Umpqua Watersheds Blog

News, Wilderness

Susan Applegate and Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal

Published February 22nd, 2020 in News, Wilderness

Crater Lake is an Oregon icon and our only National Park. The wildlife it supports, the clean water it provides and the amazing outdoor recreational opportunities it offers is unique and deserving of protection. It’s also an economic engine for the region that attracts businesses seeking environmental amenities for their employees.

The Douglas County Commissioners have denounced the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal as having no civic or social value. They are wrong.

This wilderness proposal enhances protections for the Umpqua River system and its profoundly important fisheries. Sports fishing and river guide services bring money into our area. As study after study has shown, wilderness helps local economies as people increasingly seek out natural wild adventures. Protecting some of this rich diversity of outdoor experiences is prudent.

While a logging project here or there might seem by itself benign, incrementally over time and forest-wide these human designed projects — whether roads, logging projects or rock excavation — accumulate leaving the special places once so loved and admired transformed into something quite different. Wilderness designated areas promise the only changes will be performed by nature, leaving us to witness these natural transformations over time. Wilderness is for people. It is not designed to keep people out, but to invite them in to experience the wild essence of a place.

The need to limit land-altering activities in order to keep what is wild and special has been the impetus behind the establishment of wilderness legislation. Crater Lake sits at the top of the Cascades’ spine. Not far from the National Park bubble up the beginnings of what become the Umpqua, Rogue, Klamath, Deschutes and Willamette River systems. Including these valuable headwater sources in the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal protect the pristine character of the river headwaters and the fish runs they host. If Congressionally designated, Crater Lake National Park would join numerous other National Parks that have their backcountry landscape managed under wilderness status into perpetuity.

The roadless areas included in this proposal, both in and adjacent to the park, are the last vestiges of a wild landscape that once blanketed the southern Cascade mountains. As seen from the air their deeper green, a testimonial to their age, identifies them as separate from industrial clear cut lands.


This was also published in the local paper:


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