Wilderness 50: Back to the Future

 Gabe Howe, Executive Director Siskiyou Mountain Club watches two crosscut saw contestants during the Wilderness 50 Celebration held at SOU campus. WWChin 2014 photo

Gabe Howe, Executive Director Siskiyou Mountain Club watches two crosscut saw contestants during the Wilderness 50 Celebration held at SOU campus. WWChin 2014 photo

 Andy Kerr (L) talks with Howard Hunter (R) former assistant monument manager of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. WWChin 2014 Photo

Andy Kerr (L) talks with Howard Hunter (R) former assistant monument manager of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. WWChin 2014 Photo

Gorgeous poetic images of Oregon’s wild landscapes revealed vulnerable treasures. Andy Kerr, featured speaker for Wilderness 50 Celebration held at Southern Oregon University, told about lessons learned in championing conservation since the 1964 Wilderness Act. He counsels to always be ready—there’s a vast portfolio such as Valley of the Giants, Oregon Dunes to the Owhyee Canyons, and Oregon’s wild scenic rivers. It’s hard to think why he was once considered the “most hated man in Oregon” when he reasons about the long-term economic benefits of clean drinking water, air, and wildlife habitat, resulting from protected wilderness. Oregon’s wilderness lands are a finite resource, and Andy presses for the connectivity of these large expanses that springs forth the biodiversity of life. Andy Kerr, a 5th generation Oregonian, knows that conservation also demands a diversity of participants and ways to work together.
     Our next generation of conservation leaders was working the booths at Wilderness 50. Representatives from over a dozen public lands agencies, nature and outdoor recreation groups introduced the SOU community and public to what our local area offers. The film Wild By Law documented the hard-fought struggle towards the signing of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Looking back is our future in the hands of young people moving onward. Andy wrote this dedication in his book, Oregon Wild: Endangered Forest Wilderness: “To all who have ever raised a voice, a hand or some hell to save Oregon’s remaining wilderness. And to all those who will.”

Listen to Andy Kerr In the Wilderness - JPR Interview (16:22min) with Geoffrey Riley

Many thanks to Wilderness 50 Celebration 2014 participants at SOU campus.
     Read The Siskiyou SOU Celebrates 50 Years of the Wilderness 
SOU Bird Club; SOU Ecology Center of the Siskiyous; SOU Environmental Education Program; BLM, Medford District, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument; Applegate Trails Association; Coyote Trails; KS Wild; National Park Service, Klamath Lava Beds; Pacific Crest Trail Association; Siskiyou Field Institute; Siskiyou Mountain Trail Club; US Forest Service, Medford District, and to event coordinators Jill Smedstad, Environmental and Community Engagement Coordinator, ECOS; Katherine McCredie, ECOS student co-director, ECOS; Gabe Howe, Executive Director, Siskiyou Mountain Trail Club and Justin Glasgow, BLM Medford District, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument along with Terry Dickey, Chair, Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.