06.26.14

Happy Anniversary to Oregon’s Table Rock Wilderness!

Happy Anniversary to one of Oregon’s BLM-managed National Conservation Lands, the 6,082 acre Table Rock Wilderness in the Molalla River drainage about 50 miles south of Portland. The Table Rock Wilderness was designated part of the National Wilderness System on June 26, 1984, a move that has spared this area the fate of some surrounding lands. As SummitPost.org notes, “much of the land in the surrounding mountains is private industrial forest land, and clearcutting is widespread.”

From its highest point, 4,881-foot Table Rock, hikers can see Washington’s Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, Oregon’s Mt. Hood and the Three Sisters, and Mt. Shasta in California. Views, accessibility, and trails for hikers and equestrians draw many to its lush forest of old-growth Douglas fir and western hemlock, and sheer cliffs of lichen-splashed columnar basalt. Table Rock Wilderness is home to several species of endangered flora and fauna such as Gorman’s aster, Oregon sullivantia and the northern spotted owl. Rhododendron, huckleberry and salmonberry are also found in numbers here, as are American pikas, a small alpine herbivore that many have suggested is threatened by climate change. (In 2007, the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for the pika’s protection under the Endangered Species Act, but was denied.)

The area’s main trail, the Table Rock trail, is the same one used by Native Americans, and numerous archeological sites can be found here, including petroglyphs.

Oregon is also home to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, a veritable “ark” of biodiversity located in the state’s southwest corner, and the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, a coastal headland located just 90 miles southwest of the Table Rock Wilderness near the town of Newport. These ecologically, culturally and historically rich areas offer opportunities for recreation, solitude and education, with their visitors giving an economic boost to nearby “gateway” communities. Best of all, these BLM-managed National Conservation Lands–like all 878 sites in this system–belong to all Americans. With that ownership comes a responsibility to preserve them for future generations.

Want to learn more about Oregon’s BLM-managed National Conservation Lands?

Check out this video on the Table Rock Wilderness from BLM Oregon…