Siskiyou Wild Rivers
Diverse, fire-sculpted forests. Rushing rivers flashing with wild salmon and trout. Deep canyons and craggy peaks. Vast unspoiled expanses, imbued with mystery and beauty. An ancient landscape with wildflowers found nowhere else on earth. The heart of biodiversity on America's west coast, this priceless place is called Siskiyou Wild Rivers – a place where future generations can enjoy wild salmon and trout, rushing rivers, and the wonders of the Siskiyou Mountains and forests.
KS Wild seeks to establish robust, cohesive protections for the forests and watersheds of five Wild & Scenic Rivers. To conserve them, commercial logging, mining and off-road vehicle use will be restricted. Roadless areas will be protected as Wilderness, and 22 candidate rivers will be given Wild & Scenic River status. No private lands or valid existing rights of way will be affected.
The region is home to five federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers and 22 candidate rivers - the largest concentration of Wild and Scenic Rivers of any National Forest in the nation. Twelve hundred miles of clear, free-flowing rivers and streams support viable and robust populations of naturally reproducing coho salmon, fall Chinook salmon, winter steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, green sturgeon and Pacific lamprey.
A half-million acres of wildlands make this the largest remaining complex of unprotected roadless areas between Canada and Mexico on the Pacific coast. These wildlands provide a vitally important linkage from the Cascades to the Coast Ranges.
Ancient and complex geology, coupled with rugged topography and relatively low elevation, have made the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area a hotspot of botanical diversity. A number of plant species have survived here for more than 10 million years though glaciation led to their extinction in other places. The botanical diversity found here led the World Conservation Union to designate the region as an Area of Global Botanical Significance.
With 32 conifer species, the Klamath-Siskiyou region is among the most diverse temperate conifer forests in the world. The older coniferous forests in the region provide valuable services in helping to moderate the forces driving climate change. Scientists have found that more carbon is stored per acre in these older coniferous forests than in any other forests in the world.
Beyond being one of the most important salmon strongholds on the Pacific Coast and a global hotspot for botanical diversity, the region is also a haven for wildlife and boasts a high number of reptile and amphibian species.
Unfortunately, the region is threatened by mining, logging (road building), plant disease, invasive species and off-road vehicles. KS Wild is combating these threats and working to gain permanent protection for the ecological values and economic benefits of these wild places for future generations.
We would like to see an integrated community fire management plan to assist private landowners with fire-safety improvements, and reduce fuels in tree plantations and prioritized Community Protection Zones. Fuel reduction measures will include the removal of brush and small diameter trees as well as prescribed burning in controlled conditions. Road closures will reduce the risk of fire ignitions.
Restoration zones within the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area will close and remove unneeded roads, eradicate and control invasive plants and pathogens, reduce erosion sources, and restore previously logged and fire-suppressed forests. Restoration based forest management would improve, maintain, or restore forest health; restore or maintain water quality; improve fish and wildlife habitat; reestablish native plant species and increase their resilience to climate change, insects and disease; and reduce hazardous fuels that pose risks to communities and ecosystem values through an open, collaborative process.
Economic & Scientific Benefits
Protection of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area will contribute significantly to tourism and recreation, leading to a net increase in employment for the area. In addition, restoration and fire-safety efforts will provide quality jobs for local residents. By protecting large unspoiled areas, the proposal will also facilitate and encourage scientific endeavors to learn from the outstanding biological diversity, rare geology and natural fire cycles of the area.
Where is the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area located?
The Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area, located in the southwestern corner of Oregon and northwestern California, encompasses portions of Josephine, Curry, Coos and Del Norte Counties. The area includes over one million acres of public lands managed by the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Owned by all Americans, the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area is a world-class piece of our national heritage.
Your Help is Needed
To learn how you can help conserve the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area for future generations, contact Joseph Vaile, KS Wild's Program Director. Call 541-488-5789 or email joseph at kswild.org.