Enjoying Wilderness Areas

Greg Burke   Website

“Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.” – Chief Si’ahl

fact

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia  

watch

Julie Weikel on Wilderness

Julie Weikel on Wilderness

voices

Cregg Large, member since 2009

Cregg Large, member since 2009

“I came to Oregon 12 years ago from Texas. Texas, for all its size, has very little public land. Coming to Oregon has made me realize the special gift we as Americans have in our public lands. Volunteering with an organization like ONDA is my way of reciprocating for this gift. Through restoration efforts, I feel we are helping leave a better place than we found it. Through advocating for protection for public lands, we safeguard migration routes for animals and keep the land where it belongs: with the public.”

What Can I Do In A Wilderness Area?

The Wilderness Act lays out the ground rules intended to preserve the experience of visiting wild places.

There are several exceptions to these rules that help protect safety and allow traditional activities to continue. For example, although motorized vehicles are generally prohibited in wilderness, firefighters can use bulldozers, trucks, chainsaws, or other motorized tools to put out a fire if it is threatening homes outside of the wilderness area.

Examples of activities that are allowed in Wilderness Areas:

  • “Primitive recreation” activities, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting
  • Educational and scientific study
  • Use of a wheelchair
  • Existing livestock grazing and the exercise of other “valid existing rights,” including water rights and mineral rights
  • Fire suppression where necessary to protect human safety and property both within the wilderness area and outside its borders
  • Use of motorized vehicles when necessary to ensure the health and safety of people and livestock, such as in search and rescue operations or for fire suppression

Examples of activities that are not allowed in Wilderness Areas:

  • Recreational activities that require a motorized/mechanized vehicle, such as off-highway vehicles, motorbikes, mountain bikes, snowmobiles, and motorboats
  • Construction of new structures or roads
  • Energy exploration and development
  • Landing aircraft, except during emergencies
  • Commercial enterprise, excluding guide services whose purpose is to help wilderness users enjoy legal recreational activities

For additional guidance, refer to the principles of Leave No Trace.