Baker City, Oregon: One of our nation's greatest treasures is the National Wilderness Preservation System established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. This year, that monumental piece of legislation is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. The Forest Service manages 440 wilderness areas and is hosting a variety of local events and celebrations in honor of the golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
“Each of the seven eastern Oregon Wilderness areas offers a unique contribution to our Nation’s Wilderness legacy. These are truly special places protected for the American people,” stated John Laurence, Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has four designated wilderness areas: Eagle Cap, Hells Canyon, and portions of the Monument Rock and North Fork of the John Day that are shared with the adjacent Umatilla and Malheur National Forests, totaling 598,600 acres. As part of the celebration, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is introducing many opportunities for backcountry enthusiasts to honor the Wilderness 50th anniversary.
Why I Love My Wilderness Area
This is your opportunity to tell us why you love a special Wilderness area. After your next trip, write a short story (100 words or less) and send us photos of your trip into one of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest wilderness areas to the following email: email@example.com. Guidelines for submitting stories are available on the website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/WildernessStories.
Come join us on a day hike to learn more about the beautiful diversity of wildflowers that grow in and around the Wilderness. The hikes will be led by local Wallowa-Whitman Forest botanists who love to share their knowledge; so bring your cameras, flower guide books, and enjoy the day. Due to the distance up to some of the higher elevational areas, many of the hikes will be near the wilderness boundary or up a short distance along the trails within the wilderness. You may want to call the local Ranger District (541-426-5546) to check on current trail and weather conditions before the day of the following opportunities, and/or directions to the trailheads:
§ Mt. Howard: Friday June 13, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm - Meet at the top of the Wallowa Lake Tram. A Tram ticket is required.
§ Hells Canyon Overlook: Friday June 20, 10:00 am to noon - Meet near parking lot at Hells Canyon Overlook located off the Wallowa Mountain Loop road (FSR 39), which is ‘before’ the construction on FSR 39, coming from Joseph, Oregon.
§ Hurricane Creek: Saturday June 28, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm - Meet at Hurricane Creek Trailhead. A day pass is required for parking.
§ Main Eagle Creek: Friday Aug 1, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm - Meet at Main Eagle Trailhead. A day pass is required for parking.
National Public Lands Day- Peavey Trail Maintenance
Volunteer for National Public Lands Day (Sept. 27, 2014) to help maintain a special trail in the North Fork John Day Wilderness. The Peavey Trail is the main trunk trail in the North Fork John Day Wilderness that accesses the Elkhorn Crest National Scenic Trail. The trail crosses a few small wet meadow/wetlands. Trail structures are needed to protect the resource and to provide hikers a place to dry off before setting out on some long day loops. This is a great opportunity to celebrate both National Public Lands Day and the 50th Wilderness Anniversary.
Participate in the Blue Mountain Wilderness Passport Project
As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla, and Malheur National Forests have introduced an Eastern Oregon Wilderness Passport project for our wilderness enthusiasts. The Eastern Oregon Wilderness Passport has a page for each of the seven Wilderness areas in Eastern Oregon (Hells Canyon, Eagle Cap, Wenaha-Tucannon, North Fork of the Umatilla, North Fork of the John Day, Strawberry Mountain, and Monument Rock).
To participate in the Blue Mountain Wilderness Passport Project, pick up a free passport at any of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest office locations listed at the end of this news release; then get out there and enjoy your wilderness. After visiting one of your Wilderness areas, stop by a district or supervisor’s office and have the Wilderness passport page stamped with the unique stamp for that particular Wilderness area.
These events are just a few ways you can honor the celebration the Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary. For more information on 50thWilderness anniversary events, visit the celebration website at www.wilderness50th.org, the Wallowa-Whitman Wilderness website at:http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/Wilderness50, or contact one of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest offices:
Whitman Ranger District
541-742-7511 (Pine Field Office)
La Grande Ranger District
Wallowa Mountains Office
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area