Western Oregon Wilderness Characteristic Assessments

As required under FLPMA and current BLM policy, the Bureau recently updated its wilderness characteristics inventories for western Oregon. The impetus for this update was the need for accurate information to support the ongoing revision of the BLM's Resource Management Plans for western Oregon. In conducting these inventories, the western Oregon districts followed the guidance provided in BLM Manual 6310—Conducting Wilderness Characteristics Inventory on BLM Lands. This manual provides a process for identifying BLM lands that meet the following criteria: a) encompass at least 5,000 acres of roadless, contiguous BLM lands ; b) appear to be in a natural condition; c) provide outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation.

The BLM conducted the inventories using available information (e.g. maps, photos, records related to projects, monitoring data, etc.), and field checked the information as necessary. As inventory maintenance, the BLM used the same criteria from Section 2(c) of the Wilderness Act to determine the presence or absence of wilderness characteristics.

In conducting this inventory update, the BLM performed an initial screening to identify all areas that could potentially meet the minimum size criteria. The screening was performed using Geographic Information System (GIS) data with the following parameters: (1) Spatial identification of BLM-administered lands that potentially met size criteria, (2) Screening such areas for the absence of roads meeting the wilderness inventory road definition using the BLM's Ground Transportation Network (GTRN) database. The western Oregon districts began detailed inventories of the resulting inventory units during the summer of 2012. All districts used an interdisciplinary process.

Coos Bay District

The Coos Bay District inventory found one area that possesses wilderness characteristics totaling 3,048 acres. This District has re-validated that their 2006 inventory updates, performed by an interdisciplinary team, remain sufficient in terms of relevance and supporting rationale. The remaining areas examined in detail were found to lack wilderness characteristics for a variety of reasons.

Medford District

Completed Inventories

The Medford District inventory found seven areas that possess wilderness characteristics totaling 85,254 acres. The remaining areas examined in detail were found to lack wilderness characteristics for a variety of reasons.

Inventories with Wilderness Characteristics

Inventories without Wilderness Characteristics

Most of the remaining lands clearly and obviously lacked wilderness characteristics due to roadless area sizes well below the Wilderness Act's minimum size criterion. However, the following reports address areas that warranted more intensive evaluation, but were ultimately found to lack wilderness characteristics:

Northwest Oregon District

Eugene District Inventory

No areas were found to meet the minimum criteria for having wilderness characteristics on the Eugene District.

Salem District Inventory

The Salem District inventory found four areas, including a total of nine subunits, that possess wilderness characteristics, resulting in a total of 2,624 acres. All areas rely on adjacent BLM wilderness or other federal lands with wilderness characteristics to meet the size criterion.

Roseburg District