Why Wilderness

Crater Lake is one of Oregon’s crown jewels, but the wildlands within and surrounding the National Park are not immune to threats. Logging, off-road vehicles, and reckless development schemes that would deprive visitors of the solitude these wildlands provide continue to put the area at risk.


The expansive rim. Photo by Adam Jewell

4%Wilderness is the gold standard for protecting public lands, reserved for the remaining wild, roadless lands left. And while Oregon has protected some worthy landscapes such as the Eagle Caps, Three Sisters and Opal Creek, our state has fallen far behind neighboring states when it comes to Wilderness protection, with only 4% of Oregon designated. California has a whopping 15% protected, Washington is at 10% and Idaho has protected over 8% of their state as Wilderness.N.Umpqua_KenMorrish2

Wilderness would ensure these wildlands provide us with clean drinking water, wildlife habitat and quiet recreation for generations to come. This designation would mean the crown of the Cascades would be protected from logging, mining and development, while continuing to offer world class recreation like hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing and wildlife watching. Wilderness areas are meccas for back country adventures, in turn fueling local gateway communities and ensuring long term, sustainable economies.


Fly fishing on the North Umpqua. Photo by Ken Morrish

With a growing population and increased stress on resources, it’s critical to preserve these natural treasures before they are lost. The last hundred years has seen continued pressure on this region, with many threats being thwarted by those who had the vision and foresight to preserve Crater Lake in its natural state. But the torch has been passed to present day Oregonians, and the time to permanently protect this treasure is now.

The eruption of Mount Mazama gave us the gift that is Crater Lake. Today, it is incumbent upon this generation of Oregonians to pass this natural legacy on to future generations unspoiled. Find out more about the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal.