KWW Protection Plan
A Different Approach
The Oregon Sierra Club Keep Waldo Wild campaign seeks to add legislative protection to approximately 76,000 acres in the Waldo Lake area of the Oregon High Cascades. This additional area is vital to maintain the watershed and exceptionally pure water quality of the lake, maintain the north/south wildlife corridor link from the Three Sisters Wilderness to the north and Diamond Peak Wilderness to the south, and preserve the pristine old growth area along the Cascade Crest and Pacific Crest Trail.
Our original goal was to create additional Wilderness Areas to complement the existing Waldo Lake Wilderness and Three Sisters Wilderness Areas. However, as we introduced the idea to other users of the area, such as mountain bikers and trail runners, it became quickly apparent that our proposal for Wilderness designation for the entire area would meet with strong opposition from these very environmentally engaged organizations. The area is heavily used by the mountain biking communities from Bend, Oakridge, and Eugene, and also is the location for an annual ultra-marathon race that goes through the greater Maiden Peak and South Waldo areas. These user organizations are strong environmentalists and are active stewards of the trails they use.
Consequently, we explored other ways of accomplishing our primary goals of permanently excluding logging and motorized vehicles from the area. This led us to the National Conservation Area model used extensively on BLM lands, which establishes multi-user conservation areas, but yet provides strong environmental protections for those areas. We propose establishing a Forest Conservation Area that will surround Waldo Lake on the east and south sides to buffer the lake from environmentally damaging uses. We also propose five Wilderness Area Additions that will protect especially pristine and visually unique old growth forest areas adjacent to the existing Three Sisters and Waldo Lake Wildernesses. This concept has obtained enthusiastic approval from both local and national runner and mountain biker organizations. We consider their support as essential to the political viability of adding permanent legislative protection for this stunning High Cascades area of Oregon.
Establish a Waldo Forest Conservation Area
There are eight units proposed for additional protection that will jointly comprise the Waldo Forest Conservation Area of about 60,000 acres. While a new concept for National Forests, the Forest Conservation Area is adapted from the National Conservation Area model used extensively for Bureau of Land Management lands. This model provides tailored protections for areas while also allowing compatible recreation use. The Waldo Forest Conservation Area will protect the areas from logging and motorized vehicle use, while continuing to allow use of the area's trails by mountain bikers and ultra-marathon trail running groups.
There are eight proposed Waldo Forest Conservation Area Units:
- Deer Camp Lake - Adds 392 acres of protection to an area just west of the proposed Deer Camp Lake Wilderness Addition (see below). This area is very scenic Inventoried Roadless Area and will maintain the Eugene to Pacific Trail open to mountain biking.
- Betty Lake - Adds 648 acres north of the proposed Betty Lake Wilderness Addition up to the Shadow Bay access road and east to the Waldo access road.
- Marilyn Lakes - A 772 acre area surrounded by Highway 58, the Waldo Lake access road, and the Gold Lake access road. Though a small area, the Marilyn Lakes is mostly old growth that surrounds two scenic lakes.
- Middle Waldo - Protects 2,753 acres between the Waldo Lake shore to the Waldo access road from the Shadow Bay campground on the south to Islet campground on the north.
- Cultus - Adds 3,226 acres of protection on the western and southern shores of Cultus Lake to Forest Road 640 on the south, to the proposed Cultus Wilderness Addition on the west.
- Charlton - Adds 4,646 acres of protection, bounded by Charlton Wilderness Addition on the north, FR 2031 on the west, FR 4290 on the south, and to the vicinity of Lemish Butte on the east.
- South Waldo - Will add 10,143 acres of protection south from the existing Waldo Wilderness to Highway 58, and east to Forest Road 5897 (Waldo Lake access road). The proposed addition also wraps around the southern boot of the wilderness and extends west to include Mt. David Douglass, “Hell’s Half Acre,” and the Verdun Rock area.
- Maiden Peak - Adds 37,326 acres of protected forest lands, much of it old growth Hemlock, bounded by road 5897 on the west, road 4290 on the north, Highway 58 on the south, and a north-south line running parallel to and about 3 miles west of Cascade Lakes Highway.
Create Wilderness Area Additions
We are also proposing five additions to the existing Waldo Lake Wilderness and Three Sisters Wilderness:
- Cultus - Adds 2,228 acres to the Three Sisters Wilderness, extending it to the western edges of Little Cultus Lake and Deer Lake.
- Betty Lake - Adds 1,729 acres to the Waldo Lake Wilderness, extending it out to the Waldo Lake access road and including Betty Lake and several other small and pristine lakes.
- Deer Camp Lake - Extends the Waldo Lake Wilderness Area to the southwest to include the Deer Camp Lake roadless area (2,809 acres).
- West Waldo - Adds the 3,469 acre Waldo Salmon Creek roadless area to the Waldo Lake Wilderness Area
- Charlton - Adds a 5,612 acre area to the Waldo Lake Wilderness Area, extending south from the old Waldo Lake Road, excluding the Taylor Lake developed campground, to the base of Charlton Butte. This area is old growth Mountain Hemlock and is a currently designated roadless area.
The map below shows our proposed protection areas surrounding Waldo Lake.
The existing access roads and campgrounds are outside our proposed protection areas. The mountain bike trails considered important by the Bend, Oakridge, and Eugene mountain biking associations (see more on the "Maps" and "Contacts and Endorsement" pages on this subject) are contained in the Forest Conservation Area where they will remain open to mountain biking. This is also true for the trails used by the Waldo 100 Ultra-marathon annual trail run. All areas will remain open to hiking, camping, and equestrian activities.
The entire area proposed for protection, both Forest Conservation and Wilderness Additions, is currently designated Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA) by the Forest Service. It is also not designated as an area open to logging by the Willamette and Deschutes National Forest Service Land Use Management Plans (see more on this on the Maps page). Click on the map below to see a larger version.
We have more maps - to help you understand how we drew our proposed boundaries and established our protection model. Enjoy!
A Draft Legislative Bill
Review our draft legislative language for implementing our Waldo Area protection plan: Waldo Protection Bill Draft.
Next, Our 2014 Campaign Plan
Now that understand how we want further protect the Waldo Lake area, read about our 2014 Campaign plan to make it happen.