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The Sea Otters See Change

By guest from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

By Seth Heller

The day the modern sea otter evolved into existence, the animal kingdom no doubt rejoiced – here was a creature of cunning and cuteness so powerful it leads Homo sapiens to mashed noses and strained eyes from pressing their faces to glass and eyes to binocular lenses. But when exactly did modern sea otters evolve – and what’s their story since then?

Sea otters – Enhydra lutris – evolved about 2 million years ago, most likely somewhere in the far North Pacific Rim near Japan and Russia. They spread to eventually inhabit an arc shaped region that extended from the northern coast of Japan up to the Aleutian Islands, before dropping down the west coast of North America and ending in the blue waters off the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. In the early 18th century, there were about 150,000-300,000 wild sea otters in the world. In 1741, a ship named “St. Peter” came across the sea otter and reduced the population forever.

Vitus Bering helped spur the international fur trade that nearly drove sea otters to extinction.

Vitus Jonassen Bering – 1681-1741 – was a Danish sea captain in the service of Russian Navy. You probably know him best for the many geographic features that share his last name: the Bering Strait, Bering Sea, Bering Island, Bering Glacier, and Bering Land Bridge.

Before Vitus died in 1741 while captaining an expedition for Peter the Great, he stumbled upon some sea otters on the Commander Islands. His geographic discoveries were secret for many years – unfortunately his discovery of the warmth and sheen of sea otter pelts was instantly renowned.

The maritime fur trade was one of the main engines of the international economy in the 18th century – sea otter fur was a luxury item among wealthy Asians. Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States became the primary hunters of the sea otter – pelts were primarily traded to China in exchange for tea, silk, porcelain, and other unique goods.

The world sea otter population rapidly tumbled until the establishment of the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911, an international treaty that restricted the hunting of furred mammals. By this time there were only 1,000-2,000 sea otters left on Earth – they vanished from everywhere except the Aleutian Islands and California.

By the time internation fur treaties were in place, there were less than 2,000 sea otters left.

Today there are an estimated 106,000 sea otters off various coastlines around the world.

Here in the United States, the sea otter can be found near the shores of Alaska, Washington, and California. Their near-extinction spawned several conservation projects which attempted to reintroduce the sea otter back to its original range.

Alaska is home to about 90 percent of the sea otters on our planet.  The population peaked around 125,000 in the 1970s, but environmental disasters – the nuclear tests on Amchitka Island and the Exxon Valdez oil spill – depredation and disease have reduced the overall total by 55-67 percent since the mid-1980s. Sea otters are currently classified as “Threatened” in Alaska.

In the 1960s and 1970s our lovable heroes were reintroduced to Washington. Despite an ‘endangered’ classification in 1981, there are only 1,000 or so swimming around the Washington coast.

The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill covered 1,300 miles of coast line and 11,000 square miles of ocean.

California is home to about 2,000 sea otters, most of them floating around Monterey. California’s recovery efforts began after a group was first spotted off Big Sur in 1938; however the process has been very slow, with an annual increase of about 5 percent each year.

Sadly, sea otters have not returned to Oregon – if you want to see some of these fluffy critters in the wild, your best bet is to drive north to Olympic National Park. The last sea otter in Oregon was killed in 1907. Reintroduction efforts failed. The last attempt was in the 1970s – those 93 otters have not been seen since the 1980s.

But wait! If you’re feeling lucky, and have an incredible amount of time to spare (in which case you should consider volunteering at Oregon Wild), you may just see a solo otter splashing around the shores of our state. It would be incredibly rare, but while there are no permanent populations here at home, there have been a handful of otter sightings in the last decade, including a rogue-otter sighting in 2009.

Excited yet? Are you chomping on your nails with the anticipatory, ecstatic, fervor you only feel when hoping Damian Lillard will sink a three at the buzzer? That’s great, because we haven’t even explored the numerous ways sea otters help keep the coast healthy as a crucial keystone species.

See us back here next week for an exploration of the important role sea otters play in marine ecosystems... and cartoon musicals?

The New Clean Water Service Permit: What would be good for the Tualatin River and our neighborhood creeks?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

After many years of delay, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is about to renew the permit that allows Clean Water Services (CWS) to discharge wastewater and stormwater to the Tualatin River system. There are some great innovations in the draft permit.  Clean Water Services will be permitted to use “natural treatment systems” at Fernhill […]

Thank you, a promise

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

Thank you for standing up for clean water. Read our Executive Director's vision and promise for the future. Your care for the Columbia can make this vision a reality. December 1st is Giving Tuesday, a day to support what you love. Willamette Week’s Give!Guide makes it easy, with lots of fun incentives for all giving levels.

Dams Leading Culprit in Temperature Crisis Says Report

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

Dams create a well-documented temperature crisis on the Columbia that cannot be ignored. Hundreds of thousands of heat-stressed sockeye died this summer. Hot temperatures and low snowpack compounded the problem, but a new report shows high water temperatures were largely due to dams.

I support Riverkeeper because…

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

Your voice for clean water is amplified as a Riverkeeper member. Today, we are over 8,000 members strong. Here are the reasons why your fellow members contribute.

A Real ‘Flow’ of Energy

By admin from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

Turbines generate electricity from water in city pipes Entrepreneur Gregg Semler has been

The post A Real ‘Flow’ of Energy appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Remand of Stafford-Area Urban Reserves: Written Testimony

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:00pm

LCDC Remand Order 14-ACK-001867 Metro Ordinance No. 11-1255

Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the matter of the remand from the Court of Appeals’ and the Land Conversation and Development Commission to Metro regarding the designation of the Stafford, Rosemont, Borland, and Norwood areas in Clackamas County as urban reserves under ORS 195.145.  We are unable to attend today’s hearing; therefore, we are submitting written testimony and plan to appear at your next hearing on this.

read more

It’s Go Time! Vancouver Oil Terminal Hearing Announced! – featured

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

Today, on Nov. 24, 2015, the Tesoro-Savage Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released. Stand up to big oil: join us at the public hearings, and learn more at our upcoming workshop.

Save the Date: Stand Up to Big Oil in Vancouver this January!

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

The State of Washington just released its draft environmental review for a massive proposed oil terminal in Vancouver. Let’s make sure Governor Inslee and Washington deny the Tesoro oil terminal. Join us at a critical public hearing this January!

It’s Go Time! Vancouver Oil Terminal Hearing Announced!

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

Today, on Nov. 24, 2015, the Tesoro-Savage Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released. Stand up to big oil: join us at the public hearings, and learn more at our upcoming workshop.

The Season of Giving

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

Next Tuesday, December 1st is Giving Tuesday, and the NW Earth Institute is participating in this global day dedicated to giving. Last year, more than 30,000 organizations in 68 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday. Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday has… Read More!

The post The Season of Giving appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Supervisors seek answers on Westside delay

By jeanine from KS In The Press. Published on Nov 23, 2015.

The Westside Fire Recovery Project has been a major source of contention within Siskiyou County over the last year, and that contention continued this week.

Take Action for Hanford Cleanup

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 23, 2015.

Major cleanup delays are being proposed for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, in some cases pushing out cleanup another decade. Columbia Riverkeeper is submitting public comments and so should you. Tell our federal and state governments what you think about these delays. Sign on to public comments today.

UW research: coal spills – featured

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 23, 2015.

New research by UW scientists shows coal trains spill dust that is harmful to our lungs.

UW Research: Coal Spills

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 23, 2015.

New research by UW scientists shows coal trains spill dust that is harmful to our lungs.

Staff Spotlight: Samm Newton

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Nov 23, 2015.

People often ask me why I choose to work at the Corvallis Environmental Center (CEC). My answer is always the same; place. The impact that one’s place can have is a strong one. Place, in all it’s meanings, has deeply affected my health, attitudes, relationships, knowledge and behavior. It stays with you your whole life.
The town I grew up in is nothing like Corvallis. I remember it with fond nostalgia, but also relief. The skyline of that small coastal ...

National News: November 23, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Nov 22, 2015.

Feds' footprint, Ketchikan Daily News
Federal Footprint Map, House Committee on Natural Resources
Forests threatened by federal proposal, Coeur d'Alene Press op-ed
Frack Foes Fear Release of Radium in Wayne National Forest, The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
Forest Service again proposes Colorado roadless coal exception - Exception in Colorado-specific roadless rule, once rejected in federal court, could allow coal mining expansion in western Colorado valley, Denver Post

Forest Thinning Progress -- And Criticism - Debate rages on about largest forest restoration effort in U.S. history, Payson Roundup

Sen. Murkowski: Resilient Forests Are Fire-Resistant Forests, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Reflections on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

By Stephanie Noll from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 20, 2015.

There’s a new group in town calling for rapid implementation of Vision Zero, and they speak with a powerful voice, even when it trembles with sadness […]

Genetically Engineered Salmon Approved for Consumption

By jeanine from KS In The Press. Published on Nov 19, 2015.

Federal regulators on Thursday, Nov. 19th, 2015 approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, clearing the last major obstacle for the first genetically altered animal to reach American supermarkets and dinner tables.

Willamette Week Give!Guide: Been a little Bad? Do a little Good.

By Liz Chapman from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Nov 19, 2015.

#GiveGuide: From November 4, to December 31, 2015, encourage your friends and neighbors to check us out on Give!Guide. It is a great way to support clean water and healthy communities. Columbia Riverkeeper is honored to be included with 142 diverse nonprofits in the greater Portland area.

Volunteers Needed to plant trees in North Clackamas County, Sat Dec 5th!

By jennyb from Growth Rings. Published on Nov 18, 2015.

Located within one of the fastest growing counties in the state, snugged-up between heavily-urbanized Portland and rural farmland in Clackamas County, Damascus is a super place to plant trees!  Friends of Trees is working to plant native trees and shrubs to restore natural areas and farmland within this rapidly developing region — and we need your […]

Did You Know NWEI Can Create Customized Courses?

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Nov 18, 2015.

Have you heard that we can now create customized discussion courses? Drawing from our existing curriculum, we can work with you to create a custom discussion course that meets you organization’s specific objectives. Since we officially kicked off creating custom courses earlier… Read More!

The post Did You Know NWEI Can Create Customized Courses? appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

What is Giving Tuesday?

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

You’ve probably heard of Black Friday. You may even know about Cyber Monday. But have you heard of Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back to the causes that we most care about. This year giving Tuesday is December 1, 2015. The Wetlands Conservancy is the only land trust in

Restoration of Matson Creek

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

        November 2015 As the rains have reluctantly reached the Oregon coast planting of trees and shrubs along the newly re-meandered Matson Creek main-stem and north fork mark the culmination of fisheries and wetland restoration activities at the Wetland Conservancy’s Coos County property that began in 2004.  This third and final phase

New podcast: Matt Weingarten on making sustainability second nature for every chef

By Joe Whitworth from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

Change menus. Change lives. - That’s the tag line of Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to making sustainable practices second nature to every chef in America. The national organization believes chefs and food professionals are powerful change...

Prevent Industrial Development in Wildlife Habitat

By aberman from News. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

Please help us send a strong message to the Portland City Council that the community supports the approach to industrial lands outlined in the current draft of the Comprehensive Plan which focuses on cleaning up more than 900 acres of contaminated sites, intensifying use of the existing industrial land base, and limiting conversions of industrial land to other uses, rather than converting irreplaceable natural areas to industrial use.

‘Safe Harbors’ for native fish

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

This is part of a series about the MRT members who have played a part in the incredible comeback of Oregon chub. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share more stories of MRT members who aided the recovery. ‘Safe … Continue reading

Wilderness is a necessity.

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Nov 16, 2015.

“Lichen and mushrooms and amphibians, oh my! Opal Creek was an amazing trip, and I have […]

Historic Resolution: City of Portland Bans New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

By aberman from News. Published on Nov 16, 2015.

On November 12, the Portland City Council voted 5-0 to pass a resolution that puts in place the strongest municipal ban on new large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure in the United States.

Changemaker Interview: A Law Firm Takes on EcoChallenge with Gusto

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Nov 16, 2015.

Today’s Changemaker story is about Nadia Wager and her co-workers at the New York Regional Office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., an environmental law firm with over 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices who recently participated in NWEI’s annual EcoChallenge. Nadia was the EcoChallenge team captain… Read More!

The post Changemaker Interview: A Law Firm Takes on EcoChallenge with Gusto appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Planning for Eugene's Future

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Nov 13, 2015.

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 1:00am

An Overview of The Eugene Planning Process and Next Steps

On October 21, the Eugene city council made a decision that rolls back years of comprehensive planning decisions, by blocking up-zoning of residential areas to accommodate more housing types.  The council made its decision before taking public comments, freezing out the people who would be affected by the council’s hasty decision. This impacts current and future residents, threatens surrounding farm and forest lands, and - at the core - constructs an inequitable housing policy that punishes Eugenians who live in multi-family housing types.

read more

Featured Case Study: Medford Water Quality Trading Program

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Nov 13, 2015.

The Freshwater Trust has finished a new video and case study on our

The post Featured Case Study: Medford Water Quality Trading Program appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

The Freshwater Trust shortlisted for prize in California Water Policy Challenge

By admin from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Nov 13, 2015.

The Freshwater Trust has been placed on the shortlist in Imagine H20’s 2015 California

The post The Freshwater Trust shortlisted for prize in California Water Policy Challenge appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Open Letter to Our Friends

By Dave from Growth Rings. Published on Nov 12, 2015.

  Dear Friends at Friends of Trees, First, thank you all for the hard work you do advocating for and planting trees in our beautiful cities. Second, here are some of the measurable results of the work you do. Volunteers and Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry staff inventoried all street trees within 20 neighborhoods […]

GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms

By Elizabeth Reis from Beyond Toxics. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

The comfortable chair that I just bought and sit in for hours each day is giving me a sore throat and making my eyes sting. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve been experimenting for about a month now, and I can say for certain that after about a half hour of sitting in it... Read more »

The post GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

The importance of healthy floodplains

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

Because of members like Art and Anita Johnson, we've helped Oregon chub recover. Continue reading

Commission moved too fast to delist gray wolf

By jeanine from KS In The Press. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission's vote Monday to remove the gray wolf from the state's endangered species list seems premature, especially given the short time since wolves reappeared in the state and the contrast with other protected species.

A New “Powering A Bright Future” is Here!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

Our newest discussion course ebook is here! Powering A Bright Future is a three-session discussion course exploring issues related to energy use, and what we can do to take action as individuals and communities interested in promoting energy sustainability. This course… Read More!

The post A New “Powering A Bright Future” is Here! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

The Day After Delisting

By staylor from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Nov 10, 2015.

As you’ve heard by now, Oregon wildlife officials voted last night to strip state Endangered Species Act protections from Oregon's wolves. If you have read previous Wolf Pack emails on this process, you know that this decision was coming and exactly what we were expecting.

While this is certainly a blow for Oregon’s wolves (and for other wildlife), it is just the first stage of a much larger debate over how we protect and restore these iconic animals.  In the days ahead, Oregon Wild will be looking both back at the flawed process that lead up to this vote, and forward to the upcoming revision of Oregon’s Wolf Plan, for opportunities to continue the fight for gray wolves. We have always worked to make sure that state and federal agencies obey the law, and we will continue to do just that.

Oregon’s wolves, and all Oregonians who treasure wildlife and wild places, owe a debt to the everyday citizens like you who poured hundreds of hours of volunteer work into research, training, lobbying, testifying, writing, and taking action on behalf of wolf recovery over the last year. 

Wolves are smart, tenacious animals.  Now their human defenders must be just as smart and tenacious.  We need you now more than ever to channel that sadness, anger, and frustration into action! Many of you have asked us what you can do right now. Here are three suggestions:

1) File a comment with Governor Brown via website or by calling (503) 378-4582  

2) Write a letter to the editor for your public newspaper. Here’s a brief on How to Write an Op-ed and a Letter to the Editor.

Talking points: 

  • There are only 81 known wolves in Oregon.

  • The scientific process required by law to justify removing protections was rushed, though the Commission had been urged back in April to seek independent review. Supporting documents were not available to the public until after the Commission meeting had already started. 

  • Half of the science reviewers were hand-picked from Idaho Fish and Game, an agency that does not have a good reputation for wildlife management or integrity.

  • The scientific feedback wildlife staff received is insufficient and does not meet the standard of “vigorous independent review." It is nothing more than some side notes on the original document, which were never taken into consideration or incorporated into the final report.

  • Governor Kate Brown’s recent appointments to the Wildlife Commission have been a disaster. Jason Atkinson hasn’t attended the last two Commissioner meetings, while Bruce Buckmaster has been openly hostile and disrespectful to wildlife advocates.

3) Get involved! We have a wolf-centric email list, the Oregon Wild Wolf Pack, the sends regular information updates and action alerts about Oregon's wolves. Sign up here!

If you are in Oregon, sign up to join the Oregon Wild Ones, a local wildlife activist group. Get updates on action alerts, upcoming trainings, and ways that you can make a difference for Oregon's wolves.  Email to get signed up.

We really appreciate you, and the wolves do as well. 

Photo Credits: 
Imnaha pups and OR-21 photos courtesy of ODFW

Women Bike Recap: Our First Three Months

By Nicole from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 10, 2015.

In August of this year we launched a new women’s initiative called Women Bike. Women Bike works to inspire more women to incorporate a bike into their lives and […]

A robust conversation at the Owyhee Town Hall in Adrian, Oregon

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Nov 09, 2015.

By Borden Beck, Oregon Chapter High Desert Committee   On October 29, I attended a Town Hall meeting in the small town of Adrian, Oregon, to share opinions and information about protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands. Adrian is the last small community before heading south into the vast expanse of the so far relatively undeveloped landscape […]

Why Traffic Safety Advocates Should Support #CampaignZero

By Stephanie Noll from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 09, 2015.

In early 2015, in partnership with Oregon Walks, the BTA published a Vision Zero report calling for an end to traffic fatalities. Like other Vision Zero […]

Echo Fly Fishing launches campaign to reduce post-catch mortality

By admin from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Nov 09, 2015.

by Tyler Allen Fish need water. Of course they do. Yet according to

The post Echo Fly Fishing launches campaign to reduce post-catch mortality appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Poll Result: ODOT’s Proposed Barbur Bridge Fixes are Inadequate

By Carl Larson from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 09, 2015.

We asked people what they wanted to see on the Barbur Bridges and the answer was clear: safe, separate space for walking and biking. Currently, the […]

National News: November 9, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Nov 08, 2015.

Big Sale! 50% Off Wood Stoves!, New Century of Forest Planning blog
Forests: Study says spruce beetle not a big factor in recent southwest Colorado wildfires - Climate, topography likely more significant, researchers say, Summit Voice
Tell Congress to Save Oak Flat, Center for Biological Diversity
H.R. 2811: Save Oak Flat Act, Library of Congress

Donor Profile: Andy Bryant, Chairman of Intel’s Board of Directors

By admin from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Nov 08, 2015.

Solutions that go well beyond the local In 2008, Andy Bryant was invited

The post Donor Profile: Andy Bryant, Chairman of Intel’s Board of Directors appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Your Voice Needed to Pass Historic Ban on Fossil Fuels

By aberman from News. Published on Nov 07, 2015.

On November 4 the Portland City Council will consider two resolutions that would put in place the strongest policies against fossil fuel shipments in the country.

The Myth of Replanting: 5 Ways Oregon’s Laws Destroy Forests

By Jason from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Nov 05, 2015.

Here in Oregon, a little less than half of the land is forested. Almost all of that forestland is owned either by private timber companies, the State of Oregon, or a federal agency such as the U.S. Forest Service, or the Bureau of Land Management. In Western Oregon, there are two very different sets of rules that these forestland owners follow. Most federal lands are governed by the Northwest Forest Plan; State and private lands, however, are governed by the Oregon Forest Practices Act, or the OFPA.

The OFPA has weak conservation measures that do not protect human health, wildlife, or property from the damaging effects of clearcuts. But you may have recently heard otherwise from an organization called the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, which is the name of the public relations arm of the timber industry that gets to collect the taxes paid by private timber companies in Oregon. So how do they use the this tax money? Well, they use it to mislead the people of Oregon about the state of our forests and drinking water. So, just to set the record straight, here are 5 common myths they like to use in this misinformation campaign, and the sad truths about them. 

5. The Big Whopper: Sustainable Yield 

The Myth: Oregon harvests a “Sustainable Yield” of trees.     
The Truth: Clearcutting, and Oregon’s weak logging regulations have led to over 500,000 acres of deforestation in just the last 15 years.

A new analysis from the Center for a Sustainable Economy documented the loss of 522,000 acres of forest cover in Western Oregon since 2000. The analysis, completed with GIS support from Oregon Wild, used satellite data to study forest cover trends on public and private lands. Because the rate of clearcutting on state and private lands has far exceeded forest cover gain from replanting, forest loss during this period exceeded forest gain by 45%.

“Anyone who has driven to the Oregon Coast has seen first hand the aggressive clearcutting that takes place under Oregon’s weak logging rules,” says Steve Pedery, Conservation Director for Oregon Wild. “When it comes to deforestation, we have more in common with Brazil and Indonesia than most of our citizens realize.”

Want more details on deforestation in Oregon? Click here for the deforestation report.

4. The Wordplay: Replanting "Forests"

The Myth: Clearcuts are replanted with healthy young “forests” 
The Truth: Incredibly diverse forests supporting a multitude of species are being converted into single crop agriculture, not forests--and these “crops” are being sprayed heavily with chemicals to kill all other naturally occurring plant life. 

Statewide, Oregon has more than 60 species of native trees, but as far as the timber industry is concerned, all we need is 1 very tall, very straight, cash cow. When clearcutting happens on private industrial forest lands in Western Oregon, all trees and life are removed from an area, and that area is replanted with one species: Douglas-fir. This “monocrop” is then sprayed for several years with a combination of several herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer to ensure it is the only thing that can grow there. Walking through a forest in Oregon is an amazing experience, one might see or touch a plethora of plant or animal species. Walking through a Douglas-fir plantation is much more like being in a cornfield.

3.The “create fear”: We have to “kill it before it burns!”

The Myth: Clearcuts are good for forests because they mimic fires and make Oregon safer.
The Truth: Clearcuts mimic parking lots, not nature. Fires and other natural disturbances support and enhance ecosystems in ways that clearcuts do not. 

A common myth we hear from the pro-clearcut lobby in Oregon is that “clearcuts mimic natural disturbances in forests,” often using this myth to support the idea of logging to make forests safer from fire. Well, parking lots aren’t likely to burn either, and they certainly won’t produce salmon I want on my dinner table. 

Modern science tells us that clearcutting older forests and planting young monocrops makes forest fires in Oregon more dangerous to people, and more likely to get out of control. Old growth trees have much thicker bark that prevents them from fire, and their limbs are typically higher up where ground level fires don't reach them. Science also tells us that forests which have experienced large natural disturbances such as fire are an important part of the natural landscape and provide crucial habitat to many species. Clearcuts, on the other hand, start out as moonscapes and grow into tinderboxes. While there are certainly situations where forest management needs to be used to protect communities, the clearcut industry is making a habit out of using this myth to stuff their wallets. 

Learn more about the benefits of fire in Oregon's forests

2. The “We care”: Oregon doesn’t cut old growth. 

The Myth: Oregon has laws protecting old growth, we no longer cut down ancient forests.
The Truth: Laws regulating private industrial logging in Oregon do not protect old growth forests, and giant trees are cut down on a regular basis. 

Old growth forests are very different from young tree stands. They provide rich soils, retain and filter clean water, and are habitat for many rare and distinct animals.

While it is true that many federal forests in Oregon have much stronger protections for old growth than they used to, the same can not be said for State, county or privately owned lands. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a photo of a legal harvest of 500 year old trees recently completed by Douglas County in Southwestern Oregon. These trees were cut solely for profit . 

More information on the global significance of Oregon's dwindling old growth

1. The absurd: “ZOMBIE TREES” are a problem for Oregon

The Myth: Standing dead “Zombie Trees” are a problem in Oregon and clearcutting old forests makes them healthier.
The Truth: Older forests are better for Oregon by every measure, and standing dead trees or “snags” are a crucial part of a healthy Oregon forest and provide many benefits to Oregonians. 

While standing dead trees are seen by logging corporations as a loss, dozens of species of native wildlife call them home. For owls, woodpeckers, salamander, black bears, pacific fisher, and other critters, dead trees -- and very large dead trees in particular -- might be better labeled as "wildlife's condos" than "zombie trees."

