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Wilderness 50th Celebration

Join Our Celebration of the Wilderness Act's 50th Anniversary

1964 to 2014


On September 3rd next year the nation will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this bill into law, 9.1 million acres of wildlands were set aside for the benefit and use of the American people. Over the past 50 years, over 100 million acres have been added. A national Wilderness50 team is planning educational events, projects, programs and products to raise awareness and appreciation of wilderness, culminating in a magnificent celebration and conference in Albuquerque, NM October 15-19, 2014. Visit the national celebration website at: Each state and community are also developing their own celebration plans.

Central Oregon Planning

A coalition of Central Oregon environmental, activist, and outdoor groups, facilitated by the Deschutes National Forest Service and the Prineville Bureau of Land Management offices, is conducting an ongoing series of planning meetings for the Central Oregon celebration. These meetings started in September 2013 and will continue through 2014. We envision the celebration activities running the gamut from outings leaders doing a short talk on the meaning of Wilderness at each 2014 Outing, to a concerted effort to get Kids in the Forests, to a Central Oregon Day of Celebration with booths and bands and activities, to a statewide day of celebration proclaimed by Governor Kitzhaber, to a multi-bus caravan to Albuquerque in October. Wow! If you would like to be part of Central Oregon community-wide planning, contact Gretchen Valido at:

Oregon's Wilderness AreasOregon's Wilderness Areas(Click on the image to open a larger version)

Oregon's Wilderness Areas

Oregon has 47 Wilderness Units (some Areas contain more than one Unit) containing about 2.5 Million acres of land. While this sounds like a lot, it is about 2% of the state land area, far behind Washington and Idaho with 4% and California with 14%. We have some catching up to do. Click on the map to open a larger version.

Oregon's Wilderness Study AreasOregon's Wilderness Study Areas(Click on the image to open a larger version)

Oregon's Wilderness Study Areas

The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 545 Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) nationwide containing nearly 12.7 million acres located in the Western States and Alaska. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 directed the Bureau to inventory and study its roadless areas for wilderness characteristics. Until Congress makes a final determination on a WSA, the BLM manages these areas to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness. Oregon has 88 WSA's containing about 2.8 Million acres. Each of these areas is a candidate for expanding Oregon's Wilderness inventory.

Oregon's Wilderness History

"The Eternal Battle: The Success of the Wilderness Act at 50"

Read a history of the Wilderness Act and what it has meant to Oregon since it was signed into law 50 years ago by our own Oregon Chapter Historian, Ron Eber. His article is posted on the Oregon Chapter Blog at Oregon Blog: "The Eternal Battle".

All Things Wilderness: "Wilderness.Net"

A Web Site Devoted Wilderness Areas

A superb web site created by the University of Montana, this is the "go to" place for information about any Wilderness Area in the United States. In addition to general information on policy and management practices, there is detailed information and maps for every Wilderness Area. Their GIS data is the source of the Oregon Wilderness Areas map above. Go to:

“Wilderness is a necessity… There must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls.” ~ John Muir, Sierra Club Founder.