Enjoying Wilderness Areas

Greg Burke   Website

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

voices

Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva, ODT thru-hiker 2017

Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva, ODT thru-hiker 2017

“To me, it’s a thru-hike in an isolated place that promotes a conversation in land management, ethics and usage. Hiking across a vast and remote landscape and having a random and chance encounter with cowboys and hunters to discuss how ‘all of us’ should treat the land, how we all have a responsibility, no matter our political leanings, really showed me the pulse of the people in rural areas, especially here out west.”

voices

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

“I connect with Oregon’s high desert through my feet, my eyes, my sense of smell, and all the things I hear. Getting out there is a whole body experience.” Supporting ONDA, Helen says, not only connects her with wild landscapes, but is also a good investment. “I felt like if I gave them $20, they might squeeze $23 out of it.”

fact

Swallowtail

Swallowtail

The Oregon Swallowtail butterfly is the official state insect of Oregon and a true native of the Pacific Northwest. The Swallowtail can be seen in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage area.  Source: State Symbols USA

Latin name: Papilio oregonius

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.