Destructive Motorized Use

The wildlands surrounding Crater lake are a mecca for outdoor recreation enthusiasts and tourists. Anglers, hikers, hunters, climbers, wildlife watchers, skiers, and more flock to the area for its unique values and pristine landscapes. Whether cross-country skiing along the crater rim or gazing across Diamond Lake from the summit of Mount Bailey, the area offers the best of the Oregon outdoors experience.


The aftermath of mud bogging in our forest lands. Photo by Francis Eatherington.

Unfortunately, despite abundant and more appropriate opportunities nearby, destructive motorized recreation is leaving a mark on this unique landscape. Illegal off-road vehicle (ORV), snowmobile and bike trails cause erosion, introduce invasive species, reduce the quality of wildlife habitat, and degrade the experience for quiet recreation.

There are roughly 4,000 miles of trail open to motorized use in the Umpqua National Forest alone. That’s the equivalent of driving from Oregon to Texas and back. Far and away, the largest population of visitors who come to enjoy these forest lands come for quiet recreation, such as fishing, kayaking, wildlife watching and hiking. This proposal would ensure that we strike a common sense balance to preserve the diminishing backcountry habitats.

As Oregon continues to grow, opportunities for solitude and quiet recreation dwindle. The Crater Lake Wilderness proposal would protect one of the last best unprotected strongholds for Oregonians to connect with the backcountry without the buzz of chainsaws, the thump of helicopters, and the choking blue smoke of snowmobiles and ATV’s.