“Only a tree farmer is concerned about tree mortality, because they want every tree to "die by chainsaw" says Doug Heiken, Oregon Wilds Conservation and Restoration Coordinator. “In a natural forest every tree that grows in the forest also dies in the forest (and stays in the forest). In fact, snags and down wood play a wide variety of valuable ecological services for the developing forest.” 

Click here for more on the role of snags in healthy forests. 

Get connected with Oregon Wild, and let us keep you updated on this issue, as well as what’s really going on with Oregon’s drinking water, aerial pesticide spraying, landslides, and other ways Oregon’s logging laws are failing the people, and failing the planet. Sign up here.

Photo Credits: 
Photo of cut old-growth tree: Francis Eatherington All other photos: Chandra LeGue

Weigh-in: Portland is seeking Advisory Committee members for its Off-road Cycling Master Plan!

By Sarah Newsum from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 05, 2015.

What: Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan is recruiting members for advisory committee. Date & Time: Submit a Statement of Interest by Wednesday, November 18 by 5:00 p.m. […]

Love the Forest? Save the Fisher.

By guest from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Nov 04, 2015.

By Seth Heller

Fisher cat – polecat – pekan – martes pennanti – woolang. The pacific fisher’s abundance of monikers contrasts their slim existence in Oregon. Despite an alarmingly low presence in the Oregon wild, the pacific fisher remains stubbornly labeled a species of ‘least concern’. Given the incredible rate of poisoning due to illegal marijuana growers, it’s a title that should give pause to conservationists throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The pacific fisher’s dark clever eyes, sleek and muscular frame of mottled brown and black, and long bushy brush-like tail were once as common to Oregon as the hollows of the Douglas firs they kept as their homes. Fishers are shy animals; they prefer to live in isolated old-grow ancient forests. They are perhaps best known as one of the few animals that hunt porcupines – a testament to their tenacity and cunning.

The pacific fisher is member of the mustelid family, better known as weasels. They are native to northern North America. In Canada, they call a massive area sprawling from Nova Scotia in the east to British Columbia in the west, home. In the western United States, they historically occupied a narrow north-to-south corridor that snakes down through Washington into western Oregon, ending in a handful of small pocket populations in the wild mountains of the Sierra Nevada range.

Feisty and courageous, legendary Native American tribes including the Algonquin and Chippewa held the fisher in high regard, painting them as the heroes of native folktales – the Gitchi Ojig (Great Fisher) legend tells how the fisher brought summer to the world, before ascending to the sky to take the sparkling-silver constellation of the big dipper in the night sky.

The expansion of the American west coincided with the dramatic reduction of the fisher’s habitat range. Demand for pelts was frenzied and fur trappers leapt into the woods. Roads continually crawled across fisher habitat, paved veins through which an adventurous population flowed out into previously pristine and uninhabited wilderness of the American West. The fisher cat habitat continued to contract throughout the hectic population surge, eventually becoming the bones of its former self that we recognize today.

There are currently two fisher populations in Oregon. The Klamath Mountains’ fisher population extends down into northern California, which holds the bulk of this extended concentration. The second population is in the southern Cascades around Crater Lake National Park.

Recognizing the plight of the pacific fisher, repopulation efforts have occurred several times in the past 50 or so years. Many of Oregon’s fishers are descendants of reintroduction efforts of 1961 and 1977-1981 in British Columbia and Minnesota. More recent reintroductions in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (2008-2010) and California’s northern Sierra Nevada range (2009) have been encouragingly successful.

The roads that enclosed the fishers are long built. Through the fur trade experienced swings in demand throughout the 20th century, the price of fisher pelt has stayed low since the mid-1940s, suggesting that demand will follow suit.

Though it would seem that the best days are behind the fisher, a strange and menacing illegal industry has risen to claim the top spot as their greatest adversary.

The mellow vibes of legal marijuana culture are a stark contract from the dangerous illegally-grown cannabis farms that are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. Despite marijuana’s legalization in Oregon and Washington, and medical status in California, illegal growing has continued unabated. These farms are dangerous for adventurous and unwary hikers; however they are literally poisonous for fishers.

Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are a popular lethal solution for large pop-growing operations. ARs kill by interfering with the “synthesis of vitamin K dependent blood-clotting factors in the liver”, which eventually causes anemia, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and hemorrhaging from the nose and gums.

The mice and other small rodents that these growers target happen to be the favorite prey of the pacific fisher. Once ingested, a rodent can live up to seven days, plenty of time for a fisher to make a meal of it. Second-generation ARs such as Brodifacoum are particularly toxic – they are usually deadly after a single ingestion.

Illegal marijuana growers love to plant in remote, steep, mountainous areas – the same kind of land that the fisher loves to call home. Fishers face an extremely high rate of poisoning due to this unfortunate overlap. A recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) study discovered that a potential 95 percent of fishers will be exposed to ARs over the next 40 years. Similarly, University of California, Davis, researchers recently found that 79 percent of the fishers they autopsied during their study had been exposed to ARs.

In Oregon, the toxic marijuana fields present an especially large hurdle for fishers. In testimony before the Oregon legislature's committee on Measure 91 implementation, Oregon Wild reviewed the dangers of illegal public lands marijuana cultivation and species like fisher and spotted owl, and highlighted the opportunity for the state to protect these species through a marijuana certification process. Our state has one of the largest concentrations of illegal growers in the nation – even Mexican cartels have been implicated by the feds in local operations. The fishers vs. the cartels… think about it for a minute.

However, the pacific fisher could have the law on its side. Though currently protected by a flimsy ‘species of least concern’ conservation status, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the opportunity to reclassify the pacific fisher, potentially giving it a much stronger set of legal armor.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) recommended a reclassification of the fisher in a 2008 petition. The California Fish and Game Commission batted away their request in 2010 (without conducting a full scientific review), so the CBD launched a lawsuit against the state and won. Picking up momentum, the CBD filed another lawsuit, this time demanding that the fisher be protected under the Endangered Species Act. This lawsuit is pending – a decision will be dictated in April of 2016.

Fisher by Greg Trouslot

Oregon Wild (OW) has long been on the front lines of the fight to reclassify the fisher. An original signer of the ESA petition to list in 2000, OW continues to adamantly support relisting the fisher. Oregon Wild’s own Wendell Wood organized 22 other conservation groups to sign onto a 1998 appeal in which he raised fisher concerns as one of the primary reasons for halting the Pelican Butte timber sale. Oregon Wild members Greg Trouslot and his wife Linda Garrision were able to photograph a fisher in the late 1990s at Rocky Point, at the base of Pelican Butte. This documentation succeeded in stopping the last planned ski development on Pelican Butte.

If the fisher is reclassified as “Threatened”, it will be up to the USFWS to decide which protections to shield them with. Not all of the endangered species securities are required to be enacted – instead, the USFWS will pick and choose them based on their recovery needs.

Fortunately, the establishment of ‘critical habitat’ regulations are non-negotiable. This simply means that all land, water, and air adjustments that are deemed necessary to save the fisher would be reviewed and enacted. Remember: the fisher loves to make its home in old growth forests in secluded areas, far away from roads and development. So: love the forest? Save the fisher.



Photo Credits: 
Unless otherwise noted, fisher photos courtesy of USFWS

Give through Give!Guide Today!

By Lauren Hugel from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 04, 2015.

The Willamette Week’s Give!Guide, a year-end celebration of local non-profits doing great things in our communities, kicks off today! The BTA is thrilled to be included […]

Donate to the BTA through Give!Guide & Win a Prize Basket of Awesome (and MORE!)

By Lauren Hugel from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 03, 2015.

It’s that time of year again! Your opportunity to participate in the best end of year giving campaign for local non-profits (aka Willamette Week’s Give!Guide) starts […]

We’re having a holiday party. You should come!

By Lauren Hugel from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 03, 2015.

You’re invited to our Members Only Holiday Party! What: BTA’s Member Holiday Party When: December 9th 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Where: BTA headquarters! 618 NW Glisan, […]

Action Alert: Tell Congress to Save Funding for Biking

By Sarah Newsum from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Nov 03, 2015.

Tell Congress: Save Funding for Biking On Wednesday and Thursday the House of Representatives are going to voting on the transportation bill- including up to three votes to cut eligibility […]

Small Actions Add Up to Real Change! Our Collective EcoChallenge Impact

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Nov 02, 2015.

EcoChallenge 2015 wrapped up last week! Thanks to all those who participated this year and contributed to making the event such a great success. Below is a recap of some of the measurable impacts from this year’s EcoChallenge. We hope… Read More!

The post Small Actions Add Up to Real Change! Our Collective EcoChallenge Impact appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

For Every Kid Campaign Update: $15M for Safe Routes to School!

By Sarah Newsum from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Oct 31, 2015.

This month our Coalition stood strong and with one voice urged decision makers to dedicate $15 million to Safe Routes to School! Learn more and enjoy these […]

Beers Made By Walking comes to Eugene

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

8 local breweries have created beers inspired by hikes on MRT lands, and you can taste the results. Continue reading

The little fish that we’d never noticed

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

George Grier and Cynthia Pappas protected their land in 1992. They didn't know then that they would play a critical part in the recovery of Oregon chub. Continue reading

Parade! Prizes! Party!

By Carl Larson from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

Join us for the Light Parade to the Community Cycling Center (CCC) Bicycle Ball (with prizes!). What: Light Parade Bike Ride Date: Wednesday, November 11th Time: […]

Stories of Change from EcoChallenge 2015

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

EcoChallenge 2015 just wrapped up with over 4,300 people proving that small actions add up to real change! Over the course of the past two weeks we’ve been blown away by the commitment of this year’s EcoChallengers. We know that… Read More!

The post Stories of Change from EcoChallenge 2015 appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Clearcut 70% of our State Forests? Not the best idea!

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Oct 29, 2015.

On October 19th, a subcommittee of the Board of Forestry met to discuss alternative management plans for the Tillamook & Clatsop state forests.  Any new plan needs to improve conservation AND make the Department of Forestry financially viable. This ongoing process has been dominated by a timber industry proposal to manage the forest as two […]

Fill Milwaukie City Hall!

By Carl Larson from Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Published on Oct 29, 2015.

The Monroe Neighborhood Greenway Concept Plan is going to Milwaukie City Hall for a vote. It’s time to let Milwaukie’s city councilors know that you support the […]

TRK is Hiring an Environmental Education Coordinator

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Oct 27, 2015.

Download pdf:  Education Coordinator 2015 Environmental Education Coordinator Tualatin Riverkeepers or ‘TRK’ ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Tualatin River and its watershed, located primarily in Washington County. TRK engages the public in this mission through four programs: recreation, education, advocacy and environmental restoration. Located in a bustling […]

EcoChallenge Day 11!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Oct 27, 2015.

EcoChallenge 2015 is in full swing, with 4,301 people currently collectively proving that small actions add up to real change! We’ve been saving CO2, eating more organic and meatless meals, diverting food waste, writing letters and making phone calls advocating for… Read More!

The post EcoChallenge Day 11! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Make Way for Beaver

By admin from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Oct 26, 2015.

When a group of five scientists in the Pacific Northwest began advertising for

The post Make Way for Beaver appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Oct 26, 2015.

We’re just about to close our doors for the winter but we’ve already got our sights […]

National News: October 26, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Oct 25, 2015.

Public-land transfer proponents may have violated lobbying laws - Colorado puts the American Lands Council on "notice" for ethical missteps, High Country News

More maple tree woes, Summit Voice
Is this climate change-battered conifer migrating northward? - Scientists in Alaska are mapping what may be the tip of yellow cedar's expanding range, High Country News
Saving the forest for the beers - Healthy, resilient forests are vital in ensuring clean water, a key ingredient in making beer, TreeHugger

Our chance to fix this: A year-end message

By admin from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Oct 25, 2015.

As this year comes to a close, we’re reminded of everything that The

The post Our chance to fix this: A year-end message appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Staff Spotlight: Teacher Laura

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Oct 21, 2015.

Laura Peterson is one of the Nature Education Instructors at Avery House Nature Center and has been working there for just over four years. Her son attended the preschool program and loved his time connecting with nature while he was a student. She would drop him off and see all of the unique and fun activities the teachers used to involve the children with learning. This sparked her interest in wanting to work there and when a position opened up, Laura knew ...

Solar Works! What local governments and utilities need to know

By joshb from Daily News. Published on Oct 21, 2015.

Join local governments, electric utilities, and business interests from the Oregon Coast for an informative afternoon of solar energy information. Attendees will learn how you can use solar energy to recharge the local economy, with presentations from solar installers, local and State governments, and Solar Oregon. A Q&A; Session will follow, with plenty of time to get your questions answered.

Join Us Today for an Online Clean Energy Dialogue via #CleanEnergyU!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Oct 21, 2015.

At 12pm PST/3pm EST today, the NW Earth Institute will join dozens of other speakers for a live tweetathon where we’ll engage directly with community members, faculty, students and higher education staff in conversation on #CleanEnergyU, a new opportunity to help… Read More!

The post Join Us Today for an Online Clean Energy Dialogue via #CleanEnergyU! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Why Salmon Need Estuaries

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Oct 20, 2015.

More than 40 people gathered at Seven Devils Brewery in Coos Bay to hear NOAA Fisheries biologist Dan Bottom’s analysis of what we have learned about salmon resilience and response to wetland restoration from case studies in Oregon’s most heavily developed basin (Columbia River) and its most fully restored estu­ary (Salmon River). These projects demonstrate

What Can Beavers Do For You?

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Oct 20, 2015.

The Wetlands Conservancy has been a long time admirer of the North American Beaver, a keystone species that has the single greatest impact on promoting natural ecosystem function in wetlands and riparian areas. But beaver have not always been popular. The controversy tends to center around beavers impact on changing hydrology and flooding. Historically human’s

Wetlands & Wellies Photo Story

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Oct 20, 2015.

Over 175 members, supporters, partners, volunteers and food lovers gathered at DuckRidge Farm to celebrate 34 years of conservation of Oregon wetlands.  Together we raised over $45,000 for the protection and conservation of Oregon’s Greatest Wetlands. Thank for being a part of our community and joining us for another great Wetlands & Wellies!   Thank

EcoChallenge Impacts!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Oct 20, 2015.

  This is a snapshot of our collective impact over the first 6 days of the EcoChallenge. Way to go, EcoChallengers! And, if you haven’t yet joined us, you can still join the EcoChallenge today!

The post EcoChallenge Impacts! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Bloomberg Business covers collaboration with Google

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Oct 19, 2015.

The Freshwater Trust has partnered with Google to discover how using its advanced cameras

The post Bloomberg Business covers collaboration with Google appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

EcoChallenge Day 5!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Oct 19, 2015.

Today is Day #5 of NWEI’s annual EcoChallenge. As of this morning we have a record-setting 4,018 EcoChallengers on over 200 teams, and 41 team competitions underway! For moment by moment updates of what the EcoChallengers are up to, visit the EcoChallenge feed,… Read More!

The post EcoChallenge Day 5! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue?

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Oct 16, 2015.

Two years ago, there was little public awareness about the common industrial practice of using helicopters to spray thousands of acres of forests with herbicides. That was before the Cedar Valley spray case in which over forty people reported being sickened by exposure to a chemical soup raining down from an aerial herbicide spray. After... Read more »

The post BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue? appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Oregon chub makes a comeback

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 15, 2015.

Because of members like you, an Oregon native makes a comeback It was the early 1990s. Like many of our native fishes, the Oregon chub was in trouble. Chub lived their lives in the moist backwater channels and sloughs of … Continue reading

How to plant a tree (balled and burlapped)

By brightonw from Growth Rings. Published on Oct 14, 2015.

How To Plant A Tree Written By: Kira Cazenave Planting your own tree? For the best results to ensure that your new foliage friend is happy in its new home, follow the Friends Of Trees step by step guide to planting a balled and burlapped tree! Remove plastic tags and prune off broken branches. Just […]

Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Oct 13, 2015.

The headwaters of Baldface Creek is one of those mystical wildlands that inspires strange stories from the few who have been there. It is a place that seeps into your dreams and a weird landscape that evokes awe and contemplation.

Peak experience on Preston Peak

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Oct 13, 2015.

Preston Peak is not the highest mountain in the Siskiyous, but it is certainly the most iconic. Standing tall amidst a range of wilderness peaks and looking down on Raspberry Lake, Rattlesnake Meadows and the expansive old-growth forests of the aptly named Clear Creek Watershed, Preston is special.

Deschutes Brewery showcases high desert photography

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Oct 13, 2015.

ONDA debuts its iconic Wild Desert Calendar for 2016 at Deschutes Brewery Public House on Friday, Nov. 6.

National News: October 12, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Oct 12, 2015.

Court: Forest maintenance is federal job - Federal court strikes down state law that gave New Mexico counties authority to remove trees and clear overgrown areas on national forest land without having to get approval from the U.S. Forest Service, Albuquerque Journal
Oversight Hearing on Federal Forest Management - State, Local, and Tribal Approaches to Forest Management: Lessons for Better Management of our Federal Forests, House Natural Resources Committee

Murkowski: Reforms Needed to Ensure FLREA Fees Reasonable, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Hearing on the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
4FRI: Pie in the sky?, Arizona Daily Sun

30,000 Cheers for Crater Lake!

By bridget from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Oct 09, 2015.

As we approach the 2016 Presidential election, we're hearing a lot about public lands and the best use for them. Everything from drilling in the arctic wildlife refuges to privatizing and selling off public lands for development have been proposed. While public lands have always had their detractors, this minority has become much more vocal in recent years, and their attacks on public lands have increasingly drawn the attention and support of national politicians.

To help navigate the noise on public lands, take action now to protect Crater Lake, then read these top 5 things you should know about public lands in Oregon.

1) Not all public lands are treated equally

A wildlife refuge in the Klamath Basin
Leaseland farmers in hazmat suits on a National Wildlife Refuge. Commercial crops will be planted here, with decoys set up to prevent wildlife from spending time on this land. To emphasize, this is a National Wildlife Refuge that is discouraging wildlife.

There are dozens of different designations for public lands: Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, Forest Conservation Areas, National Recreation Areas, and National Forests to name a few. These designations have different levels of protection regarding what is and is not allowed, and even then much of it depends on local management plans individualized for each area.

It can get confusing. Due to the various terms there is often wiggle room left for mischief from development and extraction special interests. At Oregon Wild, we work to protect the very best areas in Oregon as designated Wilderness. Why? Because...

2) Wilderness is the gold standard

Wilderness is the highest level of uniform protection we can give public land. A national monument in Florida could look very different from a monument in Oregon depending on the management plan. While one could be a pristine healthy forest, the other could resemble something closer to Disneyland.

With Wilderness, the protection is the same. That means you can't mine or log in Wilderness, and you can't build a commercial theme park. But you can hike, hunt, fish, canoe and ski. Congress designates a landscape as Wilderness, and regardless of whether the next election produces a President Trump or President Clinton, the protections remain the same.

3) Oregon can do better in Wilderness protection

We pride ourselves on being a green state full of breath taking mountains, forests, and rivers teeming with wild salmon and trout. However our neighboring states have done a much better job at designating their best lands as Wilderness. To compare, California has 15% of their state designated as Wilderness, Washington has 10%, and Idaho has 8%. Oregon falls far behind with only 4% of our state designated as Wilderness. So what do we do about it?

4) Crater Lake is not Wilderness!

Wilderness areas are reserved for places with towering trees, clear cold streams and abundant wildlife.  A poster child for this image is none other than our own Crater Lake. This region houses large groves of old growth trees, as well as the watersheds of our most iconic rivers like the Rogue, Umpqua, Willamette and Little Deschutes. It's home to threatened and endangered species, like grey wolves and the Pacific fisher, and top notch recreation opportunities. So it can come as a surprise to learn that Crater Lake, the crown of the Cascades, is not already protected as Wilderness.

Most national parks in the West have a Wilderness designation on top of their park status, but Crater Lake is one of just a few that does not. As public lands are treated differently, national park protections vary widely. Decisions are left to ever-changing management and political administrations, and Crater Lake has seen proposals from gondola tours to parking lots on Wizard Island. The surrounding areas outside the park are just as critical to the region, and threatened with old growth logging right up to the park's edge. But we can change that. 

5) Congress needs to hear from YOU to make Wilderness happen

There is a growing coalition of businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists and elected leaders rallying around a proposal to designate 500,000 acres in and around the Crater Lake region as Wilderness. Because it takes an act of Congress to name an area as Wilderness, we're asking Senator Wyden and Merkley to step up and protect this area for future generations to enjoy. And they need to hear from you!

Sign our Crater Lake Wilderness petition today!

Help us reach our goal of 30,000 petition signatures by October 20th, 2015. Oregon Wild and our partners Environment Oregon and Umpqua Watersheds will be delivering petitions to Senator Wyden's office on Tuesday morning, October 20th asking them to sponsor legislation for the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal. 

After you sign, join us for our free happy hour Tuesday, October 20th at Base Camp Brewing to celebrate this historic, grassroots effort. There will be slideshows, photo petitions, and locally crafted ale as we raise a glass to the growing movement to protect Crater Lake. You can find details for the event here.

It takes a group of people to raise their voice in support of Wilderness. We hope you'll stand with us.

Photo Credits: 
Top Photo by Ben Canales. Klamath Wildlife Refuge by Quinn Read. Crater Lake from Mount Scott from Paul Burdick.

Last Call for Jawbone Flats!

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Oct 08, 2015.

With the leaves turning and the nights getting colder, the end of the 2015 program season […]

Oregon’s Greatest Wetlands: Tours!

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Oct 07, 2015.

Exploring Oregon’s Greatest Wetlands Learn about wetlands. Wetlands occur in all corners of Oregon and are among the most biologically productive and species-rich habitats in the state. Coastal salt marshes, wet prairies, spruce swamps and fresh water marshes are a small sampling of the diversity of wetland types in Oregon. Grab your rubber boots, binoculars

Welcoming Wolves Back to Southern Oregon

By guest from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Oct 06, 2015.

by Beckie Elgin

The final night of the first Oregon Wild Crater Lake Wolf Rendezvous. Debriefing time. Jonathan Jelen, Development Director for Oregon Wild, tells the eleven of us sitting in a tight circle around a crackling campfire that we need to relish our victories in the wolf world, as things don't always go well. He’s right; wolf advocacy is often fraught with disappointment as we battle the mythology and misinformation that surrounds Canis lupus. Yet throughout this event, camped along the Rogue River or on excursions nearby, we enjoyed four productive and memorable days together, learning about wolves and building friendships with like-minded people. This is the kind of success that keeps us going. 

We met on a rainy afternoon at Union Creek Campground in the Rogue River National Forest. The river flowed behind us while the rain washed us from above. We sought dry patches of ground to pitch our tents. By the time our bountiful potluck dinner was arranged on a picnic table, the rain had ended. We were gifted with autumn warmth and clear skies for the rest of the weekend. 

After dinner, introductions were made and Jonathan delivered a comprehensive description of Oregon Wild, including the history of the group and their current campaigns. This was followed by an in-depth a look at wolves in Oregon, from their eradication in the 1940s to their status today. Dessert came next, with brownies and cookies made by Linda, a wolf fan enjoying her first rendezvous. Linda had stenciled each cookie with the figure of a wolf, a perfect replica of the Oregon Wild bumper stickers. 

John Stephenson, biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, was at our campsite next morning at nine. He explained that the still healing scar on his left cheek was not from a wolf, but proof that soft balls are not soft. John led the way, the rest of us in vans, out of the Rogue River National Forest, alongside Crater Lake National Park, and into the flatlands south of the park. We stopped along the road to gaze at Mount Mazama and hear John discuss ranching practices in the area under the influence of wolves. OR 7, better known as Journey, had passed near this spot when he first trekked down from northeast Oregon in 2011. And he was back in the vicinity again, this time with his black mate and their two seasons of offspring. 

John Stephenson, USFWS biologist, sets up a trailcam

Our next stop was on a narrow dirt road. John jumped out of his truck and waved us to join him. In the middle of the road sat a fairly fresh pile of wolf scat. If one did not know the particular passion wolf advocates hold, they’d be shocked at the attention a find such as this creates. We circled the scat, murmuring our appreciation, and John set his little ruler beside it to gauge for size. Photos were snapped. I didn’t time the stop, but we must have been there for thirty minutes, asking questions and staring at the impressive pile of wolf scat that lay before us. 

Finally, John led us to another spot he’d scouted out the night before. There we saw wolf tracks, some old, some new, in the soft dirt of at the edge of the road. On our first night, Jonathan had asked us what our expectations were. Some had said they hoped to see wolves, some joked that they’d like to go home with a wolf puppy or two. But, seeing tracks and scat, true evidence of the return of wolves to southern Oregon, turned out to be enough. We were thrilled. 

Lunch was enjoyed on a sunny meadow. Layers of clothing were shed as the day warmed. A few of the group wandered up the road. Bindy, who turned out to be our most ardent scatologist, transferred a large pile of scat onto a rock and carried it back to share with the group. John told us the scat was likely coyote, although it must have been a big one at that. 

John has seen Journey no less than three times. And it was John who took the picture of the two Rogue pups peeking out of a log. He was only twenty feet away when he snapped the photo, startling the pups back into hiding. John also discussed the challenges the area may face as wolf numbers increase in southern Oregon. In his words, “It’s a very human-managed landscape, not like Yellowstone.” But there have been no livestock losses due to wolves so far and ranchers are doing their part to help prevent problems in the future. 

On Saturday, after a pleasant hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, Bridget Callahan, Wilderness Campaign Coordinator, led us to her favorite place in the world, Crater Lake National Park. After gazing at the lake, we skirted past hordes of tourists to a conference room where we met the park’s terrestrial ecologist, Sean Mohren. Sean told us about the history of wolves at Crater Lake, sharing excerpts from park ranger logs as far back as August of 1930, when “…just above Park Headquarters, a large timber wolf walked leisurely along the edge of the meadow carrying a marmot in his mouth.” Wolves, we learned, are not likely to populate Crater Lake National Park due to the elevation and heavy snow fall. Elk leave the park in the winter, meaning wolves would as well. But if climate change decreases the snow pack, enabling more wildlife to live there year round, Sean assured us “the park would truly embrace wolves.” 

We were given an education on the multitude of species that call Crater Lake home, or at least pass through it, including the rare Sierra Pacific red fox, the Pacific fisher, black bear, elk, Black-backed woodpeckers and the Mazama newt, a subspecies indigenous only to Crater Lake.  The knowledge we gained in our time with Sean served to give us a deeper appreciation for Oregon Wild’s Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal. Bridget shared details of the plan with us, but in a nutshell, the proposal would protect 500,000 acres inside and outside of the park from threats such as logging and development and at the same time, would create a 90 mile wildlife corridor along the crest of the Cascade Range. The proposal is still in the works. In fact, one from our rendezvous, the new board president of Oregon Wild Vik Anantha, headed into the backcountry after we departed to do research on some of the areas included in the proposal. 

Our wolf rendezvous included several dedicated environmental supporters. Some belong to Oregon Wild Ones, a venue spearheaded by Oregon Wild for those who want to take their activism to the next level. These include Stephanie, Brett, and Judith, who plan on attending the October 9, 2015 Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Florence where they will explain to the commission why wolves should remain protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act. 

After Crater Lake, we had dinner at Beckie’s Cafe in Union Creek. Beckie, by the way, was a man. When he died, his wife became known as Beckie as well. As you can imagine, I felt very at home there. At a table next to us sat a dozen folks dressed in kilts and black vests. Ominous looking swords hung at their sides. As we wondered if there was a performance of Braveheart going on nearby, one of the men went to his car and returned with his bagpipe and in the small dining room of Beckie’s Cafe we were given a private performance by Roland Kari of the Southern Oregon Bagpipe Band. 

Wolfways at St. Johns Community Center Pre-K ClassSunday morning we rose to another delicious breakfast created by Joannie. Besides her attributes as a camp cook, Joannie has created a wolf education program for elementary students called Wolfways. Oregon Wild and Wolf Haven International both sponsor Joannie’s program. So far, over 750 kids have been given the opportunity to see wolves in a new light. Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf are taking a back seat to the scientific evidence that demonstrates the value of wolves in the environment. 

Inspiration filled the air throughout the entire Crater Lake Wolf Rendezvous. Karen told me that the event brought her renewed motivation to work on her wolf writing project. I felt the same. We admitted looking forward to a soft bed and warmer nights, but would miss the people and the place. The rush of the Rogue River had brought close the sanctity of the natural world, while our campfire conversations instilled the need to protect this world and the wildlife that inhabits it. The experts we listened to provided facts to validate our arguments for preserving wilderness and wildlife. I left the Union Creek campground inspired by all of this, but especially by the desire of my rendezvous friends to understand opposing viewpoints and to soak up as much knowledge about wolves as possible. 

Photo Credits: 
Crater Lake by Imnadze Svitlana

Have you seen the new Paddlers’ Map?

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Oct 06, 2015.

The new Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Tualatin River is now available at local paddling shops, libraries, and by mail from the Washington County Visitors Association.

Oregon agencies cite multiple pesticide violations and levy fines against helicopter company in a worker whistleblower case

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Oct 05, 2015.

Highly toxics pesticides should not be sprayed on workers, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture concluded that is what Oregon-based Applebee Aviation did to its employees. On September 30, the Department, which is responsible for regulating state and federal pesticide laws, issued a citation revoking the Applebee’s operating license in the state of Oregon and... Read more »

The post Oregon agencies cite multiple pesticide violations and levy fines against helicopter company in a worker whistleblower case appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

An interview with the ‘real-life Lorax’

By Joe Whitworth from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Oct 02, 2015.

Meg Lowman didn’t grow up with the internet. She didn’t grow up with apps for species identification, with drones or with satellite imagery. She grew up climbing trees. And that is what has made all the difference. -

4th Annual Home Performance Conference of Oregon

By joshb from Daily News. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

Join Solar Oregon and the Home Performance Guild of Oregon at the 4th Annual Home Performance Conference of Oregon. This year the conference is exploring Intersections of Health and Home Performance.

Congratulations, Bruce Taylor, for receiving the prestigious 2015 John E. Nagel Award!

By Courtney Wilson from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

For more than 23 years, Bruce Taylor has worked to protect and restore important habitats for birds as the Executive Director of the Oregon Habitat Joint Venture (OHJV). He possesses a vision for bird and wildlife conservation that is unique and highly valued in today’s world of competing resource demands and complexity. Check out the

Art Contest: Transform our bamboo fish into something useful and beautiful!

By Courtney Wilson from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Calling all artists! We are hosting an art contest with Portland’s ADX (Art Design Portland) to transform 288 bamboo fish into a marketable product that expresses TWC’s mission to conserve, protect, and restore wetlands. Winner (s) will produce a marketable product out of provided bamboo fish The product will be sold at a local retailer Artist

Is Tree Canopy an Environmental Justice Issue?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

Trees in the urban environment provide a variety of benefits. Various researchers have touted the benefits of tree canopy in cities: cleaner air, stormwater reduction, carbon sequestration, energy savings, higher property values and health benefits.i   Some have even found a reduction in crime associated with tree canopy.ii   If distribution of these benefits are […]

Green Infrastructure Report Card: Is Tree Canopy an Environmental Justice Issue?

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

Trees in the urban environment provide a variety of benefits. Various researchers have touted the benefits of tree canopy in cities: cleaner air, stormwater reduction, carbon sequestration, energy savings, higher property values and health benefits.i   Some have even found a reduction in crime associated with tree canopy.ii   If distribution of these benefits are […]

National News: September 28, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Sep 27, 2015.

Looming Expiration of Softwood Tariff Worries Beleaguered Timber Industry - Montana's congressional delegation urges Forest Service to provide relief, Flathead Beacon
Forest planning contributes to listing species under ESA, New Century of Forest Planning blog

What they weren't saying about sage grouse, Elko Daily Free Press editorial

Happy Valley Launches HV Solar Home Program

By joshb from Daily News. Published on Sep 24, 2015.

The City of Happy Valley, OR, a fast-growing suburb of Portland, was recently awarded a grant from Northwest Solar Communities to increase solar photovoltaic installations among homeowners. With grant funds, the City launched the HV Solar Home Program (HV Solar), an educational campaign with special solar installation opportunities. HV Solar is hinged on partnerships with local solar installers.

Trick, treat or plant: Halloween planting at Milo McIver

By jennyb from Growth Rings. Published on Sep 24, 2015.

Friends of Trees is ecstatic to announce our first tree planting at Milo McIver State Park along the Clackamas River in Estacada!  Get outdoors with Friends of Trees to restore an area of oak savannah at this hidden gem of a park.  We’ll be planting Oregon White Oak and associated shrubs across the area known […]

Become a Friends of Trees Volunteer Crew Leader

By brightonw from Growth Rings. Published on Sep 24, 2015.

By Matt Pizzuti, volunteer Crew Leader for the Green Space Program Do you want to develop leadership skills? Improve the natural environment in your community? Spend some time each Saturday getting to know some friendly and inspirational people? Learn more about trees, native plants, and how to help make your community green? If you answered yes to […]

OPB Releases First Footage of Cormorant Slaughter

By aberman from News. Published on Sep 23, 2015.

OPB has posted the first footage of federal agents using shotguns to kill Cormorants near East Sand Island.

Audubon Society of Portland Disagrees with Decision Not to List the Greater Sage-Grouse

By aberman from News. Published on Sep 23, 2015.

This morning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it does not intend to list the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

Classrooms Take Charge this Fall

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Sep 22, 2015.

Recently we have been asking you to Take Charge Corvallis. And not only are we asking you to Take Charge, we are taking charge too. Energize Corvallis, a program of the Corvallis Environmental Center, has been working behind the scenes to build an innovative program called Classrooms take Charge that is changing the way Pacific Northwest educators teach high school students about the impacts of our actions.
After being awarded a competitive Environmental Education grant from the EPA, Energize Corvallis ...

What should cities do about car washing pollution?

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 22, 2015.

Wash water from car washing activities typically contains dirt (sediment), soap (detergent/surfactants), gasoline and motor oil, as well as metals and oil/grease residues from exhaust fumes and brake pads. When this dirty water is allowed to flow into storm drains, it travels directly to our local creeks and rivers without treatment. This pollution can kill […]

Solar Now! University Sizzles

By joshb from Daily News. Published on Sep 22, 2015.

It’s been a few short weeks, since this year’s Solar Now! University and I want to thank the many partners, staff members, and sponsors who helped make this event a success. With a conference theme of ‘sprinting ahead,’ this convening of renewable energy leaders provided an opportunity to reflect on the many examples of progress we’ve made, in addition to pointing us towards where future efforts for solar in the Pacific Northwest are headed.

How much tree canopy does your city have?

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 22, 2015.

There are numerous environmental  benefits to trees in urban settings. These include the capture of carbon dioxide by trees, shading, and habitat for wildlife. Urban forests can also act as natural storm water management areas by filtering particulate matter (pollutants, some nutrients, and sediment), by absorption of water and by facilitating evapotranspiration to reduce runoff. […]

How much tree canopy does your city have?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 22, 2015.

  City Canopy   Durham 49.0%   Lake Oswego* 47.6%   Rivergrove 37.3%   West Linn* 33.7%   Portland* 27.7%   Beaverton* 25.6%   Tigard* 25.0%   Tualatin* 22.9%   Sherwood* 21.0%   Hillsboro 17.1%   Forest Grove* 16.0%   Gaston 15.5%   North Plains 15.3%   King City 15.0%   Cornelius 13.0%   Banks* […]

Speak up for Oregon’s wolves!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 21, 2015.

You may have already heard the news: California is now home to its first known gray wolf pack, dubbed the Shasta Pack, in nearly a century! While biologists are working to determine the origin of the Shasta Pack’s breeding pair, the most likely answer is that they traveled from Oregon. With successful recovery in California […]

Seize The Day; Save The Bay!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 21, 2015.

On September 26, there will be a rally in Coos Bay from Noon to 6:00 PM to help raise public awareness of the dangers posed by the proposed Jordon Cove LNG project. The family-friendly event is called “Seize the Day; Save the Bay!” and will highlight the clean environment of the bay and the damage […]

RETC Solar Thermal Public Hearing

By joshb from Daily News. Published on Sep 18, 2015.

RETC Solar Thermal Public Hearing: Amending Residential Energy Tax Credit rules to implement HB 2171 solar thermal changes.

Oregon Coast Loses Important Wildlife Advocate and Portland Audubon Loses a Friend

By aberman from News. Published on Sep 18, 2015.

Portland Audubon lost a good friend this week when Sharnelle Fee passed away after several weeks of battling a severe lung infection. Sharnelle founded the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in 1999 and served as its director up until her passing. During that time she gave thousands of birds and animals a second chance at life in the wild.

Oregon must address environmental in-justice, starting with a response to a Southern Oregon forum

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Sep 17, 2015.

Poverty, hunger and gang violence in Central America and Mexico have persisted for decades. According to the Pew Research Center, the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula was the murder capital of the world in 2012. This city is where most Honduran children refugees come from when they arrive at America’s borders, sent by their... Read more »

The post Oregon must address environmental in-justice, starting with a response to a Southern Oregon forum appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Action alert: Your Voice Still Needed to Protect Portland’s Large Healthy Trees!

By aberman from News. Published on Sep 17, 2015.

September 11, 2015: September 20 is the deadline for public comments on a Proposed Administrative Rule governing tree replanting and replacement rules in the City of Portland. The rules could help preserve more large healthy trees in many situations.

Crowd protests nickel mine proposed near Kalmiopsis

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Sep 16, 2015.

The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service held the public meeting to hear citizen responses to proposed restrictions on mining and exploration in the upper Illinois and Smith river drainages, where a large nickel mine is proposed.

Another Successful Benefit for Opal Creek!

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Sep 15, 2015.

The sun beat down unflinchingly and the mercury topped 96 degrees, but nothing could stop our stalwart Opal […]

Speaking for the Trees

By guest from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Sep 15, 2015.

Last week Oregon Wild hosted its first ever forest management film festival at the Bijou Art Cinema in Eugene. With the help of organizations like the Sierra Club, Pacific Rivers Council and Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics we filled the cinema with forest lovers. This successful event brought people from all walks of life, and all across Oregon to listen to the stories told by our three featured films. To add to the excitement of the night, this happened to be the premier of one of the films, Behind the Emerald Curtain a film funded by the Pacific Rivers Council. 

During my first week as an Oregon Wild intern, my supervisor, Chandra asked me what I wanted to get out of the internship, from there the environmental film festival came to life. The goal of this event was to inspire people to think past the lines that divide our forests (National Forests, state forests, BLM lands, private timberlands) and explore the impacts of logging felt across shared boundaries. To do that we shared three films, Behind the Emerald Curtain, which skims the top of the issues of logging on private land. The second, Drift, chronicles the lives of a community plagued by reoccurring spraying on private land. And the third, Seeing the Forest, tells a hopeful story of the previously heavily logged Siuslaw National Forest, which has transformed into a model for sustainable ecosystem restoration and innovative management.

Together these films shatter the stereotype that paints Oregon as a pristine land with progressive management laws by highlighting the issues in our backyard. My hope is that by screening these films across Oregon we will raise awareness of the web of issues surrounding the Oregon timber industry, while also giving us hope that we can create a better tomorrow.  

- Marla Waters, Eugene Conservation & Outreach Intern

We are about to get FERC’d

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 15, 2015.

The Federal Government Prepares to Bless a Catastrophic LNG Project – Running from Canada to the Columbia by Ted Gleichman We are about to get FERC’d in Northwest Oregon and Western Washington. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the agency responsible for awarding the key Federal permission for major fossil-fuels energy infrastructure projects. FERC […]

National News: September 14, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Sep 13, 2015.

Is aerial firefighting worth it?, High Country News at Summit Daily

4FRI group questions timeline on 2nd EIS, White Mountain Independent
Natural Resource Working Group joins 4FRI, White Mountain Independent
McCain speaks out on need for Resolution Copper, in the wake of declining demand for copper, Eastern Arizona Courier

Relief for trees and forests at risk, Arizona Daily Star op-ed
SPRUCE Project now underway, Grand Rapids Herald Review
Ebola virus disease in Liberia - Expanding the use of social vulnerability assessments to identify hotspots for disease risk, USFS Southern Research Station

Nine Things Oregonians Should Know About Forest Fires

By steve from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Sep 11, 2015.

Forest fires can be a threat to homes and property, but they also play an important role in restoring and maintaining a healthy forest. Here are nine things every Oregonian should know about forest fires in our area.

  1. Fire isn’t always bad. Fires can be beneficial to forests. By eliminating undergrowth, wildfires create openings in the forest, which enable diverse vegetation growth that provides fruit, seeds, and nectar for wildlife to thrive. Fires also create standing dead trees (snags) that many animals rely on for food and shelter. Dry Ponderosa Pine forests actually need fire to control undergrowth and reduce competition for water and nutrients. However, while fire is often beneficial to forests, unnaturally severe fires—particularly near homes and communities—are a serious problem.
  2. Humans have made forest fires worse. By removing the old-growth, planting dense stands of young trees, and suppressing natural fires, we have created unnaturally flammable conditions in many forests. Old-growth trees, with their thick bark and tall trunks that keep the forest canopy safely above the flames, are much more fire-resistant than smaller, younger trees with thin bark and canopies close to the ground. We also make matters worse by suppressing natural fires, which causes fuel loads to build up and increase the risk of an unnaturally severe fire. 
  3. Climate change could increase risks.  Scientists predict that climate change will bring hotter, drier summers to the Pacific Northwest, together with less snowfall in the mountains during the winter months. Combined, these could significantly increase fire severity.  The best way to combat this challenge is to restore and protect more old-growth forests across the landscape.  Not only are old-growth trees more fire resistant, but they also capture and store tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide.   
  4. Forest fires and carbonScience has shown fires release less carbon dioxide than logging. Fire occurrence is highly variable. When they do burn, fires often leave vast areas of the forest lightly burned or not burned at all. Even when fires burn hot, the snags that are left behind continue to store carbon for decades (as well as anchor the soil and provide shade and nutrients to the next generation of forest). In contrast, clearcut logging constantly strips the land of both live and dead trees, depleting the soil and promoting less diverse, more fire-prone conditions.
  5. Many forests need restoration. Old-growth logging and fire suppression have left many forests unnaturally dense. Restoration-based thinning projects that focus on dense young stands and seek to restore old-growth conditions can be beneficial in making forests more fire resilient. Efforts like the Glaze Meadow restoration thinning project near the town of Sisters have reduced fire risks while improving habitat for fish and wildlife. In an old-growth forest, controlled burning can reduce fuel loads and maintain environmental health while reducing the risk of unnaturally severe fires. With proper restoration techniques including thinning and prescribed burning wildfire could cease to be the terrifying event that we think it is today.  Instead, natural fires would be mostly the low-intensity ground-fires that renew the forest in the ways it's adapted to. [see more in our Eastside Restoration Handbook]
  6. Protecting homes doesn’t mean logging the backcountry. Thinning projects can reduce the risk of fire to homes and communities, but only when they are done carefully and in the right places.  Unfortunately, the Forest Service and other agencies, under pressure from politicians and the logging industry, often have misplaced priorities, and spend millions in federal tax dollars trying to log in remote backcountry areas rather than prioritizing thinning forests near homes and communities.
  7. Logging in recovering areas makes things worse. Logging corporations often demand that the Forest Service and other agencies allow “salvage logging” – including old-growth logging – after forests burn. This controversial practice allows bulldozers and other heavy equipment into fragile recovering areas, where they clear-cut both live and dead trees. Such logging destroys snags and wildlife habitat, interferes with the development of future healthy forests, damages fragile soil, and sends mud and sediment into the rivers and streams we rely on for clean drinking water.  Scientists have found that letting nature take its course is the best way to help a forest recover after fire.
  8. Clearcutting does far more damage than fire.  Simple steps can help homeowners prepare. Homeowners who live near forests can reduce risks to their property with a number of simple steps. Keep trees and shrubs pruned away from buildings and structures, use fire-resistant roofing material, mow the grass around the home, clean leaves and other debris out of gutters, and move firewood, propane tanks, and other flammable materials at least 50 feet away.
  9. Industry uses fires to advance its agenda.  Politicians, the clearcutting industry, and the news media often focus on wildly sensational stories about forest fires, making them sound far worse than they really are.  For example, media outlets covering the 1988 fires in Yellowstone National Park described the forest as “charred”, “blackened”, “devastated”, and “ruined.” Yet today, Park biologists say the fires rejuvenated Yellowstone and did more to improve the health of the land than any other event in the last 100 years. Politicans and industry spokesmen try to use fires as an excuse to push for more aggressivbe logging and management policies that will actually increase fire severity and harm the long-term health of the forest. Fires are a natural part of typical dry Oregon summers and should be reported calmly and factually, without excessive hyperbole and hysteria.
Photo Credits: 
Controlled burn in Deschutes National Forest - Brett Cole Waldo Lake burn wildflowers - Jim Maloney Mosaic burn - Francis Eatherington Clearcut "salvage" logging - ""

Thanks Block 15

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Sep 10, 2015.

Garlic fries, clam dip, and tamale pie – just some of my favorites from the Block 15. On July 14th Block 15 agreed to donate 10% of their food sales to the Corvallis Environmental Center (CEC). Not only did we get to eat amazing food but it also helped the CEC. I wanted to help so much that I went twice in one day; nothing beats one of their big juicy cheeseburgers with a side of garlic fries for dinner.
Thanks to everyone’s hungry appetites Block 15 ...

The Bee, the Puppy and You!

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Sep 09, 2015.

This week national environmental leaders in bee protection, including Beyond Toxics, signed on to letters sent to Ace and True Value Hardware stores asking them to act now to protect bees! Our petition is for Ace and True Value to commit to not sell products containing systemic neonicotinoid pesticides harmful to bees, butterflies, birds and... Read more »

The post The Bee, the Puppy and You! appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Volunteer Spotlight: Joel Finkelstein

By Dave from Growth Rings. Published on Sep 09, 2015.

Volunteer Joel Finkelstein truly embodies what FoT is all about. “I can’t say I’m the best at identifying trees,” Joel admits, “but to me, FoT is all about the people and the community bonds that are made.” Joel has been a Neighborhood Trees Crew Leader for over 10 years, the Brooklyn Neighborhood Coordinator for 3 […]

How Impervious is Your City?

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 08, 2015.

What’s on the land determines the condition of the creeks and water quality. Before we developed our urban landscape and farms, the Tualatin River Watershed was covered with forests, prairies and wetlands.  When the rain fell, it was intercepted by plants or soaked into the ground.  There was very little runoff from the ground. Impervious […]

How Impervious is Your City?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 08, 2015.

What’s on the land determines the condition of the creeks and water quality. Before we developed our urban landscape and farms, the Tualatin River Watershed was covered with forests, prairies and wetlands.  When the rain fell, it was intercepted by plants or soaked into the ground.  There was very little runoff from the ground. Impervious […]

This is home. This is happiness.

By Grace Boehm from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Sep 04, 2015.

“In [the highest boughs of trees], the world rustles. Their roots rest in infinity; but they […]

Google on my back: Trekker helps Oregon Wild advocate for backyard forests

By chandra from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Sep 01, 2015.

Today, Oregon Wild announced the publication of new trail images on Google Maps, in partnership with the technology company. With the help of some other staff and volunteers, I "collected" these images earlier this summer - possibly drawing a few interested double-takes from anyone who saw us out hiking with with a big spherical camera system on a funny looking backpack…

The contraption on my back might have looked familiar to anyone who has seen a Google Street View car in their neighborhood. The bright green orb hovering 2 feet above my head was, basically the "trail view" version of a Street View camera. Known as a Trekker, the system collects panoramic images of trails and other landscapes only accessible by foot through its 15 lenses – taking a photo every few seconds as you walk along, then stitching them together with fancy technology.

Wearing the device was an interesting experience. Weighing in at over 40 pounds, with the large camera up top, the Trekker was a bit more cumbersome than my usual day pack. I felt a bit wobbly on some of the “trails” I used it on, as few were well-maintained. Waiting for the system to get up and running before I could start hiking was an exercise in patience too – at least when I’m waiting for my hiking buddies to tie their shoes I can talk to them without feeling crazy.

Fortunately, I didn’t encounter many people on the trails I hiked with the Trekker, so there weren’t too many funny looks. And that was kind of the point: Most of the places I took it to were hard to find or hard to get to, but are important pieces of the ecological patchwork that make up our backyard forests in western Oregon. Several of them are also threatened. For example, some of the places I documented with the Trekker are tied up in the BLM’s plan revision process, which could increase logging and decrease streamside protections. For example, the featured Fall Creek area running through Salem District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands borders private timberlands that are routinely clearcut. The images captured by the Google Trekker showcase a hike through a beautiful forest, but it is an island of old growth in a sea of industrial tree plantations. Many local residents and people who recreate in the area have been working to ensure that this area near the Alsea Falls Recreation Area gains some protections under any new BLM plan, but such are not guaranteed.

Our hope is that through the Google Street View Trekker loan program we can reach people in a unique way - with spectacular images of remote places they may never get a chance to visit. We all know that people are more effective advocates for a place when they can see and experience it for themselves. Shy of their own explorations, the Trekker images might be the next best way of motivating people to care about and advocate for these special places in western Oregon. 

Explore the Google Trekker images we helped collect: 

And some of the media coverage of our time with the Trekker: 

Photo Credits: 
Photo by Zach Urness / Statesman Journal

Connecting to a New Generation: Oregon Innovation Award Update

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Aug 28, 2015.

Josie Savaria-Watson
Fri, 08/28/2015 - 1:59pm

Goal 1 in Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goals & Guidelines calls for a “citizen-involvement program that ensures the opportunity for citizens to be involved in all phases of the land use planning process.” The problem, we see now, is that underrepresented communities are unable to access decision-makers who will have real impact in these individual's lives. Initiatives and decisions are being made every day, and are lacking the input of people who have a unique and relevant perspective but may not know, or are unable, to share it.

read more

Summer Camp Recap: Native Survival

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Aug 28, 2015.

The Native Survival summer camp that Avery House Nature Center put on was all about the native Kalapuyan’s and their ways of living including their unique calendar year, summer fish camps, harvest seasons, and winter villages.
Each day was packed full of fun yet educational activities for the kids. They made many everyday items just like the Kalapuyan’s did such as cordage, bows and arrows by harvesting willow and ash, the process of knapping, shaping flint, and how to weave ...

Wild & Scenic Film Festival brings best outdoor, conservation films to Bend on October 2

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Aug 26, 2015.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association is hosting the Bend stop of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Tour on Oct. 2, with a matinee and an evening showing at the Tower Theatre. The tour highlights the best of outdoor adventure and conservation films of the year. Tickets are on sale now.

Volunteer Trail Clearing at Apache Bluff

By Courtney Wilson from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Aug 25, 2015.

This summer, with the help of volunteer outreach coordinator extraordinaire, Alicia Heitzman, 13 people gathered together to clear the community trail at the Apache Bluff wetland preserve in Tualatin. We were able to clear large, heavy fallen trees off the trail, spiky invasive blackberries, and thick invasive grasses. We are 60 meters closer to a fully

Tales from Crater Lake Wild Week

By guest from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Aug 25, 2015.

By Julia Haskin


My name is Julia, and I’m a volunteer for Oregon Wild. I primarily work on the Crater Lake Wilderness campaign - the citizens-led push to add a wilderness designation inside the National Park and the lands around it. Many of the big Western parks, like Denali, North Cascades, Mount Rainier, Yosemite, and Olympic, already have wilderness designations. But Crater Lake does not.

A wilderness designation provides a greater level of protection, particularly to backcountry areas. Traditional, quiet recreation is allowed, but our influence is limited, allowing the land to recover to more natural patterns. In the case of the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal, benefits would include the creation of a 90-mile wildlife corridor, as well as the protection of 500,000 acres and the headwaters of the Umpqua and Rogue rivers.

Strangely, however, before last month not only had I never been to Crater Lake, I’d never been to a National Park, full stop. So when I heard about Oregon Wild’s Wild Week - a series of hikes in and around the park over the course of a week, led by Oregon Wild staff - I was excited to participate. Thanks to the kindness of a car-owning friend who was also keen to explore the Crater Lake area, I headed down.

My first view of the lake brought tears to my eyes and a ridiculously large grin to my face. It’s one of the few things that I’ve had a lot of pre-exposure to (you can’t avoid seeing photos of Crater Lake) that not only lived up to, but surpassed the photos. It’s so blue. The depth and vividness of the color puzzles the mind, and in some ways makes it hard to take the lake in. Some part of my brain was always processing the lake as if I were looking at a photo - an edited photo.

It is surreally beautiful.

While the grin recurred every time I looked at the lake, as I explored the area further, details appeared that underscored the need for a wilderness designation. For instance, the views from the top of Mt. Scott - one of the Wild Week hikes - were sweeping panoramas of the lake and the lands surrounding it, most of which are under the aegis of the National Forest Service. And while the lands are currently wooded, the uniformity of tree height and spacing speaks eloquently of their managed state, and of the ever-present potential for clear-cutting. (Take, for instance, the Forest Service’s Bybee logging project just to the west of the park.)

The interruption of an unseen, but not unheard, helicopter while our group was having lunch at the top of Mt. Scott reminded us how intrusive even distant activities can be in a semi-wild area. None of these ruined the experience for me, but each time, I thought how much richer the experience would be without them.

I went on two hikes with Oregon Wild during the week - one up Mt. Scott, the other along a lovely, if mosquito-y bit of the Upper Rogue River. The hikes began to show me and the wonderful people with whom I hiked just some of the variety of landscape and habitat contained in the area that is within the wilderness proposal.

I intend - and hope that they do, too - to support Oregon Wild and the other organizations and citizens in the coalition spearheading this proposal. Crater Lake truly is a “crown jewel” park, and such a jewel deserves the best setting possible - the setting of wilderness.


Photo Credits: 
Top photo of Julia Haskin by Paul Burdick. Crater Lake images courtesy of Julia Haskin.

National News: August 24, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Aug 23, 2015.

Fire Budgets and Climate, The Antiplanner
Gold-Plated Fire Service, New Century of Forest Planning
U.S. wildfires surge to 10-year high - Feds spending $150 million per day and seek firefighting help from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Summit Voice
Shasta County residents notice unusual odor - Experts say smell could be linked to Trinity County fires, KRCR

Researchers: Drought creating California 'ghost forests' - Survey finds 6.3M dead trees in southern Sierra Nevada, KCRA

You Gotta Tell Me What I Already Know, New Century of Forest Planning

Cormorants in the Crosshairs short documentary now available for viewing

By atakamoto from News. Published on Aug 21, 2015.

"Cormorants in the Crosshairs", a documentary by award-winning director, Judy Irving, highlights the Double-crested Cormorants nesting on East Sand Island targeted for slaughter in the name of salmon recovery.

Now Hiring! ECI Program Assistant

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Aug 18, 2015.

ECI Program Assistant
The Corvallis Environmental Center is hiring a part-time Program Assistant for its Edible Corvallis Initiative (ECI). The ECI works to support a sustainable food system in Corvallis.  The primary projects of the ECI are the Corvallis Farm to School Program and SAGE, the Starker Arts Garden for Education. The program assistant reports to the ECI Director and works closely with our Farm to School, Farm to Institution, and SAGE garden managers and coordinators to provide support for ...

A Reinvigorated Battle Cry for the Climate by Jessie Bond

By hilshohoney from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 13, 2015.

For years, conversations around global warming have been volleying back and forth between dire predictions and outright denial. Most of the discussion has centered on scientific data and the economic impact of dealing with climate change. But the plea to protect our planet from the worst effects of rising temperatures has not fully resonated because most people have […]

Hart Mountain

By hilshohoney from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 13, 2015.

Recently, a group of 10 desert enthusiasts, led by Sierra Club High Desert Committee members, visited the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge in south-central Oregon. Hart Mountain is a conservation success story, and it was exciting to see how this area has come back to ecological health since grazing was removed  from the refuge nearly twenty […]

Take Charge!

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Aug 12, 2015.

Take Charge Corvallis believes that Every Action Matters. It highlights the idea that many hands make light work. Even the simple action of turning off a computer when not in use is a first step that contributes to reducing our overall energy consumption in Corvallis.
As a semi-finalist in the Georgetown University Energy competition, Corvallis has everything needed to win the grand prize of $5 million. The city that reduces their residential and municipal energy use the most makes it to ...

Government Documents Reveal That Killing Cormorants Won't Help Columbia River Salmon

By atakamoto from News. Published on Aug 12, 2015.

Aug. 12, 2015: Conservation groups today called for an investigation after agency documents, released last week under court order, showed that killing double-crested cormorants will not benefit salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own biologists found that fish not eaten by cormorants would be eaten by other predators, but nevertheless authorized the killing of more than 10,000 double-crested cormorants and destruction of more than 26,000 cormorant nests on East Sand Island near the mouth of the Columbia.

Action alert: Join Audubon's cormorant call-in day June 17

By thunsdorfer from News. Published on Aug 12, 2015.

June 15, 2015: Help stop the slaughter of East Sand Island cormorants! On Wednesday, June 17, please call the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and tell them to stop scapegoating cormorants for salmon declines caused by the Corps’ refusal to increase river flows through the modification of dam operations.

Marbled Murrelet Citizen Science Training Marks Ten Years with Record Attendance

By atakamoto from News. Published on Aug 11, 2015.

The 10th annual Marbled Murrelet Citizen Science Training had two sessions this year and drew over 100 people from across the state.

National News: August 10, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Aug 10, 2015.

Oak Flat Can Never Be Replaced, Indian Country Today
Saving Oak Flat, Camel City Dispatch op-ed
Apaches take fight for land to D.C., Santa Fe New Mexican editorial
HR2811: Save Oak Flat Act, Library of Congress
The cost-benefit analysis of aerial firefighting - Aerial firefighting is dangerous, expensive and environmentally damaging. So why do we do it?, High Country News
Forest Ethics Board Concerned About Helicopter Training on local forest lands, KOHO Wenatchee

Forest politics, Ketchican Daily News editorial
Obama signs Idaho wilderness bill, Elko Daily Free Press

USFS Firefighting Costs Soar, Spokane Spokesman-Review

Drought's legacy on trees is worth modeling, American Association for the Advancement of Science at EurekAlert
Feds: 'Music wood' poachers targeted Washington old growth maples - Quartet accused of stealing $800k in wood from Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Seattle P-I
Happy Birthday, Gifford Pinchot - The mustachioed Pennsylvania governor left his mark on our natural heritage, Post-Gazette

Stand up for Oregon. No Pipelines. No LNG. Call-in Days of Action! Wednesday August 12th and August 26th (All Day)

By hilshohoney from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 07, 2015.

People from all over the state are standing up to two proposed fracked gas export terminal and pipeline proposals in Oregon and we need you to join us! Last week, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a draft environmental review for the Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline near Astoria Oregon. The Environmental Impact Statement […]

Action alert: Speak up for Portland's trees!

By thunsdorfer from News. Published on Aug 06, 2015.

August 5, 2015: Thanks to everyone who came out to the Urban Forestry Commission Public Hearing on Aug. 4. Please continue to send emails to the City Council and ask them to support code changes that will ensure Portland continues to have large healthy trees in our neighborhoods.

Pop Up Nature Adventures

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Aug 05, 2015.

Outdoor fun before school begins for ages 5 – 13! Join us August 31st through September 4th for a stand alone adventure in nature or a full week of outdoor exploration.

Register here for Full Days, Half Days or a whole week.
Monday – Tree Line Challenge Course
Monday’s pop up adventure features obstacles and games in the oak forest. Learn climbing techniques and safety, try a slackline, and other nature challenges. There will be fun for all ability levels ...

Some things to know about the Clean Power Plan

By sierraandy from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 04, 2015.

Its here! Yesterday President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy revealed the Clean Power Plan. As McCarthy put it, it was “an incredibly wicked cool moment.” But what does it mean? In short, the plan aims to reduce carbon pollution nation wide by 32% by 2030 by putting limits on how much carbon can be […]

The Humble Bumble Gets Its Own Day of Gratitude

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Aug 04, 2015.

Have you been enjoying watching the furry bumble bees visiting your garden flowers? They seem to be out-and-about, buzzing the blossoms just at dawn, and hanging around for that last nectary drop even as the sun sets. Cherish them as they flirt with your oregano and lavender. Despite their apparent bounty in your garden, native... Read more »

The post The Humble Bumble Gets Its Own Day of Gratitude appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Applaud the Clean Power Plan: Release

By trailrunner1991 from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 03, 2015.

The Clean Power Plan is the most significant single action any President has ever taken to tackle the most serious threat to the health of our families: the climate crisis.

Willamette River Revival

By hilshohoney from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jul 31, 2015.

With unseasonably hot temperatures in Portland, lots of people are taking to the Willamette River for recreation and relief. Although the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality states that it “is safe for swimming and other recreational uses” except when combined sewer overflow conditions are present, the portion of the river from the Broadway Bridge to Sauvie […]

Inaugural Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute Serves High-School Students from Rural Areas

By OSPF from . Published on Jul 29, 2015.

Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute held its inaugural session June 21 to 26 at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. High-school students from Arlington, Condon, La Grande and Boise came together to attend the first-ever five-day outdoor learning lab, which is presented by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Eastern Oregon University with support from the Oregon [...]

A Day in Owyhee Country

By hilshohoney from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jul 28, 2015.

The day is decidedly HOT. There is no shade save for the occasional cloud. The view is expansive to say the least. The Owyhee Canyonlands offers up unexpected surprises as well for the intrepid explorer. Pick a point on the map and say “Let’s go here”! Walk cross country past lizards, sparrow nests, sego lilys, a rattlesnake surprise… […]

A Big Welcome to Our Gerhardt and Duke Engage Interns!

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jul 28, 2015.

Sam Diaz

Sam Diaz recently sat down with Allison Giffin and Jerry Chia-Rui Chang to get an inside scoop on this year’s Gerhardt and Duke Engage Interns. 

The Paul Gerhardt Jr. Internship

read more

Your Essential Guidebook to a Wilderness Metropolis

By Caleb Diehl from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jul 27, 2015.

At population 12, in the middle of an ancient rainforest, with no police or government, Jawbone […]

Homes in Oregon are Out of Reach

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jul 27, 2015.

Pam Phan & Christine Corrales

Housing affordability has become a focal concern for many Oregonians. Across communities, finding a place to live that fits within a family's budget has become much more challenging in recent years. Cities throughout Oregon have reported historically low vacancy rates, a common measure for the health of the housing market. Higher vacancy rates indicate more housing options – and often lower rents as a result. While those looking to buy a home are seeing the highest list prices on record in Oregon. 

read more

National News: July 27, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Jul 27, 2015.

Forest Ethics Board Concerned About Helicopter Training on local forest lands, KOHO Wenatchee

Tidwell Endorses Arbitration - Forest Service seeks protection against lawsuits that delay management policies, ClimateWire at NCFP

Trees: They make our lives better, Santa Fe New Mexican editorial

Cliff-jumpers versus condors in SoCal Los Padres National Forest - Can $5,000 fines and jail time protect an endangered species from thrill-seekers?, High Country News
When lightning strikes in high places, Mountain Town News: Summit Daily
Genetic research lays foundation for bold conservation strategies - To save the greatest number of species, should we focus on the most common?, High Country News
The precious common, HCN editorial
Stop the rock-stacking - A writer calls for an end to cairns, High Country News & comments
Misdirection - more on cairns, Mountain Gazette

Metro's Chief Operating Officer: Don't Expand the UGB

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jul 25, 2015.

Mary Kyle McCurdy

1000 Friends of Oregon applauds the recommendation of Metro's Chief Operating Officer that Metro not expand the regional urban growth boundary (UGB) in 2015, but instead focus on how to grow better inside the UGB. The recommendation points out that the region has enough land inside the UGB for the next 20 years' worth of population and employment growth, and then states:

"It is time for our region to move on from the land supply debate and consider actions that will:

read more

Land Use Highlights and Lowlights of the 2015 Oregon Legislative Session

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jul 24, 2015.

Mary Kyle McCurdy

The 2015 Oregon legislative session proved to be quite active on land use issues. 1000 Friends staff tracked over 300 bills and testified on dozens of them. Your financial support enabled us to be in Salem, working closely with allied groups and legislators to defend and improve the land use program. This support also meant we could keep in touch with all of you, letting you know when your voice was critically needed in Salem. Together, we were able to pass a few improvements and defeat many threats to the land use program.

read more

OSPF Member Writes New Hiking Guide for Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail

By OSPF from . Published on Jul 23, 2015.

Anyone who’s taken even a short walk on a beach in Oregon has been on the Oregon Coast Trail. But did you know it’s possible to walk the entire 372-mile length of the coastline? More than half of the Oregon Coast Trail is on the beach, and thanks to the Oregon Beach Bill these sandy [...]

More Logging Won’t Stop Wildfires

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jul 23, 2015.

Contrary to widespread misconceptions, large fires burn mostly at low and moderate intensities. For example, only about 20 percent of the Rim Fire was high-intensity, and only a portion of the land involved was densely forested enough to create snag forest habitat. Moreover, current science indicates that we have less, not more, mixed-intensity wildland fire in our forests now than we did historically. Allowing more fires to burn in backcountry areas will help restore our forest ecosystems.

SAGE Summer Concerts

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Jul 21, 2015.

The wind was blowing and it was a little cold but that didn’t stop over 450 people from attending the first
SAGE Summer Concert of the season. People enjoyed treats from Jason’s Tropical Ice and Francesco’s Gelato while listening to music from The Maharimbas, The Crescendo Show, and Mango Django. There was also good eats from Ploughman’s Lunch and McWeenies. Guests over 21 enjoyed the beer garden that included Two Towns Ciderhouse, Nectar Creek, and Oregon Trail Brewery.
This family ...

The Bill that Should Have Passed – HB 2564: Inclusionary Zoning

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jul 14, 2015.

Mary Kyle McCurdy

Land Use Goal 10 requires that all cities provide residential land zoned to meet the housing needs of all Oregonians. During the 2015 legislative session, 1000 Friends worked with a coalition of organizations, individuals, local governments, and businesses that care about affordable housing in an attempt to pass House Bill 2564, which would have enabled local governments to use inclusionary zoning to provide housing opportunities for all, in every neighborhood. Local governments from Hood River to Lincoln County and Corvallis to Milwaukie supported HB 2564.

read more

2015 Application to the CEC Board of Directors

By corvallisenvironmentalcenter from Corvallis Environmental Center. Published on Jul 14, 2015.

About the Corvallis Environmental Center:

Founded in 1994, the CEC educates, engages and inspires people to get involved in creating a healthy, sustainable community. Every year we reach more than 10,000 people through the programs and outreach activities of our current core program areas:


At Avery House Nature Center we use science-based inquiry to help children and adults connect with nature and learn about our local ecosystems.


Energize Corvallis is dedicated to helping ...

National News: July 13, 2015

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Jul 12, 2015.

Stop the Apache land grab and protect Native American holy land from copper mining - Sign the petition: Don't mine sacred Native American land in Arizona, Credo Action
House GOP: Use disaster fund for wildfires - Part of move to win support to target overgrown forests, Juneau Empire
Forest service - Sawing standards, Missoula Independent

Feds can't steal land they already own, Salt Lake Tribune editorial
‘Satisfaction’ as a Rolling Stone and as a tree farmer - When not promoting sustainable forestry, Chuck Leavell tickles the ivories with Mick and Keith, Portland Press Herald

Green herons are nesting!

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Jul 07, 2015.

Everyone knows the story of the phoenix, a bird that dies or is burned but then rises again from the ashes. It is one of the best known bird myths of the western world. But did you know that the Egyptian hieroglyph for the bird appears to be a heron or egret? What luck to

Common and Free

By Simon Gray from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jul 06, 2015.

Weighing the Merits of Regulated Recreation It’s the fourth of July and I’m parking about a […]

Oregon Rain (a guest blog)

By Kate Taylor from Beyond Toxics. Published on Jul 02, 2015.

By Kate Taylor This blog is republished with permission from Kate Taylor. Originally published in The Cleanest Line, Patagonia. I stand at my kitchen sink, looking out the window as I fill a glass of water. I live in Rockaway Beach a coastal community of 2,500 people, renowned for all that is epic about the Oregon coast:... Read more »

The post Oregon Rain (a guest blog) appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

DeFazio, Huffman, Wyden, Merkley Praise Temporary Ban on Mining Projects in Southwest Oregon Watershed Protection Area Covered By Their Bills in House and Senate

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jun 30, 2015.

Seeking to protect a celebrated collection of world-class salmon and steelhead rivers of the south Kalmiopsis region, U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio and Jared Huffman , as well as Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, applauded the temporary ban on new mining projects in an area covered by a bill the Congressmen and Senators introduced, the Southwest Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act.

Congress Moves to Safeguard Oregon Wildlands and Wild Rivers

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jun 26, 2015.

Oregon’s Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a bill today to add protections from some of the state’s most pristine areas. The bill known as Oregon Wildlands would designate wilderness, national recreation areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers in Western Oregon, including protections for the Wild Rogue River in southwest Oregon.

News from Salem: Can we just adjourn already?

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jun 25, 2015.

Well, we’re nearing the end of the 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature, and I think it’s fair to say it’s going to shake out as a disappointing session for the environmental community. Sierra Club staff have been closely tracking bills and meeting with legislators in Salem to advocate for clean, renewable energy, wildlife protection, […]

The Wilson River Corridor – A Little Something for Everyone

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jun 25, 2015.

Oregon’s renowned public lands offer Oregonians a unique and special lifestyle and provide our state with a  natural legacy–picturesque beauty, diverse wildlife, wild rivers, snow-capped mountains, lush forests–that is the envy of many. Public lands are one of the defining aspects of this great state, and iconic national forests and parks are often the go-to […]

Anti-Displacement Coalition improves Portland’s Comprehensive Plan

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jun 25, 2015.

Pam Phan

Since January, 1000 Friends of Oregon has been working with a growing number of community based organizations, housing, public health, and equity advocates to ask ‘how will Portland develop in the next 20 years? Who gets to call Portland home in the future?’ This ad hoc coalition advocates to include anti-displacement tools that will help make Portland neighborhoods stable, especially for those, as Portland grows, living in the city and who bear the brunt of the loss of affordable choices. 

read more

Leadership Spotlight: Westside Transportation Alliance

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jun 25, 2015.

Sam Diaz

This month, 1000 Friends of Oregon turns its attention to Washington County.

read more

Land Use Summer Reading List

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Jun 25, 2015.

Jason Miner

If you are taking off in July or August, three books hitting the shelves this summer may give you a deeper appreciation for the work of land use planning in Oregon.

read more

Summer Lovin’

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jun 22, 2015.

Show some love for Opal Creek this summer! With bridges, bees, and bands, here’s how. COMPLETE FIRE […]

Low-wattage legislators dim the lights on forestry practices reform

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Jun 18, 2015.

A year ago the editors of the Register Guard urged Oregon legislators to “shine a light on forest sprays.” Our low-wattage legislators did the opposite. Today aerial forest spraying continues unabated. Communities sprayed with poisons remain in the dark while chemical lobbyists hold sway in the offices and back rooms of our legislature. The response... Read more »

The post Low-wattage legislators dim the lights on forestry practices reform appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Audubon calls on U.S. Army Corps to stop the killing of cormorants

By thunsdorfer from News. Published on Jun 15, 2015.

May 27, 2015: The Audubon Society of Portland is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop the killing of Double-crested Cormorants on East Sand Island until legal issues can be resolved.

Logging Industry Lawsuit Demanding Aggressive Cutting Thrown Out By Federal Court

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jun 15, 2015.

A logging industry lawsuit that sought to force the Bureau of Land Management to increase logging on public lands in southwest Oregon was thrown out today by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling vacates a 2013 decision that would have forced the Bureau of Land Management to sell timber even when those sales would have harmed salmon and had detrimental impacts on water quality and recreation.

Land Use Victories in Salem

By craig from The Latest. Published on Jun 04, 2015.

Jason Miner

Today was another busy day in Salem – we're excited to share three legislative updates with you: 

read more

Learn more about Oregon Desert Trail tips and gear from ONDA, REI experts at “Trail Mixer” event

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jun 03, 2015.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association and REI Bend are teaming up to host an event that will offer Oregon Desert Trail skills and information, celebrate volunteers who helped create the trail and provide a grand finale to ONDA’s Oregon Desert Trail Matching Challenge.

Re-Imagining “50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest”

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jun 01, 2015.

The Sierra Club will be publishing a new version of the iconic 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest which is now out of print and out of date. Hopefully this version will include several new hikes, including some in the Clatsop State Forest. We’re very excited to take a new look at all of […]

The Place

By Brian O'Neil from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on May 27, 2015.

I envy those newts who so intimately entwine themselves in the scrumptious looking moss, swimming their […]

Court permits cormorant slaughter to move forward

By thunsdorfer from News. Published on May 27, 2015.

May 11, 2015: On Friday afternoon, Federal District Judge Michael Simon denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop cormorant killing in the Columbia River Estuary before the court rules on a lawsuit to permanently stop the killing filed by Audubon Society of Portland, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Friends of Animals and Wildlife Center of the North Coast. It is expected that the federal government will initiate the slaughter of several thousand birds and an additional several thousand active nests within days.

4 Bowling Lanes. 2 Organizations. 1 Winner.

By from The Latest. Published on May 26, 2015.

Sam Diaz

The month of May brought a unique challenge to 1000 Friends of Oregon’s Land Use Leadership Initiative (LULI): a bowl off against Oregon Environmental Council’s Emerging Leaders Board (ELB).

read more

Beers Made By Walking

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on May 19, 2015.

Beers Made By Walking Brewers to create drinkable portraits of protected lands Beers Made By Walking, a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes and make beer inspired by plants found on the trail, is partnering with McKenzie … Continue reading

Important Notice – Restricted Access for Hikers – UPDATED 6/8

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on May 18, 2015.

Construction begins on the Gold Creek Bridge on Wednesday, May 20, which will result in restricted […]

Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on May 14, 2015.

Public Meeting: Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area Tuesday, May 26th at 6pm Reedsport City Hall, 451 Winchester Ave in Reedsport Summary: Please join us to learn more about a proposed land conservation project along Scholfield Creek near the city of … Continue reading

Portland says "NO" to giant propane export facility

By thunsdorfer from News. Published on May 11, 2015.

May 7, 2015: This morning Mayor Charlie Hales announced he was no longer supporting the proposal to build a giant propane export facility at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6. The Audubon Society of Portland applauds Mayor Hale’s leadership on this issue. The decision to not support an environmental zoning change necessary for this facility to move forward sends a strong message that Portland intends to remain a leader nationally and internationally on addressing global climate change. Audubon and its members have been opposing this facility since it was first announced this September.

Protect Critical Old Growth in the Clatsop State Forest

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 10, 2015.

The “Homesteader” timber sale in the Clatsop state forest calls for the clearcutting of some of the best old growth forest habitat remaining on Oregon’s north coast. The sale features trees over 130 years old and over 200 feet high–relative monsters in a region that has been logged and burned over. Click here to ask […]

Sutton Mountain Wilderness sent to Congress

By Ben Gordon from Press Releases. Published on May 07, 2015.

Senator Jeff Merkley introduced legislation to designate Sutton Mountain Wilderness, a 58,000-acre proposal in the John Day River Basin. This bill has the strong support of Wheeler County and the City of Mitchell, which expect the new wilderness to be a win for economic development and conservation. The Oregon Natural Desert Association has long backed permanent protection for Sutton Mountain.


By Tom Titus from Beyond Toxics. Published on May 05, 2015.

Preface by Lisa Arkin Dr. Tom Titus was a guest speaker at the Legislative Briefing Day for SB 613. SB 613 was introduced as the Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act in the 2015 Legislature. His presentation on amphibians and herbicide exposure was so informative that we asked him to submit his thoughts for... Read more »

The post Overspray appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Local Developer Eli Spevak Promotes Small Spaces with Character

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Apr 30, 2015.

Karli Petrovic

When it comes to building a compact, affordable city, the sticking point often tends to center on aesthetics. Sure, “density” is somewhat of a dirty word, but the dirtiest phrase is often “high-rise apartment building.” Many a neighborhood group has organized around banning this development option in their communities.

read more

HRVRC Organizes to Support Inclusionary Zoning Legislation

By amanda from The Latest. Published on Apr 29, 2015.

Karli Petrovic

As the Oregon Senate considers the bill to repeal the ban on inclusionary zoning—a housing tool that helps local jurisdictions provide affordable housing options in their communities—it’s important to celebrate the 34-25 vote in the House of Representatives and the groups that helped the bill pass. One of these groups was the Hood River Valley Residents’ Committee. HRVRC, a 1000 Friends of Oregon affiliate group, was particularly effective in organizing and getting the city council to pass a resolution in support of HB 2564.

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#NoFastTrack Events – Update Your Calendar!

By trailrunner1991 from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 28, 2015.

Fast Track legislation was introduced two weeks ago and our opposition movement is growing! Here is a list of upcoming events, please attend as many as possible! We are channeling our efforts toward Reps. Bonamici and Schrader, as neither of them have committed to a position yet. Please call their offices to express your concern […]

Fast Track Introduced – What’s in it and what do we do next?

By trailrunner1991 from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 23, 2015.

For the last few months, the Sierra Club, along with environmental and labor allies, have escalated pressure in opposition to fast track legislation. We succeeded in pushing back the introduction of fast track by a number of weeks, raising our voices to ask Senator Wyden to step away from negotiations with Senator Hatch (R-UT). However, […]

News from the Oregon Legislature

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 23, 2015.

Whew! We’ve just crossed the midpoint of the 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature, and it’s been a whirlwind of a session. Sierra Club staff have been closely tracking bills and meeting with legislators in Salem to advocate for clean, renewable energy, wildlife protection, and our state forests. So here, halfway to sine die and […]

Chilling … public health ignored

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Apr 15, 2015.

Over the past year, the issue of exposure to toxic soups of herbicides and other chemicals from aerial helicopter sprays has spurred an outpouring of public indignation! Cases of outright poisoning or suspected harm have been reported in Lane, Curry, Tillamook and Douglas counties. Poisonings of law-abiding Oregonians, innocent by-standers really, were covered by top... Read more »

The post Chilling … public health ignored appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

2015 Spring Star Parties in Oregon State Parks

By OSPF from . Published on Apr 15, 2015.

Want to see where stars are born? This is your chance! Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has teamed up with OMSI and Rose City Astronomers to offer star parties at several state parks this spring. These free viewing parties are a great way to see stars, planets and other celestial sights through telescopes and binoculars of [...]

OSPF Works to Expand Bike Shelter Network in Oregon State Parks

By OSPF from . Published on Apr 15, 2015.

Following a successful 2014 pilot project to construct new bike shelters for cyclists in state park campgrounds and day-use areas, the Oregon State Parks Foundation is currently working with state park managers, local companies and community volunteers to expand the state park bike shelter network and help build Oregon’s reputation as a premier cycling destination. [...]

Experience the amazing Owyhee Canyonlands at ONDA’s High Desert Lecture Series on May 14th

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Apr 03, 2015.

Learn more about what makes the Owyhee Canyonlands special on Thursday, May 14, when the Oregon Natural Desert Association hosts its fourth installment of its inaugural High Desert Lecture Series. In this edition, ONDA Owyhee Coordinator Corie Harlan discusses one of the most spectacular and least-known places in Oregon: the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Botany and geology intertwined: Learn more about high desert plants at High Desert Lecture Series on April 7

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Mar 17, 2015.

Bend plant expert Stu Garrett will share more about how the region’s geological past continues to echo in the plant life today in the third installment of ONDA's popular High Desert Lecture Series.

Third Thursday Potluck & Presentation: Environmental Impacts of Trade Promotion Authority and the TPP

By trailrunner1991 from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 16, 2015.

Third Thursday Potluck & Presentation Join us for a potluck and presentation on the environmental impacts of Trade Promotion Authority, also known as Fast Track, and the TransPacific Partnership.  WHEN: March 19th at 6:00pm  WHERE: Oregon Chapter Sierra Club office (1821 SE Ankeny St. Portland OR)  WHY: Meet, eat, and learn how Congress, the United […]

McKenzie floodplain forest will be home to fish and wildlife forever

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Mar 05, 2015.

Because of you, the abundant fish of the lower McKenzie River will thrive. Another critical piece of their habitat is protected! Continue reading

Next installment of ONDA’s High Desert Lecture Series shares journey on the Oregon Desert Trail

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Feb 18, 2015.

In the second installment of its new High Desert Lecture Series, the Oregon Natural Desert Association on Wednesday, March 11 will welcome Shane Von Schlemp, an adventurer who last summer completed the entire 800-mile Oregon Desert Trail.

OCN Announces the 2015 Priorities for a Healthy Oregon

By Derek Richardson from OLCV News Archive. Published on Jan 30, 2015.

January 15

Today, the Oregon Conservation Network – a coalition of environmental advocates from across Oregon coordinated by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters –together announced their 2015 Priorities for a Healthy Oregon.

“These priorities are the next steps Oregon must take to protect our natural legacy,” said Christy Splitt, OCN coordinator and Oregon League of Conservation Voters External Affairs Director. “Together, OCN will advocate for crucial legislation on a host of issues, from climate change to protecting wildlife and wild places.”

read more

ONDA releases its 2015 calendar of guided restoration trips

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 26, 2015.

More than 20 trips with the Oregon Natural Desert Association into Oregon’s high desert – from rafting expeditions to stewardship projects to hikes with experts – will open for registration on Friday, Feb. 13.

Kickoff to ONDA’s High Desert Lecture Series to explore world of monarch butterflies

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 09, 2015.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association will kick off its new High Desert Lecture Series on Monday, Jan. 26 with "Monarchs and Milkweed: An Evening with Tom Landis." Landis is an expert on the monarch butterfly – an insect known for its bright-orange wings and its amazing migrations of up to 3,000 miles between Canada and Mexico.

#GivingTuesday Resources

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Dec 02, 2014.

#GivingTuesday downloads Want to help spread the word on #GivingTuesday? Here are some graphics you can share on social media and email to your friends. Click here to read the story of Julia and Hugo.      

A generous gift protects an oak woodland

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Dec 01, 2014.

The newest protected area in the Umpqua River Watershed Dale Carey had no idea oak trees would be such a big part of his life. Dale and his wife Joyce Machado retired to 62 acres of oak woodlands on Pollock … Continue reading

Local governments back wilderness for Sutton Mountain

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Nov 07, 2014.

Wheeler County and the City of Mitchell have unanimously backed wilderness for the Sutton Mountain area, a 58,000-acre proposal in the John Day River Basin. It's considered a win for economic development and conservation. The Oregon Natural Desert Association has long backed permanent protection for Sutton Mountain.

Wild Desert Calendar exhibit features best eastern Oregon imagery

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Nov 04, 2014.

ONDA's 2015 Wild Desert Calendar will debut in a reception on Nov. 21 in Sunriver Resort's Betty Gray Gallery.

Beers Made By Walking tasting set for Oct. 15

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Oct 08, 2014.

Beer lovers will have the opportunity to try new beers inspired by hikes around the Central Oregon Backcountry, part of a project by ONDA, Beers Made by Walking, Deschutes Brewery, Worthy Brewing and Crux Fermentation Project.

From the Executive Director: 2014 Progress Report

By OSPF from . Published on Sep 30, 2014.

The Foundation is still recovering from a busy 2014! Board and staff have been working overtime to enrich the visitor experience in your Oregon state parks. The beginning of the new year creates a wonderful opportunity to take a moment and share updates about recent Foundation progress, as well as a look at what’s next [...]

Smith Rock State Park to Host Oregon Archaeology Lecture Series in October

By OSPF from . Published on Sep 29, 2014.

Smith Rock State Park will host its annual Oregon Archaeology Celebration lecture series on Fridays in October. The theme of the 21st annual series is “Oregon or Bust,” and the program will highlight U.S. expansion and settlement of the West. Presentations will be at 7 p.m. in the Smith Rock State Park Welcome Center facility at 10087 NE [...]

Discovery Season Camping Discounts Begin October 1, 2014

By OSPF from . Published on Sep 29, 2014.

Discounts make camping even sweeter. Discovery Season is in effect from October 1 to April 30 at Oregon State Parks, which means discounted rates on regular campsites, deluxe yurts and deluxe cabins for those ready to enjoy the outdoors. Fall is a great time to camp if you’re prepared and don’t mind a few occasional raindrops, [...]

For high desert outdoor adventures, ONDA’s new tool offers info for eastern Oregon & the Oregon Desert Trail

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Aug 27, 2014.

Exploring Oregon’s high desert and the roughly 800-mile Oregon Desert Trail just became easier, as the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) has unveiled a new area of its website devoted to trip reports.

2015 Founders Circle Grant Challenge

By OSPF from . Published on Aug 21, 2014.

The Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund has extended its generous $50,000 challenge grant to help establish our Founders Circle. The first 25 donations of $1,000 in 2015 will be matched dollar for dollar by the MCM Fund. Help us meet the challenge!

OSPF Receives Founders Circle Challenge Grant from Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund

By OSPF from . Published on Aug 21, 2014.

The Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund has issued a generous $50,000 challenge grant to the Oregon State Parks Foundation to help establish our Founders Circle.  Between now and December 31, 2014, the MCM Fund will match the first 25 donations of $1,000 on a dollar-for-dollar basis to support our mission of enriching the Oregon state parks [...]

Join ONDA for Wilderness Weekend, Sept. 18-20

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Aug 14, 2014.

ONDA is putting on three events for Wilderness Weekend in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act: the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the 27th Desert Conference and the WilderFest Block Party.

New resource showcases Sutton Mountain

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Aug 07, 2014.

The Painted Hills -- one of Oregon's Seven Wonders -- is undoubtedly amazing, but right next door is a place brimming with similar beauty and ample recreation opportunity: Sutton Mountain. Discover here The Seven Wonders of Sutton Mountain, the perfect complement to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

What is a Forest Plan…why is it being revised…and why should you care???

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 30, 2014.

By David Mildrexler and Veronica Warnock

A Forest Plan is a document that guides the overall land management direction of a National Forest for a period of about 15 to 20 years.  It is a strategic document that establishes Management Areas (MAs), and develops goals, objectives, standards, and guidelines for resource management within each of these MAs.  A Forest Plan can be likened to a zoning plan that establishes the various approaches to land use on our private lands.  Just as the zoning of private lands is critical to protecting Oregon’s incredible natural heritage and rural areas from unchecked development, the zoning of our National Forests is equally important for protecting the precious natural resources they provide, and biodiversity they support.  At the end of a Forest Plan’s life, these documents are out of date.  For example, on issues like climate change, watershed protection and restoration, and wildlife corridors, science can inform management much different today than it did 20 years ago.  Likewise, a growing human population and technological advancements are placing more and different pressures on our National Forest Lands.

While a description of a Forest Plan might come across as a little dry, let me add these key words to the description; Wild and Scenic Rivers, old growth forests, wildlife corridors and connectivity, Wilderness areas, roadless forests, native fisheries, research, scenery, restoration economy, and the application of best available science to restore our National Forests.  The Forest Plan is the time and place to advocate for the things you love and would like to see on your National Forest.

The Forest Service is combining the Forest Plan Revision for three National Forests within the Blue Mountains, the Wallowa-Whitman, the Umatilla, and the Malheur.  Together these forests span 5.5 million acres, approximately 2.5 times the land mass of Yellowstone National Park. 
The Proposed Action was released in 2010 for public comment.  The Forest Service took those comments and developed six alternatives that are now out for public review.
The time is now to advocate for the protection of our last stands of old growth forests. We need standards and guidelines that maintain healthy and productive soils, protect riparian areas and water quality, and end post fire logging.  It is time for management that protects all of the plants, fish and wildlife that call our beautiful National Forests home.  This is your chance to talk about the big picture issues.  Don’t hesitate and don’t be intimidated.  Express your voice to reflect your issues! 

Attend one of HCPC’s House Parties and learn how to write effective comments!
La Grande - Wednesday July 30th             
Portland -  Thursday August 7th (date change)
For more information about the house parties, check out our website or our HCPC FaceBook page! 

Here are some suggested points to include in your letter:

The Forest Plans Need to Include More Enforceable Standards and Guidelines: The proposed forest plans contain very few standards and guidelines; instead, they are driven by non-enforceable aspiration desired conditions, goals, and objectives.  Incorporating standards and guidelines into forest plans is essential. Standards are the only planning component that are measurable, binding and enforceable thus ensuring environmental protection and planning efficiencies. 

Alternative C Best Addresses the Issues of Access; Economic and Social Well-Being; Livestock Grazing; Old Forest; Recommended Wilderness; and Ecological resilience: The Forest Service is analyzing alternatives A through F, with A being the “no action” alternative – it continues with the forest plans currently in place. Alternative B is the proposed action that was sent out for public scoping in 2010. Alternative C was developed to address conservation concerns and is the most environmentally responsible alternative. Alternative D was developed to address comments received from the timber industry, county governments and motorized interests. Alternative E is the Forest Service’s “preferred alternative” (the one they are leaning towards adopting). Alternative F is very similar to Alternative E –the only difference being the amount of timber outputs produced annually.

While Alternative C responds to many of our concerns, it is not perfect - it still needs to incorporate standards instead of aspirational language. For Example, the road densities within Alternative C should be standards instead of desired conditions. 
Ask for a Balanced Approach to Access: Motorized access to our public lands should not come at such a cost to riparian health, elk security and other wildlife considerations. Reduction in maintenance costs, disturbance to wildlife, and sediment traveling to our streams and rivers will not occur without the adoption of enforceable and measurable standards. 

Current Grazing Management is Unsustainable and Must be Addressed by the Proposed Forest Plans: The Preferred Alternative retains the same number of cattle across the three forests. Current management levels and practices have degraded public rangelands and riparian areas; destroyed water quality; and negatively impacted many threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants. More than 80 percent of wildlife species in the West depend on riparian areas. These areas make up roughly only 1.5 percent of public lands and are disproportionately affected by livestock grazing.  The time is now to rethink how we manage livestock grazing across the Blue Mountains. 

Old Forests Deserve Enforceable and Measurable Protections: The current forest plans for the Blue Mountains were amended to include the “21” rule”. The rule prohibits the logging of trees ≥ 21” dbh. The plans also designate specific old growth forests as areas where commercial logging is prohibited.
The proposed plans do away with old growth management areas and replace the 21” rule with a non-enforceable guideline. Specifically, the guideline states that management activities within “old forest stands should generally emphasize retaining live trees with certain old tree characteristics…tree characteristics and old age many vary by species and site.”
The Blue Mountains are deficient in both old and large trees; trees that provide important habitat values and are fire resiliency. Old trees and old forest must be protected. 

The Preferred Alternative Does not Recommend Enough Wilderness: HCPC and our conservation partners have identified 1.8 million acres of potential new Wilderness on public lands in northeast Oregon, including Joseph Canyon, the birthplace of Chief Joseph. These lands form an irreplaceable web of habitats and wildlife corridors connecting three giant eco-regions—the Northern Rockies, the Northern Basin and Range, and the Pacific Northwest. Think wolves, lynx, moose, bighorn sheep, sockeye salmon, bull trout, and someday even the magnificent California Condor with its 9-foot wingspan.  Despite this incredible opportunity to safeguard these remaining roadless lands, under the preferred alternative the Forest Service is only willing to recommend roughly 5 percent of lands with Wilderness potential to Congress for Wilderness designation. Five percent is not enough! 

Comments on a draft version of forest plans for the three forests can be submitted through August 15, 2014. 
Electronically at: 
Via Mail: Blue Mountains Plan Revision Team, P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814 
Or via Fax: 541-523-6392

Go Behind the Scenes at Oregon State Parks with OSPF Insider Field Trips

By OSPF from . Published on Jul 14, 2014.

You’re invited to join the Oregon State Parks Foundation and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department staff for exclusive insider tours at your state parks. Two exciting field trips remain in the summer series; these FREE excursions are family-friendly and designed to provide unique experiences most park visitors don’t have. Capacity is limited to 25 people [...]


By rocco from Renewable Northwest - Making the Northwest's Clean Energy Potential a Reality.. Published on May 28, 2014.

testing sahring

By renewables from Renewable Northwest - Making the Northwest's Clean Energy Potential a Reality.. Published on May 24, 2014.

Elegy to Tim Lillebo, by Bill Fleischmann

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 19, 2014.

Somewhere in Oregon there is a corner of an office, a closet or attic space where dozens of cardboard tubes are hidden away. Each tube contains several topographical maps, many with scrawled notes about landscapes that he visited. Most of these landscapes were Roadless Areas in National Forests. On most of these maps are drawn boundaries; lines which hope to protect something precious.

Life has boundaries for all of us. Some are limited by income, others by physical impairments, mental limitations, or simply circumstances. Wilderness must be protected within boundaries because deep inside the DNA structure of all humans there is a primitive desire to greedily consume everything which is balanced by an equally primitive need to know that there are still places on maps where the disease of civilization has not yet infected and sickened the land. He understood this.

Wilderness advocates are an odd lot. We gather together reluctantly to protect the lands we love. In 1975, when a group in Bend first formed to protect Roadless Areas of the Deschutes National Forest, there was a slide show and a lecture scheduled in an auditorium on the campus of Central Oregon Community College. As attendees filtered into the room, most seated themselves as far from others as the space allowed, resulting in an audience that resembled an array of free radicals in a biochemistry graph.

If there can be such a thing as a camaraderie of solitary individuals, this room represented exactly that. Wilderness advocates value our isolation not because we crave loneliness but because we require solitude as a respite from the world of civilized chaos that swirls around us and threatens to devour peace of mind. A love of solitude and a desire to be free from the constraints of society form the basis of a desire to protect wild lands. But few individuals stay true to this cause their entire lives, devoting themselves to it. Poring over maps for forty years with a cigarette and a cup of coffee while Red Garland’s Country Little Shack plays in the background.

Tim Lillebo loved those maps. He loved a good blues tune. He loved good coffee and he loved rolling a cigarette while his eyes followed the well spaced loops in a contour line that represented a seep or a bog where elk could wallow in mud and escape biting deer flies in the middle of summer in a remote canyon near Glacier peak. He loved to follow the tight contours of ridgelines where perhaps the last lone wolverine in Oregon was spotted near Monument Rock. He loved to stand in a forest of old ponderosa pines; he called them pumpkin pines, and gaze into the rich yellow and orange hues of their puzzled barks. He loved wild land enough to devote his entire adult life to it, with little monetary reward. If good coffee and blues and a pouch of roll your own could be acquired, Tim was happy. Saving and protecting wild land kept his soul fed. And Oregon will forever benefit from his efforts.

Over the past 40 years most of us wandered away from the cause, nipping at the edges in our respective habitats by signing a petition here, writing a letter to congress there. We had families to raise, careers to chase, dreams to follow. But Tim stayed at it, working every day to draw some protective boundaries around land that is always threatened. One man’s passing does not stop a cause as deeply rooted in the human psyche as Wilderness advocacy, but it certainly sent a tremor wave throughout this odd camaraderie of solitary souls who still seek the solitude of wild places.

Somewhere, in an office or a closet or an attic are dozens of cardboard tubes of topographical maps which should be protected so that future generations can unroll them and study the work of one man who stood for something greater in a world that seems to only reward wealth and power. We should teach those after us to follow those contour lines. Because land will endure long after human effort passes away.

Kitzhaber: “It is time once and for all to say NO to coal exports from the Pacific Northwest."

By Christy Splitt from OLCV News Archive. Published on May 07, 2014.

Doug Moore of Portland, Oregon. Doug is the executive director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.
April 14
From Blue Oregon

Last week, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters held its Annual Celebration for the Environment. Known as Ecoprom, it’s an Earth Day tradition that brings together over 900 people who care about Oregon’s Natural Legacy.

This year, our featured speaker was our own Governor John Kitzhaber. In a speech bookended by a thoughtful remembrance of legendary Oregon Wild advocate Tim Lillebo, the Governor made a statement on coal exports that was nothing short of historic big news.

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Big plans for a green spring

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Mar 20, 2014.

Our supporters share their tips for the home and office

Missing Tim Lillebo

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 17, 2014.

Hells Canyon Preservation Council recently lost a great friend when Tim Lillebo passed away.  Tim went out to shovel snow at his home in central Oregon on Saturday, February 8 and apparently died of a heart attack or another sudden critical health problem.  Along with Tim’s family and many friends, we are mourning his loss and celebrating the bright spirit of Tim Lillebo.

In many ways, Tim was a living symbol of the forests of eastern Oregon.  He was born and raised here and he devoted his career to protecting and restoring old growth forests, clean waters, and habitat for fish and wildlife.  Back in the 1970s, Tim was hired by the Oregon Wilderness Coalition which later became Oregon Wild.  He worked there continuously until his recent death.  Tim was a man with strong principles and a deep land ethic.  He also had a unique ability to connect with people and work through difficult issues with people who disagreed with him.  And somehow, he was able pull this off with a twinkle in his eye.

In the early days, Tim successfully worked to gain Wilderness protections for some of the last remaining wild and roadless National Forest lands in eastern Oregon.  He also fought logging projects that were cutting down some of the last remaining old growth trees left on public lands.  Here at the HCPC office, we have a photo of Tim walking around the base of a huge old ponderosa pine tree marked with blue paint, indicating that the tree was marked to be cut.  This pine tree looks to be over five feet across at the base and it would have been centuries old.  I don’t know if Tim was able to save this particular tree, but he loved big old pines with thick, yellow plated bark and he devoted much of his life to saving them.

During the past several years, Tim worked to protect and restore the forests by working with collaborative groups for the National Forests of eastern Oregon.  Membership in these groups includes timber industry, logging interests, and local county commissioners.  As you may imagine, there are significant differences of opinion within these groups, but Tim was exceptional in his ability to sit down and talk respectfully with people of many different viewpoints. 

Tim grew up in John Day and La Grande and his grandfather was a logger.  These experiences helped him relate to people in the collaboratives, but I think that more importantly he was a genuinely caring person.  He worked to find solutions that would truly benefit the forests as well as the people and communities nearby.  He made sure that projects described as forest restoration would in fact restore forest conditions and reverse the effects of past logging and fire-exclusion.  He stuck to his principles but he gave respect to others and he received it in kind.

I really got to know Tim over the past several years while we worked together as members of the collaborative groups for the Umatilla and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.  I’m really grateful for the many conversations that we shared, for the time that we spent together and for the work that we were able to accomplish together in partnership. 

When Tim and I would speak on the phone he would greet me by saying, “How ya doin’, rascal?”  Well, right now, the honest answer is that I miss Tim terribly and it feels like there’s a hole as big as Hells Canyon left behind where he used to be.  Tim had the courage of a bear, a heart the size of a mountain, and the brilliant flash of a red-tailed hawk.  He taught me a lot about conservation work.  He left behind a legacy of accomplishments to benefit the public lands, forests and people of the Blue Mountain region.  All of us here at HCPC will use this legacy as an inspiration to motivate our conservation work into the future.

Tim and I attended a collaborative meeting together on the day before he died.  As I left the meeting and walked across the snowy parking lot, I heard him call my name and I looked over to see him smiling and waving broadly over his head.  I waved back.  Good-bye, Tim.  Well miss you. 

- Brian Kelly, Restoration Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Funding eco-activism like the United Way

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Feb 13, 2014.

Goodbye to a key forest advocate and our friend

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Feb 10, 2014.

The Oregon environmental community lost a true icon this weekend with the untimely death of Oregon Wild’s Tim Lillebo.

Your Comments Needed NOW

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 07, 2014.

Please help protect the Joseph Canyon area--an important part of your National Forest lands and waters. 

You can submit scoping comments on the Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project until Monday, February 10 at 5 PM.

Comments should be sent to John Laurence, Forest Supervisor, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, at comments-pacificnorthwest-wallowa-whitman@fs.fed.uswith reference to Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project.

HCPC has been participating in collaborative groups to encourage the Forest Service to include important protections into the project design.

The Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project has the potential to align with sound forest management principals if important protections are included.

These protections include:

  • Protect all old trees, large trees, old growth forests, and previously un-logged forests from logging.
  • Protect all roadless areas and potential wilderness areas from logging.
  • No construction of new roads or temporary roads should be allowed.
  • Roads that are unneccessary or harmful to fish and wildlife habitat should be closed and restored.
  • Wildlife habitat should be protected and improved.
  • Aquatic restoration projects to improve fish habitat and water quality should be included in the project.
  • Two new Research Natural Areas should be created.

The Forest Service has been receiving comments from people who want to keep ALL of the roads open, want MORE logging, and want MORE roads.

This is your opportunity to comment on behalf of old growth forests and fish and wildlife habitat.

Here is a description of the proposed action
Click here for maps and more information.

OCN announces 2014 Priorities for a Healthy Oregon

By Christy Splitt from OLCV News Archive. Published on Jan 27, 2014.

January 14
SALEM - Today, the Oregon Conservation Network, a coalition of 40 groups across the state, released their shared Priorities for a Healthy Oregon for the 2014 legislative session.
“In this short session, we want to focus on just a few issues that really bring together our community and all Oregonians,” said Christy Splitt, coordinator of the Oregon Conservation Network. “Addressing climate change is at the top of that list.”

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Wildlife Watchers Field Report for 2013

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 17, 2014.

From HCPC Restoration Director Brian Kelly:

We were hoping that by the middle of last June that we’d be able to drive up to Dunns Bluff.  The bluff is an impressive rock outcrop near the edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  But as we climbed higher and higher on the rough Forest Service road, we found ourselves busting through deeper and deeper snowbanks.  The back of the four-wheel drive pickup truck was loaded with wildlife cameras, meat for bait, trapper’s lure for attracting wildlife, cables, locks, tools and an assortment of hardware.  All of this bounced around in the back of the pickup making enough racket to scare away just about any wild animal within a mile.  At the time, it seemed like a strange way to attract wildlife, but we knew that once things quieted down, we’d get some good wildlife photos.  Finally, we had to accept the fact that there was just too much snow for us to drive to our destination.  And it was too far to walk.  We turned the truck around and retreated for the day with a promise to return.

meat (bait) was placed inside metal cylinders  

Within a week, the weather turned hot and the sun made short work of those persistent snowbanks.  Soon the road was clear and we were able to drive near Dunns Bluff and then hike into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.  Before too long, we had installed eleven motion-activated cameras in strategic locations in old growth forests of mountain hemlock, Engelmann spruce, sub-alpine fir, grand fir, lodgepole pine and western larch.

At Hells Canyon Preservation Council, we actively work to protect the important lands and waters of the greater Hells Canyon region.  Fragmentation of habitat from roads and logging can be a significant threat to the connectivity of important habitats such as old-growth forests.  During the past few years, we’ve advocated to protect the habitat of the Castle Ridge area and worked with the US Forest Service to achieve protections for habitat connectivity in this important landscape.  Castle Ridge is an 8,790 acre roadless area on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest located between the Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Grande Ronde Valley.  Through the Wildlife Watchers program, we collaborate with the US Forest Service to monitor wildlife in important habitats that are essential to the connectivity of the region.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council staff, volunteers from our membership, and Forest Service wildlife specialists work together to accomplish the many tasks that the Wildlife Watchers project entails. 

Volunteer Allan Gorthy sets up trail camera
The first order of business to start the field season was to review the available data and maps for likely habitat.  This was followed by field reconnaissance.  Then we hiked into the backcountry while packing in a variety of equipment and supplies.  When we found a good location for a camera point, we set up the camera, strapped it to a tree and locked it in place.  We set up bait in bear-proof cylinders and we applied lure to attract wildlife close to the cameras.  After installation, the cameras’ sensors snapped photos when wildlife came into view.  The cameras were programmed appropriately for each site and then they were revisited every two weeks for maintenance.  The memory cards were checked, the photos were viewed, stored and filed, and the wildlife species were identified.

The eleven cameras captured photos of northern flying squirrel, bobcat, mountain lion, black bear, mule deer, white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk, Douglas squirrel, bushy-tailed wood rat and coyote.

 Three wildlife species of particular interest in the Castle Ridge area are the American marten, wolverine, and the wolf.  We were disappointed that we did not capture any photos of these species with our eleven trail cameras during the field season.  However, it’s important to note that the absence of photographs does not necessarily mean that these animals are not present or traveling through the area or utilizing the habitat during certain seasons.  

Wolverines were recently documented in the Eagle Cap Wilderness just to the east of the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.  DNA analysis of one of these wolverines showed a genetic relationship to the wolverines of Idaho and we assume that their travel corridor was through the connected habitat of the greater Hells Canyon region.  American martens were also photographed in the Eagle Caps during this recent wolverine research.  The American marten is considered to be a management indicator species because it is associated with old growth forests in northeast Oregon and so it has been a species of particular interest for the Wildlife Watchers program.  Wolves have entered Oregon from Idaho through the Hells Canyon region as well.  Since wolf recovery in Oregon is an important recent development, there is much interest in their whereabouts in the local landscape.

When wildlife travel into the Pacific northwest from the Rocky Mountain region, they often enter through the wild lands of northeast Oregon.  Moose, wolverines, and wolves have all come into Oregon this way over the past few years.  This is not surprising because the Wallowa Mountains, Blue Mountains, Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils are rich with interconnected lands and waters providing an amazing diversity of quality habitat.

The snow returned to Castle Ridge in October.  After hiking in through a few inches of fresh new snow, we removed the cameras for the season.  It had been a successful field season of collaboration with the Forest Service and volunteers.  We collected valuable wildlife information that will be used to inform future decisions that affect the land management of the area.  Through the Wildlife Watchers project, we are connecting people to the land while we work to protect the connections of important habitats across the landscape. 

Hells Canyon Preservation Council appreciates the efforts of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and of the HCPC volunteers who make this program possible.  We would also like to thank our funding partners—Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Mazamas, and Patagonia.

If you are interested in becoming a Wildlife Watchers volunteer in 2014, please contact HCPC  Restoration Director Brian Kelly at

COCN Announces Priority for a Healthy Central Oregon

By Nikki Roemmer from OLCV News Archive. Published on Jan 14, 2014.

January 14

BEND — Today, the Central Oregon Conservation Network (COCN) announced its second Priority for a Healthy Central Oregon by declaring support for the protection of the Whychus-Deschutes area.

The priority and campaign to Protect Whychus-Deschutes seeks support from local elected officials and community members for permanent designation such as wilderness for the Whychus-Deschutes area to ensure that this spectacular landscape remains wild for future generations. “Whychus-Deschutes has importance for the environment, recreation and the economy,” explained Nikki Roemmer, OLCV Central Oregon Regional Director and COCN Coordinator. “Our region is growing again, and we need to seize this opportunity to protect one of the places that makes Central Oregon so special.”

Winding through rugged canyons, Whychus Creek is one of Central Oregon’s most important waterways. It provides prime spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead and is crucial winter range for mule deer and other wildlife. Whychus Creek and the Middle Deschutes River to the east are popular recreation destinations, with thousands of visitors fishing, hiking and exploring the canyons each year. In spite of the importance of Whychus Creek and the Deschutes River to our region, the confluence of these two waterways lacks permanent protection. “Confluences are critical for wild fish populations and this location is vitally important for native redbands and recently reintroduced steelhead and Chinook salmon.” said Darek Staab, with Trout Unlimited, adding, “We are excited to help protect this important area for our future and I'm thrilled that our Central Oregon Conservation Network members also support this as a priority."

To learn more about the Protect Whychus-Deschutes campaign, join OLCV for a presentation at its monthly gathering, Pints and Politics, on Thursday, January 16th. Gena Goodman-Campbell of the Oregon Natural Desert Association joins us for a presentation about this spectacular area needing protection. Come to learn, ask questions and find out how you can get involved. Thursday, January 16th from 7 pm – 9 pm at Broken Top Bottle Shop, 1740 NW Pence Lane #1 in Bend. Details at

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters Education Fund coordinates the Central Oregon Conservation Network (COCN), a growing coalition of 9 local organizations that work with elected officials and community members to protect the region’s environment and natural legacy. COCN sets Priorities for a Healthy Central Oregon each spring and fall.

Learn more about COCN, Protect Whychus-Deschutes and other priorities at

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters Education Fund works to increase the political effectiveness of Oregon's environmental community by educating, training, and coordinating citizens and organizations.



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The Forest Connection

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 13, 2014.

An excerpt from Michael Pollan's  recent New Yorker article "The Intelligent Plant."
The most bracing part of Mancuso’s talk on bioinspiration came when he discussed underground plant networks. Citing the research of Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia, and her colleagues, Mancuso showed a slide depicting how trees in a forest organize themselves into far-flung networks, using the underground web of mycorrhizal fungi which connects their roots to exchange information and even goods. This “wood-wide web,” as the title of one paper put it, allows scores of trees in a forest to convey warnings of insect attacks, and also to deliver carbon, nitrogen, and water to trees in need.
When I reached Simard by phone, she described how she and her colleagues track the flow of nutrients and chemical signals through this invisible underground network. They injected fir trees with radioactive carbon isotopes, then followed the spread of the isotopes through the forest community using a variety of sensing methods, including a Geiger counter. Within a few days, stores of radioactive carbon had been routed from tree to tree. Every tree in a plot thirty metres square was connected to the network; the oldest trees functioned as hubs, some with as many as forty-seven connections. The diagram of the forest network resembled an airline route map.
The pattern of nutrient traffic showed how “mother trees” were using the network to nourish shaded seedlings, including their offspring—which the trees can apparently recognize as kin—until they’re tall enough to reach the light. And, in a striking example of interspecies coöperation, Simard found that fir trees were using the fungal web to trade nutrients with paper-bark birch trees over the course of the season. The evergreen species will tide over the deciduous one when it has sugars to spare, and then call in the debt later in the season. For the forest community, the value of this coöperative underground economy appears to be better over-all health, more total photosynthesis, and greater resilience in the face of disturbance.
In his talk, Mancuso juxtaposed a slide of the nodes and links in one of these subterranean forest networks with a diagram of the Internet, and suggested that in some respects the former was superior. “Plants are able to create scalable networks of self-maintaining, self-operating, and self-repairing units,” he said. “Plants.”
As I listened to Mancuso limn the marvels unfolding beneath our feet, it occurred to me that plants do have a secret life, and it is even stranger and more wonderful than the one described by Tompkins and Bird. When most of us think of plants, to the extent that we think about plants at all, we think of them as old—holdovers from a simpler, prehuman evolutionary past. But for Mancuso plants hold the key to a future that will be organized around systems and technologies that are networked, decentralized, modular, reiterated, redundant—and green, able to nourish themselves on light. “Plants are the great symbol of modernity.”

2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey Results

By admin from OLCV News Archive. Published on Oct 22, 2013.

Oregon Values and Beliefs Project
October 22, 2013

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2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey Results

By Andrew Hogan from OLCV News Archive. Published on Oct 22, 2013.

Oregon Values and Beliefs Project
October 13

The Oregon Values and Beliefs Project has released the results of three statewide surveys they conducted in April and May of this year. The results highlight the Oregon values and beliefs that we share.

In particular, there are three environmental issues that many Oregonians care deeply about:

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SB863 passes both the House and Senate

By Andrew Hogan from OLCV News Archive. Published on Oct 02, 2013.

Andrew Hogan
October 13

This afternoon, both the Oregon House and Senate passed SB863, which bars local governments from regulating GMOs. SB 863 passed the House 32-22, and the Senate 17-12. For more information on the bill and how votes were cast, click here.

We at OLCV cannot say THANK YOU enough to the thousands of Oregonians who have taken action and generated phone calls and emails over the past 15 days. Our members and supporters make a difference.

A humbling hike to South Sister

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Sep 29, 2013.

Nature enthusiast, EarthShare employee and contributor Meghan Humphreys finds danger and gratefulness in the wild.

Big Win for Wildlife

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Sep 25, 2013.

Antelope Ridge Energy Project Has Been Stopped

The proposed Antelope Ridge wind power project has been stopped.  Citing current market conditions, developer EDP Renewables withdrew its application with Oregon Department of Energy to build wind turbines and a new road system in important wildlife habitat adjacent to the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.  

This is very good news for local wildlife.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council strongly supports energy conservationand responsible renewable energy development.  However, it's essential that renewable energy projects must be located on appropriate sites and that wildlife and their habitat are protected in the process.   

The Antelope Ridge project proposal certainly presented significant threats to local wildlife.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council actively worked to address these concerns through advocacy, education, and collaboration.  We testified at a public hearing and submitted detailed comments to Oregon Department of Energy on behalf of wildlife and their habitat.  We received sign-on in support for our comments from Oregon Natural Desert Association, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Audubon Society of Portland.  We met with Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Energy, EDP Renewables, and the local grassroots group Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley as part of our efforts to protect wildlife and address the negative impacts of the proposed project.     

EDP Renewables had proposed to build 164 turbines over 47,000 acres of private land in the hills just south of the Grande Ronde Valley.  Antelope Ridge would have been built immediately north of EDP’s existing Elkhorn Valley wind facility where four golden eagles have been found dead since May 2009, presumably killed by wind turbines.  Since Antelope Ridge would be larger and located closer to eagle nesting areas, the likelihood of more golden eagle deaths would be high, according to US Fish & Wildlife Service.

According to comments from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, “The Project is one of the first wind power projects in Oregon proposed to be sited in critical big game winter range and very productive wildlife habitat, resulting in the construction of a large industrial structure that negatively affects Oregon’s wildlife.”

Burrowing owls, Swainson’s hawk, and red-tailed hawks nest within the project area.  Four species of bats were identified within the proposed project area.  A potential sage-grouse lek is located near the southern end of the project.  The sensitive plant species Douglas clover and Oregon semaphore grass grow in the project area as well. 

Antelope Ridge would have been constructed just south of Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, northeast Oregon’s largest remaining wetland.  It would have been built about a dozen miles west of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  Forests, sagebrush /grasslands and wetlands provide key wildlife habitat in the project area.  Wildlife travel through the project area, and it’s an important wildlife connectivity corridor.  In fact, the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group has identified the area as an important habitat link between the essential habitats of the Wallowa Mountains and the Blue Mountains.  A new road system would have fragmented habitat, and birds and bats would have been killed by the blades of the turbines.  Locating a large wind power project in critical big game habitat would be harmful to elk and deer and would set a terrible precedent for future projects.

The Antelope Ridge project has been more or less on hold for the past year.  While the withdrawal of the application is welcome news, it's worth noting the following statement in the letter from the developer:

"Although current market conditions do not allow us to proceed with the application process at this time, we look forward to building upon the strong precedent that has been set in coordination with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Governor’s Office to potentially restart project permitting in the future."

So while the recent withdrawal of the application is very good news, it's possible that a new application may be developed sometime in the future.

For the time being, however, this is very good news for eagles, elk, bats, hawks, owls, deer, and other wildlife species.  It’s also good news for the protection of the Ladd Marsh wetlands and the important wildlife connectivity corridors found within the project area.  And it’s good news for people who care about wildlife.

Renewable energy is a very good thing.  The earth’s future hangs in the balance over how well we are able to conserve energy and develop clean energy production.  However, renewable energy projects must be developed on appropriate sites.   And it’s essential that we protect wildlife and their habitat in the process. 

Story & photo by Brian Kelly,
Restoration Director

Tell Governor Kitzhaber: No Deal on GMOs

By admin from OLCV News Archive. Published on Sep 23, 2013.

September 23, 2013

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By sschroeder from All News. Published on Sep 13, 2013.

Find and subscribe to up-to-date news, events and volunteer opportunities.

OCN Priority will curb suction dredge mining permits

By Christy Splitt from OLCV News Archive. Published on Aug 13, 2013.

Paul Fattig
July 13
Paul Fattig, Medford Mail Tribune

Medford Mail Tribune

July 17, 2013

Author: Paul Fattig

A measure passed by the state Legislature earlier this month aims to cut nearly two-thirds of the permits allowed for suction-dredge mining in Oregon's salmon-bearing rivers, including the Rogue River.

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Update on Bighorn Protection from Darilyn Parry Brown

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 28, 2013.

Hells Canyon Preservation Council is a member of a regional Bighorn Advocacy Group whose primary aim is to see wild bighorn sheep herds in eastern Idaho, northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington gain the permanent protections they need to thrive in their native habitat.  HCPC has been a key advocate for bighorn herds in the greater Hells Canyon area for nearly a decade.  Though again and again, we’ve won our battles to protect bighorns in the courts, these victories are still not secured.

When I first came on as HCPC’s Executive Director early 2012, I took the lead on HCPC’s work to ensure lasting protections for wild bighorn herds in the Hells Canyon Country.  Most recently these efforts have focused on urging the Forest Service to follow their own Record of Decision released in 2010 that closes certain domestic sheep grazing allotments in the Salmon and Hells Canyon bighorn herds’ habitats and mandates deliberate risk reduction measures be put in place on open allotments.

Wild bighorn sheep are extremely susceptible to a pathogen carried by domestic sheep. Bighorn sheep die-offs have been on-going in Hells Canyon for over twenty years.  In 1991, the Forest Service publicly acknowledged one of the first documented die-offs in Hells Canyon when ninety percent of the Seven Devils bighorn herd was wiped out.  Other documented die-offs in the region date back even further.  In 1986, a massive bighorn die-off was discovered in the nearby Wallowa Mountains within the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon.  This was not the first die-off, but was the most devastating.  The discovery of the diseased carcass of “Spot,” the largest bighorn ram ever found in the continental United States, and the loss of over two-thirds of the herd (66 animals) to disease in a period of a few weeks, was a tragedy that attracted substantial public attention.  The cause of the die-off was determined to be pneumonia linked to Pasteurellabacteria.  In 1992, there was another massive bighorn die-off, this time in the Hells Canyon NRA in the Sheep Creek drainage on the Idaho side of the Canyon.  The culprit was again verified as pneumonia symptoms tied to Pasteurella bacterial infection.  Other die-offs have followed since, in herds within Hells Canyon as well as other nearby areas. 

Unfortunately, the Forest Service is not implementing or enforcing meaningful risk reduction measures. During the past two grazing seasons there were numerous instances where herders and/or herd dogs were not evidently present with their bands, animals were scattered and not recovered, and observers noted sheep outside allotments - in the areas with the greatest likelihood of domestic sheep and bighorn contact. Scattering events and sheep unaccounted for contribute to increased risk of contact between wild bighorn and domestic sheep. 
In September 2012, a foraying ewe was sighted on three different occasions by hunters on the Grassy Mountain allotment that was just vacated that season due to the 2010 decision to close allotments.  Had we not challenged the Payette National Forests’ interpretation of the Simpson Rider intended to stop the implementation of grazing allotment closures just a few months earlier, there would have been domestic sheep on the allotment where the ewe forayed. This was a very narrow miss that could have proven disastrous to an entire herd of wild bighorn.     
Due to a lack of adequate “contact risk reduction” action on the part of the Payette National Forest, in March HCPC submitted a letter to Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom urging him to adopt recommendations drawn up by the Bighorn Advocacy Group that outlined a realistic set of tools for reducing risk to the Salmon and Hells Canyon bighorn sheep herds. On June 10th, Supervisor Lannom hosted a meeting in response to ours and other members of the Bighorn Advocate Groups’ letters. However, domestic sheep had already been turned out on the allotments of concern (on June 1st).  Half an hour prior to the meeting, we were provided with a hard copy of the Forests’ Response to our recommendations. 
The Forest chose not to adopt any substantive portion of the recommendations; instead, they chose to use the following rationale to comply with the 2010 ROD: “The Forest Service sets permit requirements and allows the permittee to establish the management context...”  I think it is accurate to say, HCPC and our allies in attendance, which included representatives from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Nez Perce, Western Watersheds, and The Wilderness Society, are extremely discouraged by the Forest Service’ response.
Bighorn protection is not a popular idea among the small number of permittees who utilize our public lands to support massive domestic sheep operations in Idaho.  These powerful few have lobbied hard and continue to put tremendous pressure on the Forest Service to place their interests above those of threatened bighorn sheep.  Due to this heavy pressure, the victories we’ve worked so hard on over so many years for wild bighorn are not yet fully realized and we know we have to dedicate elevated efforts to the cause. 
Since the June meeting with the Payette, Veronica Warnock, HCPC’s Conservation Director, has taken the point on HCPC’s bighorn work. HCPC remains committed to saving wild bighorn herds.  Veronica and the Bighorn Advocacy Group will keep the pressure on the Payette Forest Service—and the heavily subsidized grazing permittees—as long as it takes to gain lasting protections for these magnificent animals of the canyons.
 - Darilyn Parry Brown
Executive Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Protecting Our Liquid Gold

By Nikki Roemmer from OLCV News Archive. Published on Jul 18, 2013.

The Source Weekly

Published: July 18, 2013

We live in a desert. Water is precious. That much should be agreed upon.

Fortunately, we have a newly formed Central Oregon Conservation Network (COCN), a dream team collection of area environmental organizations, which is watchdogging how the region and regional agencies manage this resource—and, more keenly, what infrastructure is being planned and installed to manage this resource. The most recent battleground over this issue is the city of Bend's nearly $70 million Surface Water Improvement Project (SWIP).

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Snow Basin Update

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 28, 2013.

HCPC is seeking a Preliminary Injunction to stop the release and logging of two timber sales in the Snow Basin Vegetation Management Project.  The Skull and Empire sale areas within the project contain thousands of old growth trees and Bull trout habitat.  
On July 8th, HCPC Executive Director Darilyn Parry Brown testified in federal court to the fact the Forest Service WILL cut large old-growth trees, particularly on the Skull sale, if an injunction is not awarded.  
HCPC staff and volunteers visited old growth trees and stands in Skull in May and July provided proof the Forest Service is planning to remove many more ancient trees than it originally disclosed through the NEPA process, thus violating many environmental laws and its own decision.  
Judge Hernandez’s decision on the injunction is expected by July 18th when the Skull sale is scheduled to be released.

Humor, Facts, and Fundraising - Tom Lang's books

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 14, 2013.

It was at the Green Action Day in Portland, back in May, when Tom Lang walked up to the HCPC booth and introduced himself to HCPC’s Restoration Director Brian Kelly.  They got to talking, sharing interests in protecting wild places and blues music.  Tom, impressed with HCPC’s accomplishments, came up with a way he could support that work.  As an author, selling his books from his website, he could offer HCPC part of the proceeds of the sales of his books.  Their discussion continued through emails, and came up with a plan. 
Starting July 12th, 20% of the purchase price of books purchased through Tom’s website and entered with the “HCPC” code will help fund HCPC’s work to protect, restore and connect.   

This creative way to help HCPC is part of the funding “patchwork quilt” that keeps HCPC going, along with memberships, monthly River Runner donors, major gifts, bequests, grants, funding through EarthShare, and event income.  Every piece of the quilt is important, and HCPC is delighted to have Tom Lang contributing his piece.

You can read excerpts from Tom’s books below and on his website.  Tom’s personal eye view from the perspective of the animals he writes about includes a generous helping of humor leavened with detailed factual information.  He seems to find the crux of the interaction between people and the wildlife and help us look on both sides of the equation.  Anthropomorphizing? Yes, but with a point – and a very useful one.  Laughter is a way to get us outside our comfort zone – looking at ourselves, looking at others from a different place.  We mammals (and fish J) have more in common than we are usually willing to admit … and the about-face brings us closer to our connections.

Here’s an excerpt from Tom’s book “Bear”, giving us that “about-face” look:
“I’m a big, bad Alaskan brown bear and I get a little angry now and then. So shoot me. I don’t live in a fairy tale world where the worst thing that can happen is a smelly human eats my porridge and sleeps in my bed. I live in the real world. One day you’re walking down a trail smelling the flowers, the next your head’s hanging on a cabin wall and the humans are sitting on your butt in front of the fireplace.” 

Here’s a short excerpt from Tom’s book “Salmon”, showing off his skill for weaving in factual trivia -

“I’ve always been an emotional fish. My friends attribute my moods to my overly sensitive lateral lines, pores that run down my body from head to tail. These pores hook up with a canal under my skin that connects up with my brain, helping me sense minute disturbances and subtle movement. That’s how I can pick the best current, swim through murky water and maintain the tight formation of my school.
But I think my sensitivity has more to do with unresolved issues from my troubled childhood. My mother and father died when I was conceived. I lived under 6 inches of gravel in Chilkat Lake for 6 months before I emerged as a fry. I fought for a year with my 4000 brothers and sisters over cheap crustaceans and microscopic algae slop–green desmids, blue diatoms and blue-green dinoflagellates. I huddled in fear of swim-by killings when the Chars, a crazed fish gang high on zooplankton, would wipe out 90 of my siblings in one swallow.”

For a look at how Tom uses humor with great effect, here’s an excerpt from “Moose”:
“She walked into my office, all 800 pounds of sweet lean Alaskan moose sashaying my way. A light rust tint sparkled off her golden brown hair. She bent over, stripped a willow branch with her mouth and ate slow, like I wasn’t there. She looked up at me. Water lilies danced in the swampy ponds of her eyes.
“I’m Cervida and I’m missing my male.”
“I’ll bet he’s missing you, too.”
“That’s not what I mean. He’s missing. Gone.”
“How long has he been gone?”
“Three days.”
“That’s not long.”
“It is for one of my bulls. I tell my males when it’s time to be missing and when it’s time to be gone.”
“Look, you beautiful cow, you’re not here to give me a physical and this ain’t no restaurant. So, what can I do for you?”
“I hear you’re the best.”
“Best at what?”
“Finding things.”
“I’m not bad.”
“No, you’re not.”
She chewed the leaf slowly as we stood staring at each other.
“Are you free to find my male?”
“I ain’t free and I ain’t cheap.”
“Neither am I,” she said.
I stripped a branch from above me and chewed and stared while she chewed and stared back.
“Sure, Ms. Cervida–”
“Call me Vida.”
“Okay, Vida, I’ll graze around and see what I can find.”
I’m Al Gigas, moose detective. I’ve roamed the mean riverbeds of the Chilkat Valley for ten years and I’ve seen things no creature should ever see and I’ve seen creatures that will never see again. A missing moose is a bad sign but I didn’t mention that to Vida. She wasn’t the first ungulate to walk into my office looking for a loved one. I’ve had brothers looking for brothers, calves for mothers, mothers for calves. I find things, Vida was right about that. But what I find this time of year would be better if it stayed lost.
October was almost here.”

Enjoy a fun read, learn a lot, and support HCPC's work! 
- Danae Yurgel
  HCPC Office Administrator

July 2013 -- The Water Issue

By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Jul 11, 2013.

Wildlife Watchers Project Begins New Season

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 13, 2014.

Despite the uncertainties of weather and the persistence of lingering snow banks, Hells Canyon Preservation Council’s Wildlife Watchers Program is up and running for the 2013 field season.  

In a partnership with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, we’ve started the third season of documenting wildlife using motion-triggered wildlife cameras.  We are particularly interested in finding the American marten (“pine marten”) which is considered a management indicator species by the Forest Service.  After scouting out a variety of forested areas, we installed cameras in locations showing the best characteristics for marten habitat. To attract martens to the cameras, we apply a smelly, gooey substance known as marten lure.  This year, we are also hoping to entice martens to the cameras by placing chicken meat inside metal tubes cabled to a tree.  The tubes are large enough for a marten to crawl in but too small for bears and ravens to be able to access the bait.

Even though summer is officially here, the snow banks live on in the high country.  Moss Springs is above Cove, Oregon and sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level. When we drove there this year in mid-June, the snow was gone.  But as we drove north from Moss Springs toward Point Prominence and gained a bit of elevation, we soon hit snow.   It was deep enough to warrant turning around the four-wheel drive pickup while we still had the chance.  A week later, about three inches of new snow fell near the 7,000 foot level in the local mountains, just a couple of days before the Summer Solstice. Still, the weather forecasts predict 90 degree days before the end of June.

Welcome to early summer in the Blue Mountains.

After turning back to avoid the snow, we circled back and approached the area from lower elevation in the Indian Creek drainage.  We located suitable spots for the cameras and got them set up to start another season of sampling.

In 2011, the Wildlife Watchers photographed martens in the Elkhorn Mountains and also in the Mount Emily area.  In 2012, we sampled the Castle Ridge area between the Grande Ronde Valley and the Eagle Cap Wilderness boundary.  Surprisingly, we did not capture any photos of American martens there.  Interestingly, however, another old growth associated species, the northern flying squirrel was detected at almost 50% of the camera stations.     

This year, we returned to the Castle Ridge area, and are now sampling in new and different places.  We are also targeting areas where marten tracks were recorded in the past.  We hiked deeper into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area and installed cameras in some forested areas showing habitat characteristics that martens typically utilize.  We are also interested in the possibility that we may catch a photograph of wolverines or wolves moving from the Wilderness into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.

HCPC appreciates the efforts of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and the HCPC volunteers who make this program possible.  We would also like to thank  our funding partners - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Mazamasand Patagonia. Stay tuned for more reports!   

- Brian Kelly
  HCPC Restoration Director       

June 2013 - "Your Share" E-newsletter

By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Jun 18, 2013.

Finding Common Ground on Eastern Oregon Forests

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 29, 2013.

The following letter was published as a guest editorial in the La Grande Observer newspaper:
Finding Common Ground On Eastern Oregon Forests

Oregon’s public forests provide an tremendous variety of benefits to our state; they  protect our air and water, provide core habitat for fish and wildlife, offer recreation opportunities, and support the economic health of surrounding communities. Oregon’s forests also provide a special, uniquely Oregon quality of life that we all hope remains intact for generations to come.

Unfortunately, how to best manage these public lands is often a source of conflict.  This is especially true when the Forest Service pursues poorly designed timber sales, like the Snow Basin logging project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon.

After a century of short-sighted management decisions, our east side forests are at a crossroads. Fire suppression and logging practices of the past have created forests significantly removed from what nature intended.  Most of our old growth trees — those most resilient to fire — have already been logged, and a tangle of roads fragment our wildlife habitat.

The good news is conservation groups like Oregon Wild and Hells Canyon Preservation Council are successfully working with other forest stakeholders, including elected officials, landowners and the timber industry, to design logging projects which support rural economies while reducing the risk of fire, and protecting the remaining old trees and un-roaded wildlands on our forests.  This common sense approach of working together to restore forests and watersheds has gained support in recent years, and is leading to enhanced trust and agreement, less controversial projects, and more forest and watershed restoration work getting done.

Unfortunately, the Snow Basin project is an example of a logging sale which fails to build on this common ground.  Instead of focusing on thinning dry forest stands and reducing the risk of fire to homes and communities, the Forest Service has chosen to rush forward with a plan that includes logging in fragile, high elevation moist forests where fire risks are low and science demonstrates intensive logging is not appropriate.  Many leaders and land managers are calling for “increased harvest” off of Eastern Oregon’s public lands.  If they are serious, they should embrace a science-based approach that focuses on areas of consensus, and recognizes that today our forests are just as valuable for clean drinking water and our tourism and recreation economy as they are for two-by-fours.  That is the only way to forge a sustainable, consensus-based path through the woods.

Now is the time to be far-sighted in our actions.  Advancing projects which strengthen local economies and forest health depends on all stakeholders working together and using science as our guide.  We must site logging projects in areas where they do not compromise the forest’s ability to respond to a changing climate, survive high-intensity fires, and support fish and wildlife.  There may be room to increase the pace and scale of restoration-based thinning in east side forests, but we must avoid the mistakes made with Snow Basin.  Any increase in logging must go hand and hand with increased protection for important environmental values.

Many leaders and land managers are calling for “increased harvest” off of Eastern Oregon’s public lands.  If they are serious, they should embrace a science-based approach that focuses on areas of consensus, and recognizes that today our forests are just as valuable for clean drinking water and our tourism and recreation economy as they are for two-by-fours.  That is the only way to forge a sustainable, consensus-based path through the woods.

Veronica Warnock, Conservation Director
Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Steve Pedery, Conservation Director
Oregon Wild

Your phone's last call should be to a recycler

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 12, 2013.

The Oregonian covers cell phone recycling. Did you know that EarthShare can help you recycle your cell phones at work? Read on to find out more.

Biophilia: This is Your Brain on Nature

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 12, 2013.

Studies and articles abound showing the positive effects of natural settings on the human mind and body.

Your Share - April 2013

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 02, 2013.

Burgerville Rocks!, Meet our Newest Charities & More!

Your Share - May 2013

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 02, 2013.

Plastic recycling changes in the Metro area, the best hikes & lots of spring inspiration!

Burgerville Employees Pledge $22,000 to EarthShare Member Groups

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 26, 2013.

Burgerville employees give generously to environmental nonprofits during their Spring workplace giving campaign.

News & Press

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 14, 2013.

Get the latest updates from EarthShare and our members.

EarthShare Oregon welcomes seven new member groups

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 14, 2013.

Oregon’s environmental federation expands to offer more choices for employee engagement.

Charles Jones Remembers Jack Barry

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Mar 06, 2013.

Dear Conservationists,

On Christmas evening, at his home in La Grande, Jack Barry, 87, died. With him were wife Lois, family and friends.

Jack was among the early HCPC founders, primarily a bunch of Idaho Falls (Arco) nuclear engineers who couldn't abide the thought of the proposed dam in Hells Canyon (Brock can provide more background on Jack's early involvement.)

I met Jack shortly after arriving in La Grande in 1974. He had left the nuclear industry. Lois was hired by Eastern Oregon University becoming a much respected, loved and admired English professor -- one known to never suffer inept administrators gladly.

If anyone embodied a mad-dog environmentalist, it was Jack. He was fearless, persistent, relentless. He brought a much needed brand of obnoxiousness to countless public hearings, often the perfect antidote for public officials cowered by a bunch of burly loggers and industry hacks.

At a Hatfield Senate wilderness hearing in La Grande, Jack, exercising First Amendment rights to the hilt, failed to act with expected propriety to St. Mark. The La Grande police hauled him out of the auditorium, threw him up against the foyer wall, handcuffed him, and hauled him in. Jack (without a lawyer, but with much help from Lois) sued the police and received a very substantial out of court settlement from the city.

Probably a dozen years ago, HCPC honored six venerable NE Oregon conservations, stalwart defenders of our lands and heritage, at a large banquet. Jack, Loren Hughes, Bill Obertauffer, Bill Brown were among them. The speeches on behalf of Jack were the highlight. No one was ever a better recipient of hilarious roasts and toasts as the inimitable Mr. John Barry.

As ferocious (and admittedly, at times, trying) as Jack could be in public hearings or HCPC board meetings, he was absolutely the sweetest and most gracious host or guest in any social gathering or random rendezvous. He was always interested in your doings, your life, and your well-being. He met you with a smile and left you with a laugh. You loved to meet him on the street or in the store. Jack was always interesting. Jack was fun. He was a peach of a guy.

I'm quite sure I will never meet another Jack Barry. That saddens me.

HCPC is proud to have Charles Jones on the Hells Canyon Preservation Council Board of Directors

Green Your Camping Trips!

By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Mar 05, 2013.

Here are our green tips for making the most of your outdoor experience, while taking care to leave a healthy environment when you pack up and head home.

Remembering Beginnings: Brock Evans on HCPC History

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 27, 2013.

My personal recollections are that the HCPC was founded in 1967... same year as I was appointed to be the Sierra Club's and Federation of Western Outdoor Club's Northwest representative (March). I believe my first meeting with them (about September, 1967), referring to their "new" formation, is in my archives at the University of Washington Library.

Although there had certainly been opposition to Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hell's Canyon dams before that time, it was not effective and except for perhaps the Idaho Wildlife Federation, not very well-organized. That doesn't mean that there weren't precursors (in the form of opposition to dams in Hells Canyon); it just means that no such entity as HCPC per se, existed.

So my understanding when I came upon the scene in 1967 was like your own, Charlie -- the dam(n) builders built the easiest Snake River ones first -- easier politically for Idaho Power as a "private company" as well as logistically... it was when they attempted a project that affected three states, that the "public power" people challenged them, here).

Many of our kind of people then were also rightly fearful of the proposed Nez Perce Dam, just a mile or so below the confluence of the Snake and the Salmon -- because it would have drowned out the Lower Salmon gorges too. Somewhere around that time, the two applicants shifted the proposed site to High Mountain Sheep, just upstream of that confluence, I recall.  Anyone who floats down the Snake past that original site now can still see those white-painted initials way way up: "PNPC, Pacific Northwest Power Company" -- the private boys.

Last time I saw that one, coming off the Salmon and floating (with Ric Bailey's crew) out onto the great living Snake, he pointed out those initials to us -- and everyone got goosebumps. My own heart leapt, jumped for joy, that that is all that was left of such a monstrous river-destroying venture -- those initials, 5-600 feet above us.

I imagined then, with a shudder -- if that dam had been built, no one ever again would know what this place was like... instead of the songs of the canyon wrens, the grand play of early-morning
light and shadow on the cliffs, the murmur and tugs of a great living river at our boats, we instead would have all been in diving suits in the gloom of 500 feet of deadness above us. 

Someday, when everything else is safe and saved, I suggest we seek to preserve those initials -- as a kind of National Monument -- a memorial to the love, passion, and courage of our small bands, willing to stand and fight for it all, despite all the money and political power on the other side..

My first connection with the issue came in May 1967, while attending the meeting of the ExCom of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Sierra Club (then comprising all the SC members in the four NW states -- things were so tenuous and so much smaller in those times), on Hood Canal, WA. To this meeting came one Floyd Harvey, river boat operator from Lewiston. He asked the Sierra Club for help, and I was directed -- "look into this Brock," etc.

I was very gloomy because, from my previous law practice, I knew that the legal case -- of WHO got to build the new dam, public or private power, was before the Supreme Court -- and it was the only issue -- who, not whether.  So, what could be done at this late date, when all seemed so, well, impossible? Remember there were no environmental laws at all then, no NEPA, no ESA, no nuthin'.

I have told the story before (in the Falcon, some years back), but I had not yet heard anything about any specific organization like HCPC dedicated to fighting this dam, which may only mean that my information wasn't very good. And I hadn't yet visited Idaho, part of my "territory." I know i would have certainly tried to contact them had I known, even though the legal situation seemed like grasping for straws. Remember, other Idaho stalwarts had just lost the battle over Dworshak Dam on the Clearwater, not to mention Hells Canyon, Oxbow, etc.

In those days, it was dam builder heaven wherever there still existed a free-flowing stretch of river... just as it was logger's heaven, wherever there were big trees.

So I was gloomy, depressed about that directive, to "investigate and do something about it..." Then in early June I noticed a short paragraph in my daily copy of the Lewiston Tribune, to the effect that Justice Wm. O Douglas had somehow persuaded his colleagues that "we cannot decide the issue of who gets to build this proposed dam until we first decide whether it is in the public interest to license any dam at all here..."Or words -- such wonderful words! to that effect.

Heresy! The dam-building juggernaut was in full force across the whole Northwest at the time; the idea of any dammable river being allowed to flow free was utter heresy -- nonsense.

But here was an opportunity, a tiny opening -- for us, at last, to DO something!... and not to belabor the story here, I filed a Petition of Intervention before the Federal Power Commission, and much to the disgust and disdain of the dam builders we were accepted into the case that September. While I was preparing the legal documents (July-August), I tried to find plaintiffs who would have some credibility, both within the court, and also in the public arena -- for we all knew that the legal action was just a precious delay... it was in the public/political forum where we would have to finally save it...  if we could. I couldn't file such a case in my own name.

The problem was that then, in those far-off times, enviro legal actions were little understood. I had to explain to the Presidents of the Sierra Club and FWOC what a plaintiff was! And had to have someone from Idaho, to satisfy the local credibility question.. But that summer, not yet having heard of HCPC, the only group I knew of from the state who would likely respond was the Idaho Alpine Club, based in Idaho Falls. They signed on too, that August.

As things grew more and more serious, and it looked like we just might have a chance to build a real campaign, I thought to myself -- "I'd better get over there and have a look." So I first visited the Canyon in early September, was stunned by the beauty and magnificence of the place. And it was around that time that I believe I met some folks from what they told me was the newly-formed HCPC... probably including Jack, Jim Campbell, Jerry Jayne, Russ Mager, Pete Henault... all of whom, and so many more over the years -- Russ Brown, Boyd Norton, come to mind, Ken Witty... and of course Jack, a lion of a man always out front whenever the issue was raised -- assumed the grassroots political leadership, on the ground, which was so crucial to our final successes in the 70s. Especially re Congressman Al Ullman, Senator Frank Church, and Bob Packwood... and neutralizing Senators Len Jordan and Mark Hatfield.  What a grand bunch of comrades to have by anyone's side, I have always felt. 

Those were very hot and heavy times, especially in Eastern OR, where no one will be surprised to know that dam-building sentiment was higher there than anywhere else. So it took really brave people, like Jack, Ken Witty, Carmelita Holland, bless them every one, to stand up and be counted in those scary times. 

And as it turned out, those same leaders of the Idaho Alpine Club who signed my Petition of Intervention turned out to be the very core, the heart and soul of the HCPC which they had just formed, too! One of the finest and happiest results in all my campaigning experiences.

So that's my recollection of how it all began in my memory. Whatever there may have been before, the Hells Canyon Preservation Council came to be in 1967 as I have always understood it, from working with those on the ground in those times. It's possible that my archives on the Hells Canyon struggle, housed in the University of Washington Library's Special Collections, may shed more light on the matter.

Sorry for such a long tome, but I felt that some of you would enjoy the context.
Best wishes, Brock

HCPC is proud to have Brock Evans on the Hells Canyon Preservation Council Board of Directors

"We all do better when we all do better" - EarthShare Oregon

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 14, 2013.

"We all do better when we all do better."
I love that quote, which I first heard from populist philosopher Jim Hightower. I think of that wisdom when we ask how to be effective in a world with so many challenges. Another way of thinking of it is "How do we love all children, of all species, for all time?" (a quote I heard on the E2 program on OPB).   
One of the great answers to that is beautifully illustrated in the children's book "Swimmy" - a simple idea - join together.
HCPC is proud to be a member of EarthShare Oregon - a joint effort by a broad range of Oregon's environmental groups.  Read about EarthShare Oregon on their website.
You can support HCPC and the other members of EarthShare Oregon by bringing EarthShare into your workplace (see below).
Imagine this beautiful, amazing and awe-inspiring earth we all love singing, in the words of classic R&R "Come together - right now - over me!"

Wishing you all a cozy Valentine's Day
      with lots of togetherness,
Office Administrator
Hells Canyon Preservation Council  

Call on EarthShare for help with your office’s Green Team
 Do you work for a company that has a Green Team or Sustainability Committee?  Many Pacific Northwest employers have these squads of employees who are committed to improving their workplace’s environmental performance, and making the lives of all employees greener.  But once the recycling center is set up, and the copier paper has been switched to a recycled content, what can these groups do to keep sustainability in the forefront?
EarthShare Oregon can help employers with this common problem. Its dozens of local member charities work on everything from bicycle commuting to renewable power generation. Through EarthShare, these nonprofits can help your company’s green team explore new sustainability avenues. 
Contact Meghan Humphreys at EarthShare Oregon (503-223-9015) or to discuss potential topics for your office’s upcoming Green Team meetings.


Jack Barry - Visionary Voice 1925 - 2012

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 04, 2013.

We at HCPC are grieving the loss of one of the visionaries who founded the organization to prevent further damming of the Snake River back in the mid-60s. Jack Barry passed away on Christmas evening following a lovely dinner with family and friends.  We are going to sorely miss his keen insight and wit. 

The obituary below was written by his wife Lois Barry:

John E. (Jack) Barry was born in Boston, 5 March 1925 to Gertrude French Barry and Walter J. Barry. He died suddenly at home on December 25.   During WW II he proudly served in General Patton’s 3rd Army, fighting through France, Germany and Austria til the war’s end. After graduating from Middlebury College, with the remainder of his GI Bill, he enrolled at the University of Innsbruck, Austria where he studied math but “majored in skiing.” Inspired by Richard Halliburton’s Royal Road to Romance, Jack became a life-long adventure traveler. During one spring break he and two friends rode their 3-speed bikes from Innsbruck, to Cairo, Egypt where he climbed the Great Pyramid at Cheops.

Reluctant to leave Europe, Jack worked in Heidelberg, Germany for the U.S. Army Education program, where he met Lois Andrews. They married in Heidelberg in 1953. After their return to the U.S., Jack worked on jet engine noise suppression at Boeing in Seattle, experimental engine programs for Beech Aircraft in Boulder, the earliest satellite communication systems for Telecomputing in Alamogordo and Philco in Palo Alto, and nuclear reactor testing for Phillips outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho where Jack and a small group of fellow scientists  formed the Hells Canyon Preservation Council in 1967 to prevent construction of further dams on the Snake River.

In 1967, never a “company man,” Jack decided to leave industry. With teaching certificates, he and Lois searched the Pacific Northwest for a perfect spot to raise their children. For a poor kid who grew up selling papers on the streets of Boston, purchasing 150 acres on the Morgan Lake Road in La Grande was a dream come true. The family immediately acquired two horses, a pony, three pigs, two steers and a hundred chickens. Soon Jack was active in successful efforts to prevent old-growth logging on the Minam and a proposed dam on Catherine Creek. Eventually Jack purchased and preserved 1,000 beautiful forested acres in Oregon.

After teaching science and math in local schools, it was time for adventure. In 1972, Jack and Lois packed up the family for two years of teaching at the American School in Tehran, Iran. As chair of the math department, Jack arranged for school buses to take students to the opera, “an important part of students’ education.” Ever a gypsy, he drove the family’s VW bus 5,000 miles in the Middle East where they camped out in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Pakistan, then drove and camped from Tehran to Copenhagen and back to Amsterdam for their return to the U.S.

While they were in Iran, a forest fire burned the family home. Using a quick sketch on a piece of notebook paper, Jack and his sons built a new house on the Morgan Lake Road. His mantras, depending on the situation, were “Everything is Transcendental” and “Attitude is Everything.”

Jack never made a reservation, often picking locations because their names (like Krk and Ybbs) interested him. He and Lois enjoyed camping all over the Western United States and Canada, and travels to Nepal, Bali, Egypt, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as frequent trips to visit friends in Europe. They also visited Newfoundland where his mother’s home place at French’s Cove is now a national historic site. There he was pleased to learn that he might be descended from pirates, which explained his love of "messing about in boats."

Jack is survived by his wife, Lois, his daughter, Kimberley Barry (Ashland), sons Brian Barry (Bend) and Peter Barry (Joseph), and his very special grandson, Kai Barry (Bend). Jack was a man of strong and consistent opinions. A committed environmentalist and unapologetic Democrat, he liked “old stuff,” especially books, and was ever curious and alive to the world. He never met a dog he didn’t like and --like Mark Twain -- looked forward to meeting his dogs (22 who adopted him over a lifetime) in their heaven. His legacy, joy in the moment and love of the natural world, is shared by his family and friends. A celebration of Jack’s life will be held in mid-June when the wild-flowers are in bloom on the Morgan Lake Road.

The Dawn of Dam Removal

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 06, 2012.

In honor of HCPC's inception, winning the fight to stop the final damming of the Snake River in Hells Canyon, we bring you an essay by former Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbit.

The Dawn of Dam Removal

Bruce Babbitt
Early Fall 2012

When I began considering dam removal, the Elwha River quickly emerged at the top of my list. The river flows through the heart of Olympic National Park. It once hosted the most prolific salmon runs in the Northwest. And the tiny amount of electricity from the dams could easily be replaced from other sources.

I went to the Olympic Peninsula to take a look. Sure enough, it seemed the perfect place to begin. The two dams down near the mouth of the river appeared completely out of place in the splendor of the great old-growth forests. I convened a press conference to announce a new era of dam removal, beginning here at the Elwha River.

And then all hell broke loose. Washington State’s senior senator angrily condemned the idea, vowing, as ranking member of the Department of Interior Appropriations Committee, to put an end to such nonsense. Other members of the congressional delegation chimed in, in opposition. Newspaper editorials ridiculed the plan.

A few weeks later President Clinton took me aside, looking somewhat bemused, and asked, “Bruce, what is all this stuff about tearing down dams?”  His innocent-sounding question was really a cautionary admonition. Our administration was already caught up in a bitter and politically costly controversy over the spotted owl and logging of old-growth forests in the Northwest. Friends reminded me that cabinet secretaries who stir up too much controversy can and do lose their jobs. The Elwha project would have to go on the back burner for a while.

That public opinion was flooding in against us was hardly surprising. Back then, tearing down dams to restore rivers seemed a capricious idea dreamed up by another meddling bureaucrat. Why tear down perfectly good dams?

We quietly set about rebuilding our case. Within the Department of the Interior we began preparing an environmental impact statement loaded with cost estimates, hydrologic computations, sediment studies, fish mortality statistics and regional economic impacts. However, of all the arguments thrown up against dam removal, the most effective was simply, “It won’t work. The salmon have been gone for a hundred years. What makes you think they’ll return?”

Somehow, somewhere, we had to demonstrate that fish do come back. We needed to show and tell – with a small dam, built within recent memory, surrounded by a friendly community that actually remembered the fish runs and their importance to the community.

And finally we found a candidate, at the other end of the country on a little-known river on the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. 

It turned out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was already quietly at work on the Neuse River where a small diversion dam built in 1952 near the mouth had killed off one of the most prolific spawning runs of American shad, herring and stripers on the Atlantic Coast. A power company had built the Quaker Neck Dam to draw water for cooling, and it was perfectly feasible to design an alternate intake method.

On a clear winter day in 1997, we assembled on the river bank. I took a few swings at the concrete with a sledgehammer, and a wrecking ball finished the job. By springtime, fish were swarming up the river, passing through Raleigh 70 miles upstream.

The success at Quaker Neck brought national press and began to turn public opinion. Across the country local communities came up with proposals, and dams began to come down – at Kennebec in Maine, along the Baraboo River in Wisconsin, the Rogue River in Oregon, and the Butte and Clear Creeks in California.
With public opinion now moving our way, nationally and in the Northwest, we ratcheted up our efforts in Congress to finish off the Elwha dams. Slowly, at what seemed a glacial pace, funding started to flow, finally coming to fruition in the Obama administration.

In the space of two decades, dam removal has evolved from a novelty to an accepted means of river restoration. Most importantly, the concept has taken root in hundreds of local communities as residents rediscover their rivers, their history, and the potential not only to restore natural systems, but, in the process, to renew their communities as well.

I am asked, “After Elwha, what is your next priority?” That’s like asking, “What is my favorite national park?” My answer tends to vary depending on what I have been reading and where I have been hiking most recently. But my nomination would be the four dams – Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite – that have transformed the great Snake River in western Washington into a slack-water barge channel, destroying thousands of miles of salmon habitat in the Rocky Mountains and driving four salmon species to the brink of extinction.

Others will have their own compelling priorities – and there are still 75,000 dams for consideration.

Circling back to Wallowa County with HCPC

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jun 20, 2012.

After three wonderful years in La Grande, I recently moved back to Wallowa County for the summer. Now that I’m back, it’s very rewarding to see the many ways that HCPC’s work, past and present, helps to improve the lives of many people here in Wallowa County.

I recently bumped into a friend of mine that I haven’t seen for about three years on the streets of Joseph. I used to work for him when I was a naturalist/guide for Wallowa Resources Elderhostel program some years back. We were catching up and he told me that he was working as a Wilderness Ranger in the Eagle Cap and was on his way up to check Wilderness signs at a few remote trailheads. I knew that HCPC had been able to direct some money to the Forest Service in order to fund a Wilderness Ranger position in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. If you like that kind of work, it’s hard to find a better job.

There used to be a lot more Wilderness Rangers than there are today and they are sorely needed to help maintain trailheads, clear trails, and to help with restoration and invasive plant removal. HCPC was able to fund this position, with the potential to last for a decade, as a result of our settlement agreement on the Boardman Power Plant. The Boardman Power Plant burns coal and pollutes the skies of the Eagle Cap and Hells Canyon Wilderness areas, not to mention our own communities. I even heard that mercury has been found in the fish in some high elevation Wilderness lakes. HCPC’s work has helped to result in a reduction and eventual stop to this coal-burning plant’s pollution of our environment, while leveraging good jobs in our community.

It’s very inspiring and eye-opening to see how HCPC’s historic work of preventing the damming of Hells Canyon continues to change lives and create new opportunities for people. Some of my neighbors are hard at work this time of year guiding dozens and dozens of people down the areas many beautiful rivers. It amazes me to think of all the sustainable jobs generated through the rafting industry, and all the people that connect with the awesome Hells Canyon ecosystem by floating through it on the Snake River. And the river rafting industry seems more vibrant today than ever, attesting to the sustainability of rafting and the desire of people to be out in nature.

The fundamental accomplishment of saving Hells Canyon forever changed Wallowa County and it’s nowhere more evident than in the composition of the local communities. I know many of these remarkable people would not be in Wallowa County today were it not for the work of HCPC. I am really thankful that they are here.

David Mildrexler, Ecosystem Conservation Coordinator, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

HCPC welcomes summer intern Joshua Axelrod

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jun 08, 2012.

My family moved to La Grande in the late summer heat of 1988, rounding the bend out of Ladd Canyon and catching our first glimpse of Mt. Emily’s iconic profile dominating the distance.  Though my parents were moving to take jobs at EOSC, it was our first time in Eastern Oregon, our weary eyes looking out across the Grande Ronde Valley at the end of a cross-country adventure that took us from the rolling, humid hills of Southern Ohio, across the Great Plains, over the Rockies, and into a piece of the world we had yet to know.  Over the next 13 years, I came to know and love the hills and mountains of Eastern Oregon in ways I cannot imagine knowing any other place.  Spring was spent wandering in search of morels, summer was spent discovering the high places deep within the Wallowa Mountains or tramping through the woods in search of the ever-elusive “large” huckleberry, in fall we waited for the snow, and in the winter we slid around on skis through the silent, frozen woods near Spout Springs, around Anthony Lakes, and near Salt Creek Summit.  By the time I graduated from LHS in 2001, Eastern Oregon had left a deep imprint on my understanding and view of the world.  It had instilled in me a deep desire to protect the natural world so that future generations might be able confront it with the same sense of wonder that all of us who grew up with the Blue Mountains out our backdoor were able to do without even realizing what a gift we had so easily within our reach.

Josh (red bandana) and his dad crossing a snow bridge above Hurricane Creek, July 2011.
After high school, I spent four formative years at Middlebury College in central Vermont.  There, surrounded by the entirely different beauty of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks looming just across Lake Champlain, my feelings about the importance of preserving the few remaining wild places left in this world occupied more and more of my thinking. Since that time, life has taken me back to Oregon where I lived and worked in Portland for two years, back across the country to Boston where I lived and worked for three years, and finally, south to Washington, DC where my wife and I decided to take the graduate school plunge together.

Josh (right), his younger brother Ezra, and his dad in the hills above La Grande, Christmas 2011.
At the Washington College of Law at American University, I am trying my best to honor my rationale for returning to school to pursue my legal degree.  I am a member of the editorial board of the Sustainable Development Law and Policy publication, a member of the Environmental Law Society, and hope to continue to focus my studies on environmental law and policy.  It is hard to believe that my legal pursuits have brought me back to Eastern Oregon to spend the summer as a legal intern with the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, but I suppose life is full of these wonderfully unexpected twists and turns.  This is the first professional experience I have ever had in a place that I feel a passionate connection to, and I hope that in the next two months I am able to make a positive and substantial contribution to HCPC’s ongoing conservation efforts in what is truly one of the most remarkable corners of the world.

HCPC and Allies Await Approval for a Settlement Agreement Requiring DEQ to Re-Examine Controversial Mining Practice

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 25, 2012.

In the spring of 2010, we urged our members to comment on the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) new draft permit for regulating suction dredge mining throughout Oregon (the "700PM permit"). A suction dredge is a gasoline-powered vacuum attached to a floating sluice box. Miners use the vacuum to suck up the bottom of streams and rivers and run sediment through the sluice to filter out gold and then dump the sediment back into the stream.

Fishermen and clean water advocates are concerned about the negative effects suction dredge mining can have on fish and aquatic habitat quality.  This mining practice kills fish eggs and offspring thereby reducing fish spawning success, deposits fine sediment on stream bottoms, mobilizes toxic heavy metals and harms macro-invertebrate communities that are an essential part of the aquatic food web.

Because of these negative impacts, HCPC joined a coalition of other conservation groups in January 2011 to challenge DEQ's final 700PM permit in state court for violating state and federal water quality laws.  Over the past several months, however, our coalition has been working to secure a settlement agreement with DEQ that would allow us to dismiss our lawsuit by requiring the agency to re-open the discussion about this controversial mining practice to the public. 
Last week we reached such an agreement.  If approved by the Court, our settlement would require DEQ to robustly examine ways to revise the 700PM permit to ensure compliance with water quality laws and adequately protect fish and their habitat.  Unfortunately, the Eastern Oregon Miners' Association, which intervened as a party to the lawsuit, filed questionable motions that are delaying and threaten to interfere with the Court's approval of our agreement.  We're hopeful these motions can be resolved shortly so we can continue moving forward.

Oregon’s statewide Clean Water Act permits are usually renewed on a five-year basis. The next version of the suction dredging permit should be finalized by July 2014. The settlement agreement outlines a stakeholder process beginning in December 2012 to initiate the next permit renewal.  Based on the settlement, the permit renewal process will consider prohibited areas based on water pollution, fish habitat and specially designated areas, whether to require annual reports and the cost of this activity to the state, among other items. 

The number of suction dredges in Oregon has increased dramatically in recent years.  Permits from the Department of State Lands (DSL) have increased nearly 300% from 656 in 2007 to 2,209 in 2011. DEQ permit registrations in the last two years also show that nearly 30% of suction dredge miners are coming from other states to mine Oregon’s streams and rivers.  This likely includes a sizable number of out-of-state miners that used to go to California to dredge before our neighboring state put a dredging moratorium in place until 2016.  This trend is a serious threat to our streams, rivers and fisheries.

Plaintiffs in this case were represented by the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center ("PEAC").  HCPC's co-plaintiffs include the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Rogue Riverkeeper, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Oregon Coast Alliance and Oregon Wild.

Of Killdeer, Camas, and the Travel Management Plan

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 21, 2012.

I recently worked with a volunteer from the Birdathon, printing small photos of habitat for kids to use in one of the hands-on learning projects Birdathon volunteers offer.  I started thinking about habitat - that conjunction of space/food/water/shelter/structure that allows a species to live there.

It's hard not to notice the killdeer trying to occupy the gravel right-of-way along a back road.  They can't nest there, between the tires and the cats and dogs and horses and bicycles.  The seasonally scrubbed gravel beds along and in the river are mostly gone.  I sometimes fantasize that we could take all the flat roofs on the downtown buildings, add a shallow gravel layer with a little silt for occasional native grasses, and create some of the nesting area that is now subdivisions and streets and straight narrow ditches.  It would take creativity and commitment and a great deal of buy-in from people who probably mostly don't care about the nesting needs of killdeer. 

It would have been so much easier to keep a few gravel ridges and sandbars along the river and major creeks, instead of subverting the natural riverine shapes and patterns to the straight and narrow of the Army Corps of Engineers.  Human convenience, thoughtlessness and arrogance trumped the needs of other species.   It would now take a great deal of money and time and effort to rebuild one gravel ridge or sandbar.  

One of the reasons I support HCPC is that it works to protect the places that do still exist - public lands where wildlife can still find the habitat they need, knowing that it is so much more reasonable (and affordable)  to preserve than to have to rebuild.  And HCPC works to rebuild and restore habitat as well, knowing that we need to repair damage that has been done.  

This is clear in the recent Travel Management Plan for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  I'm so proud of HCPC advocating for the protection of elk calving grounds from motorized disturbance, for the protection of high wet meadows from destructive and careless cross-country rutting by off-roaders, for the protection of roadless areas from new roads, and for the closure of excess old roads that were supposed to be closed down a decade ago.   

I recently followed the Mt. Emily Road, looking for wildflowers and enjoying the abundance of blooms and silence and birdsong.   It didn't take long though before I saw the terrible damage left by off-road vehicles tearing across a wet meadow.  The ruts were deep, hard set, and showed as dark brown scars bereft of any green in the midst of wildflowers.    In another case the damage went straight up a steep hillside that was now eroding badly.  There were roads around, a LOT of roads - going off both sides from the Mt. Emily road.  There was no need to go where these ruts went, in one case just cutting a corner between the main road and another side road.   

I started thinking about how long it would take for those ruts to heal.  Since we can still see the ruts from wagon wheels over 100 years ago, without our help such wounds last a long time.  Wouldn't it be better not to make them in the first place?     


Wild Places, Roads and Freedom

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 13, 2012.

From the edge of the road:  Looking into the roadless.  Photo by Brian Kelly

It’s been pretty noisy around northeast Oregon lately.  As the US Forest Service tries to deal with motorized use of public lands, objections have been heard from people who have become accustomed to being able to drive just about anywhere they please.  The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has more than nine thousand miles of roads, many of them left over from old logging projects.  Over much of the National Forest, you are currently allowed to drive off the roads and across country if you feel like it.

Some folks seem to view the Forest Service travel planning process as a restriction of their freedom and access to public lands.  Of course, when four-wheel-drive vehicles and ATVs drive unrestricted across the landscape then wildlife habitat is degraded, water quality suffers and weeds spread across the countryside.  The peaceful beauty that people seek on public wild lands can become diminished by the impacts of the users.

What about our freedom?  Well, two of America’s greatest conservationists wrote about freedom in describing their relationship with the natural world.

“What avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?”

Aldo Leopold wrote these powerful words.  While of course we all need roads to access wild places, at a certain point the presence of a road itself diminishes the very character of the wild place that we seek.  The place where the road ends and the blank spot begins is a special place indeed.   You will find wildlife, old forests, and clean waters when you find the blank spots on the map.

Here are the words of John Muir:

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Following his description of freedom in the mountains, John Muir added this next sentence:

“As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.”

It’s striking to me that rather than complaining about not being allowed to drive a Model T Ford across the forest as he grew older, John Muir chose to rejoice in the enjoyment of nature.

He was a very wise man and a free man as well.

~Brian Kelly

Analysis confirms Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan Decision leaves plenty of access

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 07, 2012.

It is very important that we use this pause in the Travel Plan Process to better understand what the now withdrawn Decision would have actually done. One of the most common claims put forth against the Travel Plan Decision was that the Forest Service was taking away access to the Forest. Some even claimed that the Forest Service was using the Travel Plan to “lock them out” of the National Forest.

If there were any truth to these claims, HCPC would be very concerned. How are people supposed to cultivate the life-long connections to the National Forestlands that are ultimately necessary to encourage and advocate for better stewardship of these ecosystems, if people can’t connect with them in the first place? So let’s take a close look and see for ourselves what this Decision would do.

With our partners, we performed a GIS analysis based on the Selected Alternative Layer (i.e. the now withdrawn Decision). All open motor vehicle roads and trails are mapped in red. We put a one-mile buffer around all open motor vehicle roads and trails so we could visually see how many places on the National Forest could be accessed in less than one-miles distance from the nearest road, a modest distance. These areas are mapped in grey. If an area is further than one mile from a road, it is mapped in light green. Wilderness is in dark green.

The results graphically illustrate that outside Wilderness areas, nearly the entire National Forest is within one mile of a road. The few small islands that are further than one-mile from a road are usually inside Inventoried Roadless Areas (mapped in black crosshatch). These are very small islands, and based on a visual assessment, it appears that the Decision would not leave anywhere outside designated Wilderness further than two miles from an open road. It’s important to note that the map does not show the areas within Wilderness areas that are less than one-mile from a road. If it did, you could see that much of the North Fork John Day Wilderness would be grey color, and a surprisingly large part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness as well.

These results clearly show that the Forest Service strived to provide very widespread access to the entire Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in their Travel Plan Decision. In our opinion, the Decision did not go far enough to protect roadless areas, old growth forests, critical elk habitat areas, and fragile aquatic environments from the damages of motorized vehicles. We encourage the Forest Service to use this opportunity to strengthen the Travel Plan in these key natural resource areas.

As HCPC stated in our press release on the withdrawal of the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan, and as is clearly illustrated in the analysis above, there is no validity in the claims that people will no longer have access to the Forest. Moreover, the Travel Plan is not just about access, but also about protection of natural resources and the costs of maintaining the designated road system. As I stated in my editorial
(, what’s really at stake is the quality of the National Forest's we will be accessing.

David Mildrexler, Ecosystem Conservation Coordinator, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Of Truth and Boots

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Apr 16, 2012.

Wow. Been a very long week. Hard not to talk about the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan, with all the terrible misinformation going around. Reminds me of the saying that a lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on.
Truth and facts seem to be badly outnumbered by imagined outrages and fictional claims.
For the record:
No, logging will not be shut down by the Travel Plan - it will not be hampered by this Decision.
No, the forest will not be locked away - over 4,000 miles of roads will remain open.
No, the process of reaching this Decision did not shut out the public - it involved years of public participation and comments.
No, the process does not ignore different viewpoints - the Travel Plan includes new trails for off road vehicles (as much as I don't want that).
No, not all "locals" are against it. I'm local and I'm for an even stronger Travel Management Plan.
No, the Wallowa-Whitman is not a county or even a state forest - it is a National forest, held in trust not just for us locals, but for the nation; not just for this generation, but for the future as well.

The Travel Plan Decision is a compromise that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders with a moderate response to the need for travel management. It will close down some roads - mostly old, overgrown, eroded, or duplicate roads that would be too expensive to repair. It does include some protection for much-needed wildlife "security habitat" and some protection for streams with runs of native fish.

The Travel Plan doesn't go nearly as far as it needs to for wildlife, fisheries, and native plants. Still, I accept that both science and politics are at play, and the Forest Service has done the best it can to respond to all interests.

What I do not accept is the false portrayals of the issues that I see and hear in almost all venues, from town halls to local papers to neighborhood gossip.

Lies, even unintentional ones, do not make a good basis for decisions.

Now, on to the news that the seasonal progression of wildflowers is starting to unroll, bluebirds are back on Cricket Flats, and a sandhill crane was spotted out in the fields by Indian Creek (south of Elgin). Ospreys are back on the nest by Willow Creek and on Woodell Road, and curlews are in the fields north of La Grande.

Back to enjoying this wonderful place where we live -

Danae Yurgel

The Perverse Logic of Wolf Hunts

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Mar 30, 2012.

The Predator Persecution Complex


The hysteria that surrounds wolf management in the Rockies has clouded rational discussion. Wolves are hardly a threat to either hunting opportunity or the livestock industry.


For instance, the Wyoming Fish and Game reports: “The Department continues to manage to reduce Wyoming’s elk numbers. The total population of the herds with estimates increased by 16 percent in 2009 and is now 29 percent above the statewide objective of 83,640 animals.”

Things are similar in Montana. Populations have grown from an estimated 89,000 animals in 1992 prior to wolf recovery to 140,000-150,000 animals in recent years.

In Idaho we find a similar trend. According to the IDFG 23 out of 29 elk units are at and/or above objective. Hunter success in 2011 was 20%: one in five hunters killed an elk.

Wolves are clearly not a threat to the future of hunting in any of these states.


Ranchers are equally irrational. In 2010 Wyoming livestock producers lost 41,000 cattle and calves due to weather, predators, digestive problems, respiratory issues, calving and other problems. But total livestock losses attributed to wolves was 26 cattle and 33 sheep!

Last year Montana livestock producers lost more than 140,000 cattle and sheep to all causes. But total livestock losses attributed to wolves was less than a hundred animals.

In 2010 Idaho cattle producers lost 93,000 animals to all causes. Respiratory problems were the largest cause accounting for 25.6 percent of the cattle lost. Next came digestive problems, accounting for 13.4 percent of the cattle deaths. Total cattle losses attributed to wolves was 75 animals.

To suggest that wolves are a threat to the livestock industry borders on absurdity.


Worse yet, the persecution of predators does not work to reduce even these minimum conflicts as most proponents of wolf control suggest.

The reason indiscriminate killing does not work is because it ignores the social ecology of predators. Wolves, cougars, and other predators are social animals. As such, any attempt to control them that does not consider their “social ecology” is likely to fail. Look at the century old war on coyotes—we kill them by the hundreds of thousands, yet ranchers continue to complain about how these predators are destroying their industry. And the usual response assumes that if we only kill a few more we’ll finally get the coyote population “under control.”

The problem with indiscriminate killing of predators whether coyotes, wolves, cougars or bears is that it creates social chaos. Wolves, in particular, learn how and where to hunt, and what to hunt from their elders. The older pack members help to raise the young. In heavily hunted (or trapped) wolf populations (or other predators), the average age is skewed towards younger age animals . Young wolves are like teenagers—bold, brash, and inexperienced. Wolf populations with a high percentage of young animals are much more likely to attack easy prey—like livestock and/or venture into places that an older, more experience animal might avoid—like the fringes of a town or someone’s backyard.

Furthermore, wolf packs that are continuously fragmented byhuman-caused mortality are less stable. They are less able to hold on to established territories which means they are often hunting in unfamiliar haunts and thus less able to find natural prey. Result : they are more likely to kill livestock.

Wolf packs that are hunted also tend to have fewer members. With fewer adults to hunt, and fewer adults to guard a recent kill against other scavengers, a small pack must actually kill more prey than a larger pack. Thus hunting wolves actually contributes to a higher net loss of elk and deer than if packs were left alone and more stable.

Finally hunting is just a lousy way to actually deal with individual problematic animals. Most hunting takes place on the large blocks of public land, not on the fringes of towns and/or on private ranches where the majority of conflicts occur. In fact, hunting often removes the very animals that have learned to avoid human conflicts and pose no threat to livestock producers or human safety. By indiscriminately removing such animals which would otherwise maintain the territory, hunting creates a void that, often as not, may be filled by a pack of younger, inexperienced animals that could and do cause conflicts.


We need a different paradigm for predator management than brute force. As Albert Einstein noted, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Unfortunately insanity has replaced rational thought when it comes to wolf management.

George Wuerthner is an ecologist with among others, a degree in wildlife biology, and is a former Montana hunting guide. He has published 35 books.


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Publication Date: 
July 20, 2010
As important as energy is to our economy and quality of life, it isn't surprising that energy issues are in the news on a daily basis these days. Dependence on foreign energy suppliers and on fossil fuels - which contribute to climate change - is not a strategy that is sustainable for our needs. Ultimately, a clean, secure, homegrown energy future will be needed to revitalize our economy and sustain us for the long-term.
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