What is the Adopt-a-Wilderness program?
The Adopt-a-Wilderness program brings Oregonians closer to the land we
love, and in so doing, builds local constituencies for protection of
wilderness areas. As an integral piece to the 4.8 million acre Wilderness
Proposal, Oregon Wild, this year-round program collects valuable "on the
ground" data from volunteers to update roadless maps and provides the
foundation for the proposal.
Here’s how it works:
A wilderness adopter picks a favorite area that may need protection. If he
/ she doesn’t have a favorite area in mind, he / she will be given a list
of nearby unprotected wilderness areas that need an adopter. Individuals
and groups of all shapes and sizes can adopt areas. For example, in both
Portland and Ashland, church groups have adopted their favorite areas.
Wilderness adopters learn map skills: how to read
various maps and satellite photos of forests, and how to update and verify
mapping data. Adopters will be given a packet containing maps and data
about the area. Follow-up assistance is offered as needed. The boundary of
the adopted wilderness area should be verified, noting existing logging
roads around its perimeter and adding information about new roads and
logged tracts that might not be on the maps.
The adopter also hikes through the area, taking
pictures and recording information about the values of the place, the
plants and wildlife, the scenery, the hiking trails, and other points of
interest. Threats to the area from proposed logging, road building,
mining, overgrazing or overuse by recreationists should be noted. The
adopter may become local advocate for their area. This could include
offering hikes, giving slide shows, setting up displays at local community
events, and contacting local officials about the need to protect the area.
The information gathered by each wilderness adopter
on his / her area will help form a citizen proposal for Wilderness
protection throughout Oregon. ONRC may request adopters and Wilderness
supporters from around the state to testify in Wilderness Hearings asking
our Congressional Representatives to support the Oregon Citizens
In three years’ time, approximately 380 volunteers
have adopted 340 roadless areas to serve as mappers, monitors, and
publicists until the areas receive formal Wilderness protection from
Congress. Add to that the individuals who have joined adopter teams and
attended trainings, campouts & hikes, and there are over 1,000 people who
have found a new appreciation for the special character of Oregon’s
forested wild lands.
As the number of wilderness adopters continues to
grow, so will the strength of the campaign to protect the remaining
forested wild lands in Oregon.
For more information contact Erik Fernandez at ONRC
at 503 283 6343 x202, or by e-mail at