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Famous Wolf Taking a Wilderness Tour Through Oregon and California

In travels, Journey (OR-7) shows a preference for protected and proposed wilderness areas

Portland, OR Feb 27, 2012

 

Journey, the world’s most famous wolf, has covered well over 1,000 miles in his trek from northeast Oregon, across the Cascades, and down into northern California in search of a mate. What has he seen along the way? A new map-based analysis released today by a coalition of conservation groups shows that Journey (also know as OR-7) has migrated through a variety of terrain, but often sticks to undeveloped wilderness areas. He is also spending the majority of his time on public lands.

“Who knew that wolves carried guide books to wilderness areas?” mused Erik Fernandez, Wilderness Coordinator with Oregon Wild. “In all seriousness, it’s thrilling to see that the proposed Crater Lake wilderness and other important wildlife corridors identified by scientists are being used on this amazing journey.”

Journey’s trek started when he dispersed from the Imnaha Wolf Pack in northeast Oregon. This original home territory represents one of the wildest landscapes in Oregon, the Hells Canyon and Wallowa Mountains area. Click here for a map of Journey's adventure.

From there OR-7 ventured through roadless and wilderness areas in the Malheur region before passing through undeveloped stretches of Oregon’s high desert. He then settled temporarily in the south Cascades in the proposed Crater Lake wilderness area. Once the snow began to fall he headed south into California where he padded through Lava Beds National Monument and other wildlands and roadless areas just east of Mount Shasta. Journey then headed south toward the southern terminus of the Cascades near Lassen Volcanic National Park. Since entering California he has traveled through, or very close to, eleven existing or proposed wilderness areas.

Wilderness highlights from Journey’s trek:

  • Eagle Cap Wilderness: Journey spent his earliest days in this 359,000-acre natural treasure that is Oregon’s largest designated wilderness.
  • Proposed Hidden Springs Wilderness: Journey toured the Hidden Springs Proposed wilderness near Hampton Butte and the Crooked River.
  • Proposed Crater Lake Wilderness: Journey spent a fair amount of time near Crater Lake, and utilized the wildlife corridors identified by scientists leading into and out of the park on his trip. The backcountry of the park and undeveloped areas adjacent to the park are proposed for wilderness designation.
  • Proposed Captain Jack Wilderness: Journey passed through this 62,000-acre proposed wilderness in Lava Beds National Monument and the Modoc National Forest that is named in honor of a leader of the Modoc Tribe.
  • Proposed Ahjumawi Wilderness: Journey passed through this 58,000-acre proposed wilderness that is jointly managed by the Lassen National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is dominated by a series of dramatic lava flows.
  • Proposed McDonald Peak Wilderness: Journey spent several days on the flanks of McDonald Peak in Lassen County, a Great Basin wild area managed by the BLM.

Oregon Natural Desert Association’s Matt Little noted that "Journey's path is a reminder that wolves and people alike need the wide open spaces that wilderness provides.  Both wildlife and future generations are relying on us to ensure that these wild and awe-inspiring places are there for decades to come."

Ryan Henson from the California Wilderness Coalition observed that "After watching Journey trek through Lassen Volcanic National Park and other wild places, it is clear that these protected areas aren’t just playgrounds for people. The amazing trek of this wandering wolf shows us just how important it is to safeguard special places so that wildlife have a place to call home – and a place to explore."

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