Keeping Crater Lake Wild

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May 9, 2016

By Bridget Callahan

Photo at right: Crater Lake Wild Week participants photograph Rough Rider Falls in Upper Rouge Canyon. Photo by Paul Burdick. Courtesy of Oregon Wild

 

Editor’s Note: What do many Northwest National Parks have in common that Crater Lake National Park does not? Designated Wilderness Protection.

Oregon Wild, Umpqua Watersheds, Crater Lake Institute, National Park Service and many other organizations are seeking Wilderness Protection for Crater Lake National Park with the help of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D).

This designation would create a 90-mile corridor that would preserve wildlife habitat, forest-lands, Crater Lake’s water clarity and annual visitor experience in and around the Park’s boundaries.

Oregon Wild, previously known as the Oregon Natural Resources Council, has spearheaded the citizen-led Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal and is launching its second annual Crater Lake Wild Week this spring.

We asked Bridget Callahan, now the former Oregon Wild Wilderness Campaign Coordinator, to tell us about this program, designed to inspire conservation and awareness.

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In July 2015, Oregon Wild staff and supporters hiked the mountains, lakes, and rivers in Crater Lake National Park. They meandered along wildflower meadows and traversed Cascadian cliffs.

Hikers were engulfed by massive old growth trees, they parted a sea of tree frogs, and even heard wild howls in the night.

The view atop Mount Scott at Crater Lake National Park was breathtaking. A gradual climb to 8,900 feet offered stunning vistas of mountain peaks and valleys for hundreds of miles. Dramatic 2,000-foot walls surrounded the iconic crater of deep blue water and the perfectly placed cone-shaped island inside.

This was part of a weeklong series of hikes last summer called Crater Lake Wild Week, hosted by statewide conservation group Oregon Wild.

The goal was to invite wilderness lovers around the west to discover and explore the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal, which encompasses the wildlands in and around the backcountry of the Crater Lake National Park. All of it magnificent, yet none of it preserved as Wilderness.

A controversial logging project looms around the corner, while off-roading, mining, and encroaching development keep nipping at the edges of this wild landscape.

The Crater Lake Wilderness proposal would ensure that 543,000 acres within and around the National Park stay healthy and wild.

Wilderness is the highest level of protection we can give our public lands— reserved for the truly spectacular landscapes, serving as a mecca for conservation and respectful recreation. It also safeguards special places from logging, mining and development. Oregon Wild and thousands of others are calling for Wilderness around the Crater Lake region today.

Crater Lake Wild Week dates for 2016 will be announced this spring. For more information, visit www.oregonwild.org. To sign the petition, go to tinyurl.com/craterlakewild

When Bridget’s not busy preserving wild land, she’s rafting, skiing, traveling, sampling Oregon wines, practicing yoga, or watching Portland Trailblazer basketball games with her dog Basil.

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