Sep 032014

September 3, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing The Wilderness Act. This landmark legislation established a system and protocol for preserving public lands in the USA, both for the use and enjoyment of people, and also for the protection of unique flora and fauna and their habitats. Many areas in the country are now designated as Wilderness, but there are many more that deserve the same protection. Hopefully those areas also will be preserved for generations to come. [read more …]

Aug 302014
Hiking Salmon Lakes Trail in the Oregon Cascades

Mention any place in Oregon you visited with “Waldo” in the name and anyone who knows the central Cascades will ask, “How bad were the mosquitos?” Waldo Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Pacific Northwest, with water purity matched only by Crater Lake, is notorious for the hordes of mosquitos that have spoiled many a summer camping trip or hike at the lake. Naturally, the mosquitos don’t limit themselves to Waldo Lake, and are thick throughout any [read more …]

Jul 162014
Rafting the Wild and Scenic Rogue River

Southern Oregon’s Rogue River has long been a favorite of whitewater rafting and kayaking enthusiasts, fishermen, hikers and wildlife lovers. After a couple of inflatable raft trips running the 40-mile length of the Wild & Scenic designated portion of the river, and a short hike on a section of the Rogue River National Recreation Trail, I’ve become a huge fan myself and highly recommend the Rogue for anyone looking for adventure in a beautiful, unspoiled setting. My most recent trip was with a [read more …]

Mar 142011
National Wildlife Refuges Anniversary

The U.S. National Wildlife Refuges system celebrates the 108th anniversary of its founding on March 14.  President Teddy Roosevelt signed the law creating the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. Today the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service maintains more than 550 refuges in the country, helping to preserve over 2,000 species of our native critters. The 95 million acres of refuge land are spread throughout all 50 states. The refuges benefit people as well as the animals they were established [read more …]

Oct 252010
The Enchantments - Alpine Lakes Wilderness

On a beautiful early October morning I stood with a 40-pound pack on my back at the bottom of Aasgard Pass and exclaimed “O.M.G.!” Twice. Once for the incredible beauty of milky blue Colchuck Lake and the towering mountains above, and once for the daunting climb ahead of me – a 2,200 elevation gain in less than a mile of “trail”. Trail is in quotes because the route is basically follow-the-cairns over loose scree and chunks of granite rock after [read more …]

Sep 022010
National Wilderness Month

September is National Wilderness Month, so proclaimed by President Obama. I’ve had the good fortune to hike and backpack in several wilderness areas recently, and firmly believe that our federally designated Wilderness areas rank right up there with our National Parks as some of the best things about the U.S.A. There are a number of new and proposed wilderness areas in the Pacific Northwest, places that are now protected, or worthy of protection, for future generations. Nationally, The Wilderness Society [read more …]

Jan 292010
Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven Wilderness proposal

For the past couple of years, the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) has been working to bring together landowners in the John Day River Basin and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a partnership that will result in both increased protection and better public access for some wonderful territory in north central Oregon. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley just introduced the Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven Wilderness Act of 2010 in Congress, which, if passed, will give these [read more …]

Jul 242009
High Divide Trail, Olympic National Park

I just returned from a week-long trip to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, during which I visited the Quinault Rainforest area, hiked the Lake Ozette-Cape Alava Triangle on the coast, checked out the lavender fields in Sequim, photographed wildflowers and deer at Hurricane Ridge, and spent three days backpacking the High Divide Loop trail in Olympic National Park – which was definitely the highlight of the trip. Totally awesome scenery, great weather and my timing was just right for the wildflowers in [read more …]

Jul 102009
Shi Shi Beach and Point of Arches

Olympic National Park in Washington state is a wondrous place, with environments ranging from snow-covered volcanic peaks to lush temperate rainforest to wild and remote Pacific coast. A couple of weeks ago I visited the Olympic Peninsula, accompanied by Laurent Martres, publisher of the PhotoTripUSA guidebook series. Laurent and I did an overnight backpack hike to Shi Shi Beach and Point of Arches. It’s possible to do this trail as a dayhike, but we really wanted to catch sunset and [read more …]

Apr 022009
Bend Badlands Wilderness

Late last week, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which will provide protection for thousands of acres in several states. Included in the omnibus bill is the Badlands and Spring Basin Wilderness Act, which declares that a BLM-managed area commonly known as the Bend Badlands is now federally designated wilderness. Located just a few miles east of Bend, with easy access from US Hwy 20, the Badlands is an area [read more …]