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New Wild and Scenic Rivers Proposed for Oregon

Posted: 04/01/2008
by Thomas O'Keefe

Today Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced their plan for increasing Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon this year. Their vision includes adding approximately 132,000 acres of Wilderness, 79.6 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, and 34,550 acres of National Recreation Areas to the Mt. Hood National Forest. It also calls for over 142 miles of new Wild and Scenic rivers for Rogue River tributaries, and adds protection for the Oregon Caves National Monument.

“Our beautiful state has so many places that are worthy of congressional recognition,” Congressman DeFazio noted. “I am thrilled to be able to work with my colleague Congressman Blumenauer to bring protection to just a few of them. From the tributaries of the Wild Rogue, to the Cave Creek watershed, to the iconic Mt. Hood, we have an historic opportunity to leave a natural legacy for the next generation.”

“These unique places are indeed worthy of protection,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “I have worked for over five years on a proposal to protect Mt. Hood for future generations. Throughout that process, I have been amazed at the number of Oregonians who care deeply about increasing Wilderness areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers on the mountain. I look forward to working with Congressman DeFazio and the entire Oregon delegation to pass a bill that protects Mt. Hood and other Oregon treasures. I strongly encourage the Senate to consider our proposal.”

The “Oregon Treasures” proposal would include areas proposed for wilderness and wild and scenic rivers protection in the Senate’s pending Lewis and Clark Mt Hood Wilderness bill, with an additional 6500 acres of wilderness in the Mt. Hood National Forest. These areas include: the Salmon Huckleberry “Keyhole,” Bluegrass Ridge, and Boulder Lake. The proposal would also add over 142 miles of tributaries to the Lower Rogue Wild and Scenic River, and increase drinking water protection and public recreation opportunities for the Oregon Caves National Monument with a 4,000 acre boundary adjustment.

In 2007, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the Lewis and Clark Mt. Hood Wilderness Bill of 2007 (S. 2034), but the bill has yet to clear the full Senate.

Of interest to river advocates the legislation introduced by DeFazio and Blumenauer would add 79.6 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers on the Mt. Hood National Forest including the following:

• South Fork Clackamas River
• Eagle Creek
• Middle Fork Hood River
• South Fork Roaring River
• ZigZag River
• Fifteenmile Creek
• East Fork Hood River
• Collawash River
• Fish Creek


The proposal would also designate 142.9 miles of tributaries to the Lower Rogue Wild and Scenic River (est. 1968) and classify the tributaries as either “Wild,” “Scenic,” or “Recreational” in order to protect the outstandingly remarkable values of these tributaries themselves as well as the benefits that these tributaries contribute to the Lower Rogue Wild and Scenic River.

Take action

You can take a couple of important action steps today. Thank Representatives DeFazio and Blumenauer for their leadership on this proposal. Note that you are a whitewater boater and especially appreciate their attention to river protection through Wild and Scenic designation. You can also reach out to Senators Wyden and Smith to thank them for their work on the Lewis and Clark Mt. Hood Wilderness Bill of 2007 (S. 2034) and specifically ask for their support for Wild and Scenic designation on the Rogue River tributaries which is not included in their bill.

Thomas O'Keefe
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 425-417-9012

Associated Rivers

Clackamas, South Fork OR
Collawash OR
1. Big Dog IV-V
Eagle Creek OR
Hood OR
Zigzag OR


Associated Projects

Mt. Hood Wilderness (OR)
In 2009 new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers were established for the forests of Mt. Hood.
Restoring the Rogue (OR)
One of the great Rivers of the West, preserving the the Wild Rogue and restoring upstream reaches impacted by dams are priorities for American Whitewater.