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Jared Kennedy | 07.09.2014

We joined Oregon Wild for a trip to Lookout Mountain to the east of Mount Hood. It was the first of three hikes this summer we're partnering with Oregon Wild on, as part of the celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Jonathan Jelen, Development Director for Oregon Wild, led a group of nine of us to the summit viewpoint and on side trails in the area. Not only was it a spectacular sunny day spent in a true gem of the outdoors with great people, but we also learned why wilderness is special. 

Lookout Mountain is in the Badger Creek Wilderness, an area that was permanently protected as part of the 1984 Oregon Wilderness Act, which included protections for over 800,000 acres of Oregon. Areas protected at that time included portions of the Eagle Cap, Strawberry Mountain, Waldo Lake, and Badger Creek to name a few.

Jonathan shared many stories about wilderness, as well as a challenge for Oregon to designate more wilderness areas. In his words: "Wilderness is the gold standard for public land protections. In Oregon, we've protected 4% of our state as wilderness. For comparison's sake, California has protected 15%, Washington's at 10%, and even Idaho has protected 8%. So we have a real wilderness deficit that we need to correct."

In early August, we're hosting two more hikes to wilderness areas with Oregon Wild, and you're invited to join us. On Sunday, August 3, we'll head to the Menagerie Wilderness and add a new adventure to Outdoor Project in the process so more people can visit this place. And on Saturday, August 9, we'll hike on Mount Hood's Vista Ridge.

A visit to a wilderness area is always an energizing experience, but taking a hike with Oregon Wild offers a lot more perspective and information on the work that goes into keeping these places part of our public natural heritage. You'll learn, as we did on the hike to Lookout Mountain, how you can become a part of the effort to create more wilderness in Oregon and elsewhere, and you'll meet many other people who share a love of the outdoors along the way. Sign up for these or another a hike with Oregon Wild today.

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