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Willamette National Forest
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Location Oregon, USA
Nearest city Eugene, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Coordinates 43°13′21″N 122°15′15″W / 43.2225°N 122.25417°W / 43.2225; -122.25417Coordinates: 43°13′21″N 122°15′15″W / 43.2225°N 122.25417°W / 43.2225; -122.25417
Area 1,675,407 acres (6,780.13 km2)
Established 1933
Governing body United States Forest Service
Map of the Willamette National Forest.

The Willamette National Forest is a National Forest located in the central portion of the Cascade Range of Oregon, US.[1] It contains 1,675,407 acres (2,618 mi², 6,780.13 km²) making it one of the largest national forests. Over 380,000 acres (694 mi², 1,540 km²) are designated wilderness which include seven major mountain peaks. There are also several Wild and Scenic Rivers. The forest is named for the Willamette River which has its headwaters in the Forest. Forest headquarters are located in the city of Eugene. There are local ranger district offices in McKenzie Bridge, Mill City, Detroit, Sweet Home, and Westfir.[2]

The Forest is famous for being at the center of the debate between lumberjacks and the Northern Spotted Owl. Environmentalists maintain this forest was over-aggressively clear-cut for many years threatening a federally-listed endangered species. The timber industry contends that the forest can simultaneously provide lumber jobs and wildlife habitat. Since April 1994, the Forest is governed by the Northwest Forest Plan, which restricts—but does not eliminate—logging in potential spotted owl habitat.[3] Despite protest, the forest is still heavily logged and a drive through the region shows many recent clear-cuts.

The Forest stretches for over 100 miles (160 km) along the western slopes of the Cascade Range in western Oregon. It extends from the Mount Jefferson area east of Salem to the Calapooya Ridge which divides the watersheds of the Willamette and Umpqua Rivers. Most of the forest (about 61%) is located in Lane County, but there are large areas in Linn, Marion, and Douglas counties, as well as much smaller areas in Clackamas and Jefferson counties.

The elevation of the Forest ranges from about 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level on the western edge of the forest to almost 10,500 feet (3,200 m) at the top of Mount Jefferson, Oregon's second highest peak. Seven major peaks of the Cascades—Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Diamond Peak, North, Middle and South Sisters—as well as numerous high mountain lakes are within these wilderness areas. The McKenzie River and the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River are Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Helicopter carrying timber along the Breitenbush River in the Willamette National Forest

The Willamette National Forest receives 80 to 150 inches (2,000 to 3,800 mm)[4] of precipitation each year from moist onshore Pacific Ocean flow which encounters adiabatic cooling rising over the Cascades. Much of the precipitation is received in the form of snow which accumulates in higher elevations from October through April.[4] The rain and snow melt drain into the McKenzie, Santiam, and Willamette Rivers, which flow from the Forest and provide high quality drinking water to the citizens of Eugene, Salem, Corvallis, and Albany. There are over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of rivers and streams on the Forest and over 375 lakes.

The forest's dominant tree species is the Douglas-fir, the State tree of Oregon. Douglas-fir is also a valuable timber species in the United States. The Forest still contains some stands of old-growth forest, some of which are over 300 feet (90 m) tall, among the tallest trees in the world, with tree diameters ranging from three to eight feet (0.9 to 2.4 m). A 1993 Forest Service study estimated that the extent of old growth in the Forest was 594,800 acres (240,700 ha)[5].

Over one dozen other conifer species are common on the Forest as well, including Western Redcedar, Incense-cedar, Western White Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Pacific Yew, Western Hemlock, Mountain Hemlock, and several species of Fir. The Willamette National Forest is home to over 300 species of fish and wildlife, including the northern spotted owl, Northern Bald Eagle, Chinook salmon, Bull trout, Southern Red-backed Vole, Wolverine, and several other sensitive and threatened species.

Contents

History

Willamette was established by the consolidation of Santiam National Forest and Cascade National Forest on July 1, 1933.

Wilderness

About one fifth, or 380,805 acres (1,541 km2), of the Willamette National Forest are designated as wilderness area, some of them conserving its old-growth forests:

External links

References

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Willamette National Forest [1] is located in the Cascade Mountains region of Oregon.

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