Home to wild rivers, old-growth forests and vibrant plant life, it’s no wonder that this landscape is also home to an abundance of Oregon’s wildlife, including many threatened and endangered species. From black bears, Roosevelt elk and pacific fishers to sandhill cranes, bald eagles and spotted owls, this area offers critical core habitat and migration corridors necessary for their survival.
What It Takes
As humans require more space and resources for our growing population, it can often comes in direct conflict with wildlife and their needs. Our wildlife depend on large swaths of land that serve both as core habitat and migration corridors. They need cold, clean rivers, large old trees, large dead trees, varied canopies and a diverse ecosystem that can accommodate all levels of the food chain.
There are many areas within the rich mosaic of the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal that support vibrant wildlife habitat. Places like Big Marsh are home to the largest known population of the threatened Oregon spotted frog, and the threatened sandhill crane. The small known population of the Oregon red fox requires high-altitude areas along the Cascades, while the imperiled native fisher requires dense, mature forests with plenty of downed logs for dens.
The varied and complex ecosystems within the Crater Lake region serve as an important refuge as wildlife continue to struggle and adapt to a warming climate. The Crater Lake Wilderness proposal would create a 90-mile long wildlife corridor, necessary for many species looking to move to regions further north and higher in elevation as our environment warms.
Welcoming Wolves Back to Southern Oregon
Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were once common in Oregon, occupying most of the state. However, a deliberate effort to eradicate the species was successful by the late 1940s. After an absence of over half a century, wolves began to take their first tentative steps towards recovery.
In 2011, a radio collared wolf known as OR-7 (also known as Journey) left his pack in NE Oregon and embarked on an epic journey, wandering over 1,000 miles southwest in search of a mate. OR-7 was the first known wolf to roam west of the Cascades since the last Oregon bounty was collected in 1947. Today, OR-7 and his pack reside near the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal, in part due to the suitable habitat this area provides. The pack had additional pups in the summer of 2016. This serves as a reminder this area will continue to serve as a refuge for threatened, endangered, as well as recovering species.