The Oregon Wildlands Act

The Oregon Wildlands Act, cosponsored by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, would protect the natural heritage of some of our state’s most treasured landscapes and incredible waterways, including the spectacular Wild Rogue Wilderness. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Wyden, this important legislation is at the precipice of becoming law in January 2019.

Unfortunately, last minute efforts by Congressman Greg Walden to sabotage Wilderness for the Rogue (which isn’t even in his district!) as well as opposition from a single anti-public lands Senator from Utah, ran out the clock on the 2018 Congress. Congressional leadership has committed to a vote on a public lands package in January 2019, and we need to make sure the full Wildlands Act--including the Wild Rogue--is part of it!

The Oregon Wildlands Act includes (map):

60,000-acre Wild Rogue Wilderness additions
30,000-acre Devil’s Staircase Wilderness
30,000-acre Molalla River Recreation Area
98,000-acre Rogue River National Recreation Area
256 miles of Wild and Scenic River protections for the Nestucca, Molalla, Elk and Chetco Rivers, among others

Learn more about parts of the Oregon Wildlands Act.

The Wild Rogue
The proposed Wild Rogue Wilderness is one of Oregon’s most pristine, scenic, and beloved landscapes. Located in Southern Oregon and nestled in the Siskiyou Mountain Range, the Wild Rogue area is home to the famous Rogue River. As one of the state’s premier recreational destinations, tens of thousands of visitors visit the area every year and contribute millions of dollars to the local economy. The Wild Rogue also provides important salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat, providing the backbone for one of Oregon’s most important sport and commercial fisheries. Rogue River recreation accounts for 445 jobs and serves as an economic engine for a region that is transitioning into a more sustainable economy. 

Unfortunately, logging interests have their eye on the ancient forests of the Wild Rogue. Led by a revolving door lobbyist for the American Forest Resources Council, timber companies have brought the underhanded games of the DC “swamp” to Oregon. They have not only broken an agreement that would have protected the Wild Rogue, but have advocated for legislation that would strip existing Wilderness designations all across western Oregon. With the Wild Rogue in the crosshairs, it needs protection now more than ever!

Learn more about the Wild Rogue 

The Devil’s Staircase
Deep in the heart of Oregon's coastal rainforest, nestled between the Smith and Umpqua rivers, lies the proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness. This is a place so remote and inaccessible it has escaped the chainsaws which have decimated so much of the old-growth forests in the Coast Range in the last century.

In fact, this area is so remote, that the wilderness proposal (see map in pdf) derives its name from a rarely seen, almost mythical waterfall called "The Devil's Staircase." This series of cascading pools is buried deep in the heart of the Wassen Creek watershed and can take more than a day's trek to get there (if you can find it)!

Learn more about The Devil’s Staircase

Wild Molalla River
The Molalla River Recreation Corridor is well known for its hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, swimming, picnicking, nature watching, or simply enjoying the sounds of the River. There are more than 30 miles of non-motorized trails which access numerous waterfalls and vistas.

The Molalla River itself provides essential clean drinking water to the cities of Molalla and Canby. The river also supports an abundance of wildlife including native winter steelhead and salmon runs, geological wonders and a wide range of recreational opportunities.

Oregon Wild is working with the Molalla River Alliance to protect the Wild and Scenic Molalla River for future generations to enjoy as we do today. The Alliance is comprised of 45 partners ranging from the Oregon State Police to Molalla River Anglers to the City of Molalla.

Learn more about the Wild Molalla

Kelsey Creek, which flows through the proposed Wild Rogue Wilderness, by Greg Burke