the talk to Judge John B. Waldo, the first Oregon Supreme Court chief justice born in the state and a vigorous proponent of forest conservation in the Cascade Range. But then, between the invitation and the talk, Congress designated another wilderness area in Oregon: Devil’s Staircase. We managed a drive-by of this truly wild wilderness in 2020. 🙂

Wilderness exists just to be wild, irrespective of human needs or wants. So the primary “human” purpose for these wilderness areas is to protect a watershed or a threatened and endangered species or a terrestrial habitat or a fish habitat or all of the above. They were NOT created simply for our hiking pleasure. This is particularly true of the smaller, less visited areas, many of which have few or no trails and in which cross-country travel opportunities vary from good to heroically (verging on impossibly) difficult. So in our talk, we listed all the wilderness areas but focused on some (but not all) with reasonable hiking possibilities. We also included three proposed wilderness areas because we’ve hiked in them and believe they deserve formal designation too!

Our assignment of groupings to Oregon’s wilderness areas
The areas we talked about are shown in red
Badger Creek Wilderness (Mount Hood from Gunsight Butte, 2014)
Bull of the Woods Wilderness (Mount Jefferson from the fire lookout, 2014)
Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness (Rainy Lake at dawn, 2010)
Mount Hood Wilderness (Mount Hood from Yocum Ridge, 2014)
Mount Hood Wilderness (Descending from the summit, 1996)
Mount Jefferson Wilderness (Mount Jefferson from Olallie Butte, 2011)
Mount Washington Wilderness (Climbing Washington’s north ridge, 1998)
Three Sisters Wilderness (South Sister from Chambers Lakes, 2015)
Three Sisters Wilderness (Middle Sister from Chambers Lakes, 2015)
Waldo Lake Wilderness (Waldo Lake, 2016)
We also talked about proposed wilderness area (shown in green *)
Eagle Cap Wilderness (Matterhorn, 2016)
Eagle Cap Wilderness (Sacajawea Peak, 2016)
Eagle Cap Wilderness (Ice Lake and Matterhorn, 2013)
Eagle Cap Wilderness (Mirror Lake and Eagle Cap, 2016)
Gearhart Wilderness (The Dome, 2009)
Hells Canyon Wilderness (Snake River, 2016)
Monument Rock Wilderness (Table Rock Fire Lookout, 2016)
Oregon Badlands Wilderness (Along the Tumulus Trail, 2016)
Spring Basin Wilderness (Horse Mountain, 2016)
Spring Basin Wilderness (Cactus flower, 2016)
Owyhee Canyonlands – proposed (Chalk Basin, 2019)
Owyhee Canyonlands – proposed (Pruitt’s Castle at sunrise, 2019)
Strawberry Mountain Wilderness (Strawberry Lake, 2010)
Strawberry Mountain Wilderness (Strawberry Mountain, 2010)
Steens Mountain Wilderness (Snow storm over the mountain, 2015)
Steens Mountain Wilderness (Fish Lake, 2015)
Steens Mountain Wilderness (Little Blitzen Canyon, 2015)
Boulder Creek Wilderness (Pine Bench, 2016)
Crater Lake – proposed (Cowhorn Mountain, 2017)
Diamond Peak Wilderness (Diamond Peak from Mount Yoran, 2016)
Mount Thielsen Wilderness (Mounts Howlock and Thielsen from Tipsoo Peak, 2015)
Mount Thielsen Wilderness (Cottonwood Creek Basin, 2016)
Mount Thielsen Wilderness (Climbing Thielsen, 1998)
Mountain Lakes Wilderness (Mount McLoughlin from Aspen Butte, 2016)
Red Buttes Wilderness (Sucker Creek Shelter, 2015)
Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness (Fish Lake and Highrock Mountain, 2015)
Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness (Highrock Mountain from the divide, 2015)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Devils Peak over Cliff Lake, 2018)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Lake Alta, 2018)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Island Lake, 2015)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Judge Waldo Tree at Island Lake, 2015)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Squaw Lake, 2015)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Mount McLoughlin from Roxy Ann Peak, 2014)
Sky Lakes Wilderness (Summit of Mount McLoughlin, 2017)
Soda Mountain Wilderness (Mount McLoughlin from the summit of Pilot Rock, 2015)
Soda Mountain Wilderness (Meadow at the old Box O Ranch, 2018)
Soda Mountain Wilderness (Jenny Creek, 2018)
Cummings Creek Wilderness (Cummings Ridge Trail, 2016)
Drift Creek Wilderness (Harris Ranch Trail, 2016)
Kalmiopsis Wilderness (Wellington Butte and Eagle Mountain, 2015)
Kalmiopsis Wilderness (Illinois River at Silver Creek, 2016)
Wild Rogue Expansion – proposed (Rogue River Trail, 2015)
Wild Rogue Wilderness (Hanging Rock, 2017)

6 thoughts on “Oregon Wilderness at the Library 11-May-2019

Add yours

  1. Thanks again for the invite! We figured some in the audience would want to revisit some of the photos as they thought about where to hike next. 🙂 Hence our posting of our presentation.


  2. Bruce – thanks for coming to the Siuslaw Public Library! Our patrons loved the program and your beautiful photos. Some had asked about the list of wilderness areas that you talked about so I appreciate you including it all here! Kevin


  3. Excellent post! Thank you for pointing out the purpose of Wilderness, it seems too many people don’t realize that recreation takes a back seat to its other tenets.


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