Celebrate the Kalmiopsis and its wild rivers
September 3rd, 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the establishment of Southwest Oregon’s Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Pronounced “Kal-me-op-sis,” this ruggedest of wilderness areas is home to three hauntingly beautiful National Wild and Scenic Rivers—the Illinois, Chetco and North Fork Smith. It’s legendary plant diversity and wild rivers are to be celebrated but it’s a job half done.
Equally stark, river rich and botanically unique are the unprotected North and South Kalmiopsis—the two largest Roadless Areas in Oregon. It’s time to make this ancient primal refuge of pure waters, wild salmon and great plant rarity whole.
A decade ago the Bush Administration recommended Congress add parts of the North and South Kalmiopsis to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Congress didn’t act. Two decades ago the Forest Service found, Silver, Indigo, Josephine/Canyon, Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks nationally outstanding and eligible to become Wild and Scenic Rivers. They’re still unprotected.
Let’s celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness by beginning the job of finishing it.