Drawing Lines in the Forest
Creating Wilderness Areas in the Pacific Northwest
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Washington Press
Foreword: God and the Devil Are in the Details
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In the growing literature of American environmental history, few subjects have generated livelier debate or richer scholarship than the origins and evolution of wilderness in the United States. Starting in 1967 with Roderick Nash’s classic Wilderness and the American Mind, historians have traced the myriad roles that wilderness and the landscapes to which this word has been attached have played in our national experience. ...
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Although I have spent countless hours alone on this project, I have never been lonely in the process; my thoughts often wandered to the many people who have shaped my understanding of the Cascades, wilderness, and the study of history. Many of the questions pursued here arose during countless trips into the backcountry of the Cascades, often alone but most enjoyably with friends and family. I have ...
Introduction: Bringing Wilderness History Back to the Land
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There are places in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon where one can become immersed in a depth of isolation and solitude that is rare in our modern world. Within the dense forests that flourish on the rain-drenched western slopes of the range, hikers can lose themselves in “the forest primeval.” Seekers of solitude praise the opportunity to become lost in time and space. Such a perspective is ...
1. The Three Sisters, 1950―1964
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The valley of Horse Creek lies in the central Cascade Mountains of western Oregon. National-forest logging roads snake their way up the west side of the northward flowing creek, and a variety of clear-cut logging units break up the dense forest canopy of evergreen trees. These roads leave State Highway 126 near the town of McKenzie Bridge, where Horse Creek drains from the south into the McKenzie ...
2. The North Cascades, 1956―1968
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Simultaneous to releasing the secretary of agriculture’s decision to remove the western forests from the protection of the Three Sisters Primitive Area in Oregon in February 1957, the regional office of the Forest Service announced its report and recommendations on designating wilderness in the Glacier Peak Limited Area in the North Cascades of Washington State. To Karl Onthank, the timing was not a ...
3. Mount Jefferson, 1961―1968
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The Whitewater Creek valley reaches far into the Cascades, extending low-elevation Douglas fir forests nearly to the base of Mount Jefferson, the second tallest peak in Oregon. The valley pushes an incision so deeply into the Cascade Range that the high-elevation Mount Jefferson Primitive Area was pinched into a narrow belt between these valley forests on the west and the Warm Springs Indian ...
4. The Alpine Lakes, 1958―1976
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The remains of the cabin along Camp Robber Creek remind a hiker lucky enough to stumble upon them of an earlier form of land use in the Alpine Lakes region when solitary miners and trappers in the early twentieth century sought to extract marketable commodities for profit. Their cumulative impact on the landscape was small, but in the decades after World War II industrial logging followed in their ...
5. Returning French Pete to the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, 1968―1978
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By the 1970s, the wilderness movement in the Northwest had come a long way from Karl and Ruth Onthank’s living room in Eugene in 1954. The organizational structure and resources available to wilderness advocates and their influence on decisions regarding land use boundaries had expanded greatly over two decades. In addition, wilderness debates in the 1970s began to represent far more than just ...
6. Picking Up the Pieces, 1977―1984
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Bald Eagle Ridge winds westward from Dishpan Gap on the Cascade Crest, just south of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. Looking out to the north on a clear day, few places offer a better view of the high, alpine country on the flanks of Glacier Peak than this grassy ridge, sweet with the blossom of wildflowers in midsummer and fluorescent red and orange with the turning of the mountain ash and huckleberry in the fall. Facing around ...
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The broken-down cabin along the banks of Camp Robber Creek in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness lies quietly today, disappearing into the growing forest vegetation. Its immediate surroundings have not visibly changed in the past half century. No fires or landslides have come to transform the species composition of the site, and the planned logging roads and clear-cuts never reached that far up the valley. ...
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Publication Year: 2009