The Wilderness Act of 1964

Greg Burke   Website

Thanks to the Wilderness Act of 1964, future generations of Americans can experience the same landscapes that we have the opportunity to explore and enjoy today. ONDA campaigns to see qualified desert lands protected as wilderness.

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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  

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Bobcat

Bobcat

Found only in North America, where it is the most common wildcat, the bobcat takes its common name from its stubby, or “bobbed,” tail. The cats range in length from two to four feet and weigh 14 to 29 pounds. Bobcats mainly hunt rabbits and hares, but they will also eat rodents, birds, bats, and even adult deer.

Latin name: Lynx rufus fasciatus

 

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Badger

Badger

Badgers are generally nocturnal, but, in remote areas with no human encroachment, they are routinely observed foraging during the day. They prefer open areas with grasslands, which can include parklands, farms, and treeless areas with crumbly soil and a supply of rodent prey.

Badgers are born blind, furred, and helpless. Their eyes open at four to six weeks.

Latin name: Taxidea taxus

The Wilderness Act of 1964

With the 1964 passage of the Wilderness Act, Congress gave the American people a powerful tool to ensure that the most special places within our public lands system would remain in their undeveloped, natural condition for future generations to experience.

The purpose of the Wilderness Act is stated in its very first line: “To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people.”  

According to the Wilderness Act, wilderness is:

“…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,
where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

An area of wilderness is further defined as “an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions .”

Wilderness must have the following characteristics:
  • generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable
  • has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation
  • has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition
  • may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.
Read the full text of the Wilderness Act.