Overlooking Hells Canyon, Oregon

The Wilderness Land Trust Protects Pacific Northwest Watersheds by Adding Wilderness Parcels to Washington’s Alpine Peaks and Oregon’s Deepest Canyon

The Wilderness Land Trust Protects Pacific Northwest Watersheds by Adding Wilderness Parcels to Washington’s Alpine Peaks and Oregon’s Deepest Canyon

Sep. 17, 2015

Organization builds on prior acquisitions in Glacier Peaks and Hells Canyon Wilderness Areas


CARBONDALE, CO … Families and schools are the recent beneficiaries of two wilderness land acquisition projects completed by The Wilderness Land Trust in the Pacific Northwest this July. The Trust has transferred 246 acres private property to the US Forest Service for inclusion in the National Forests and National Wilderness Preservation System. The Glacier Peak Wilderness project put to rest 100 acres of mining claims on Cascade Peak, high in the alpine ecosystem. A Hells Canyon Wilderness project secured land on the canyon rim, overlooking the famed Snake River. The Trust celebrates that these properties are no longer available for activities inconsistent with the wilderness that surrounds them and are now public land.


The recently acquired 100-acre Glacier Peak Wilderness property is located on the rugged ridgeline between Mix Up Peak and Cascade Peak and had been patented in 1907 for lead and silver prospecting. The most recent generation of landowners fondly remembers mule trips over rugged terrain to work the claims by hand, but is pleased that the land can now be incorporated into wilderness for all alpine travelers, human or animal, to use in solitude. “We are glad the deal worked out for everyone involved,” the landowner said. “The land is now where it belongs.” 


The Trust has now permanently protected 160 acres of land in this Wilderness, preventing future mining, keeping sweeping alpine vistas intact, and securing the upper reaches of the Cascade River watershed on the edge of Cascade National Park.


The Wilderness Land Trust also brings to completion its first project in Oregon, building on work recently completed on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon Wilderness. Parcels totaling 146 acres secure the legacy of Pete Seeger, folk singer and social activist, and all those who worked to ensure the Snake River would be protected as it ran through America’s deepest river gorge. Seeger penned his famous song ‘Don’t Ask What a River is For’ while rafting the Snake River in protest of dam construction and support of a national recreation area in 1972.


The purchase of the parcels from the State of Oregon resulted in Oregon’s Common School Fund benefitting from the proceeds of the sale.  The wildflower-strewn properties have now been transferred to the US Forest Service for inclusion in the National Forest and Hells Canyon Wilderness. Wildlife can forever travel freely across the landscape without the threat of development and the Snake River below will not be polluted from above.


The Wilderness Land Trust was able to purchase these lands when the landowners were ready to sell thanks to private donors, lenders and foundations that contribute to its Wilderness Opportunity Fund. For more information on supporting a project important to you, please visit www.wildernesslandtrust.org/support.


Transferred parcels shown in red. Hells Canyon Wilderness and NCA, Oregon.


Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.



The National Wilderness Preservation System

Wilderness is a refuge for animals, plants, clean water, clean air and a foundation for 21st century conservation. It may hold the key to future conservation and the tools for adapting to global climate change. However, the system is still filled with holes, 180,000 acres of private lands that fracture the whole. Across the country there are plans to develop mines, retreats, logging operations and resorts deep within wilderness holdings, fragmenting a resource that cannot afford to be lost.  The Trust’s continuing mission to eliminate these pockets of inholdings and create a seamless wilderness system is vital, echoing the spirit and intent of the original Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Land Trust is the only national organization dedicated solely to buying these lands and adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System.


The Wilderness Land Trust

The Wilderness Land Trust (WLT) is a small, highly specialized nonprofit organization established to buy and protect wilderness land. Since it was founded in 1992, the non-profit organization has preserved 421 parcels comprised of more than 42,400 acres of wilderness inholdings in 95 designated and proposed wilderness areas. The Wilderness Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, has offices in California and Colorado. WLT is an accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and is a 1% for the Planet Non-Profit Partner. For more information visit our website www.wildernesslandtrust.org.

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Since it was founded in 1992, The Wilderness Land Trust organization has preserved 447 parcels comprised of more than 48,872 acres of wilderness inholdings in 103 designated and proposed wilderness areas. 

(Updated 12/2017)