The Oregon Mountain Botanical Area is a rare plant site located on the Wild Rivers Ranger District of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Southwest Oregon’s Josephine County. At 2,623 acres, it is one of the larger Botanical Areas designated by the 1989 Siskiyou National Forest Management Plan. The plan adopted the smaller of two options.
The Botanical Area is accessed by Forest Service road 4402, which runs along the West Fork Illinois River. Most of the area is underlain by the ultramafic/serpentine of an ancient geologic formation known as the Josephine ophiolite or Josephine Ultramafic Sheet.
Botanists from Oregon and many parts of the world know Oregon Mountain (and Eight Dollar Mountain) as focal points for rare plants associated with serpentine soils.
Adjacent BLM lands have similar values. One area of BLM lands has been proposed as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
CAUTION: Whisky Creek, the West Fork Illinois River and FS road 4402 are infested with the Port Orford Cedar Root Disease (Phytophthora lateralis). Port Orford cedar along Whisky Creek and the West Fork Illinois River are dying from the non-native root disease. The plant pathogen is spread in water and mud on vehicles. Do not transfer mud or water from the area into uninfected areas. The introduction of the P. lateralis is irreversible. It’s fatal to Port Orford cedar. The cedar is a component of rare plant communities along stream banks and in Serpentine Darlingtonia Wetlands.
The Port Orford cedar root disease was introduced by off-highway vehicles using a Forest Service gravel pit as a play area. The gravel pit is located off road 4402 in the headwaters of Whisky Creek in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area. While the root disease introduction occurred in the 1990s, the Forest Service has yet to address the source of the infection.
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