Massive Crater Lake Wilderness Area Fantasy

Oregon Wild has proposed a massive half million acre Wilderness Area, partly to “protect” Crater Lake. The Klamath County Commissioners are saying no, with fears that summer fires would affect public health, and that those unhealthy forests need active management.

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Here is a map of what Oregon Wild wants done.

7 Comments

    • Much of the forests included in the proposal are higher elevation stands of lodgepole and true fir. It is the claim of one of the County Commissioners that such forests need help. I do have firsthand knowledge of the poor health of the lodgepole forests, near Diamond Lake. Be reminded that there is a large amount of homes and businesses around Diamond Lake, and they watched as a Let-Burn fire in the Park approached the boundary, just a few miles away.

      • Ok, so if the Klamath County Commissioners are so concerned with wildfire, have they – and the people who made a choice to live or work around Diamond Lake – all taken simple steps to prevent home ignitions from wildlife?

        Here’s what the Forest Service’s own expert says about preventing home ignitions during wildfire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0iR8o54hDU

        Also, can you please tell us what the supposed “poor health of the lodgepole forests” really is? I always thought that lodgepole pine forests were fairly short-lived and they are susceptible to stand replacing fires and/or beetle outbreaks, and that ‘thinning’ in many lodgepole pine forests is not effective because they naturally grow tightly packed and have a shallow root system, meaning that the more the forest canopy is opened up via thinning, the more likely the remaining trees will simply fall over in the next large wind storm.

        • You might send an e-mail to that County Commissioner to ask him to clarify those thoughts. From my perspective, placing a Wilderness boundary near private land is just asking for trouble. If you look at the proposed map, in the Diamond Lake area, you’ll see there aren’t much in the way of buffer zones, where fuels projects could be installed. Residents don’t want to have the “Whatever Happens” plan (including windstorms that knock down sickly lodgepole forests) imposed on them.

  1. Hope it doesn’t happen. There are roads and managed stand all through out the propose area.
    I guess the criteria for what is Wilderness is what ever Oregon Wild and other eco groups want.
    I am glad the Klamath county commissioners have taken a position on the proposal. Seems like Douglas, Deschutes, and Lane counties should too.
    Its a beautiful area and one of my favorites, but I don’t think it would be better off as Wilderness.
    I think it would be better of if we took care of it and tired to kept it green and healthy.
    I also think it is important to keep the roads open so we can access it to enjoy it.

  2. Some years ago, I led a youth group on a 50-mile, week-long hike through Oregon’s 3-Sisters Wilderness. A half mile OUTSIDE the wilderness boundary, we encountered a trail crew clearing a windfall with hand saws. When asked why they were not using their chain saws, since their saws could be heard in the wilderness, they were not permitted to use chain saws. [I guess the sound would be offensive to the wilderness experience.] Wise use of taxpayer money seemed to be of little concern.

    Taken to extremes, I suppose any harvesting visible from the wilderness would also be offensive and the wilderness should be buffered from that visual pollution. I’d suggest the sight of commercial aircraft from within a wilderness is also offensive and we should require Delta, Alaska, United, and all other commercial, private, and military aircraft to stay out of visual sight of any wilderness.

    Hey, let’s just designate ALL federal forests as wilderness and be done with it! That way we can close a few more mills, lay off some more people, become more dependent on federal government welfare, and import even more of our wood needs.

    Some sanity needs to be brought back.

  3. Oregon wild are one of the groups that brought us catastrophic wildflires across the Cascades via their meddling in forest management policy. They have no scientific credibility.

    In my years with the Forest Service I wrote watershed analysis for large portions of this proposed area. A wilderness would work against what the land needs to return to health and to improve summer flows for the streams. This proposal not only would drive a dagger into a very popular mixed recreation area ( including the Mt Bailey ski operation that doesn’t seem to get mentioned), it would truly encourage stand replacement fires across the lodgepole and true fir zones and likely even through overstocked ponderosa. Improving forest health via thinning etc, would insulate existing wilderness much better from catastrophic fire as well as improve stream flow regimes.

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