The Oregon Wild Adopt-a-Wilderness program brings Oregonians closer to the land they love and builds local constituencies for protection of wilderness areas. The program also collects valuable on- the-ground data from volunteers to update maps and builds the foundation for a citizen’s wilderness proposal.
Here’s how it works:
- Citizens pick a favorite area that needs protection. Sometimes individuals adopt an area, but often times a group adopts an area. In both Portland and Ashland, church groups have adopted their local favorite areas.
- Adopters are given packets containing maps regarding their area.
- Adopters hike through their area, taking pictures and recording information about the value of the place, the plants and wildlife, the scenery, the hiking trails and other points of interest. They also record threats to the area such as proposed logging and road building, mining, overgrazing or overuse by recreationists.
- Adopters then verify the boundary of their adopted area, reviewing all the existing logging roads forming its perimeter and adding information about new roads and logged tracts that might not be on the maps.
- The information gathered by wilderness adopters helps strengthen a citizen proposal for wilderness protection throughout Oregon. Additionally, adopters can also help build a base of support for wilderness protection throughout Oregon by offering hikes, giving slide shows, setting up displays at local community events and contacting local officials about the need to protect the area.
Over the last several years more 500 individuals have adopted 378 roadless areas to serve as mappers, monitors, and advocates until their areas receive formal wilderness protection from Congress. Hundreds of other people have attended trainings, campouts and hikes, finding a new appreciation for the special character of Oregon’s forested wild lands.
To sign up or get more information about the program, call Erik at (503) 283-6343 ext 202 or email: ef (at) oregonwild.org.