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. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Wyden, this important legislation passed the US Senate in Feb 2019 with a 92-8 bipartisan vote.
Unfortunately, last minute efforts by Congressman Greg Walden sabotaged the part of the bill that included the Wild Rogue Wilderness (which isn’t even in his district!). Fortunately Senators Wyden and Merkley have committed to seeing those protections through. Also dropped from the bill were the Rogue River and Molalla River Recreation Area designations.
The Oregon Wildlands Act includes (map):
30,000-acre Devil’s Staircase Wilderness
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!
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)!
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.