A homegrown movement to protect the clear waters and wild rivers of Oregon's Kalmiopsis - Wild Rivers Coast

Wild river fans want Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks protected

Updated 4/2/2013   Many in the crowd at Northwest Rafting Company’s Wild Rivers Night were seeing Rough and Ready Creek for the first time as Zachary Collier presented slides from two days of kayaking the creek’s little known north and south forks. It would be an adventure under normal circumstances but it turned out one of the days they chose to run the creeks was during Southwest Oregon’s big December snowstorm.

The storm was severe enough to close the interstate in two directions but this didn’t deter the paddlers and the photos they and Daniel Wakefield Pasley of Yonder Journal brought back to share with the rest of us are glorious. Rough and Ready Creek and Baldface Creek are increasingly threatened by nickel strip mining. See below for how you can also help protect these two Oregon treasures by sending a quick email.

Zach Collier (behind the camera) and J.R. Wier (kayak) exploring the South Fork of Rough and Ready Creek 12/20/2013 (NW Rafting Co. photo)
Zach Collier (behind the camera) and J.R. Wier (kayak) exploring the South Fork of Rough and Ready Creek.  Zach: “It was snowing like crazy but ridiculously beautiful.”  (NW Rafting Co. photo)

At end of the event the wild river enthusiasts signed a letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley asking them to permanently protect Rough and Ready Creek and Baldface Creek through the introduction of legislation. See below how you help by adding your voice to theirs.

Zach Collier presenting Rough and Ready Creek to the crowd at Wild Rivers Night.
Zach Collier presenting Rough and Ready Creek at Wild Rivers Night (Northwest Rafting Co. photo).

A celebration of wild rivers—The 3rd Annual Portland, Oregon event, for the benefit organizations focusing on river conservation, was organized by Northwest Rafting Company and held at the beautifully renovated KEEN Garage. The recap of the event includes photos and some of the videos that were presented, including a moving presentation of tribal efforts to restore lampreys to parts of the Columbia Basin.

Photographer and author Tim Palmer, from Port Orford, Oregon, was the emcee and Ann Vileisis, president of Kalmiopsis Audubon, showed slides of the Wild and Scenic Chetco River and described the long journey to provide additional protection for this world class salmon and steelhead river.

Tim Palmer presenting to Wild Rivers Night Crowd.
Author and photographer Tim Palmer was emcee for Wild Rivers Night (Northwest Rafting Co. photo).

Ann showed slides of the part of the Chetco that will be protected from large scale instream mining by legislation introduced in the House and Senate in 2010 by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio. The photos were from their trip last summer with Oregon Field Guide. They had to paddle up the river first before floating down. Learn more about their trip and watch the video. You can also see Northwest Rafting Company’s photos of this stretch of the Chetco. The Wild and Scenic Rogue River was also featured in a presentation about the legislation that will provide greater protection for it.

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Letter sent to Senators Wyden and Merkley.

Wild river fans send letter to Senators Wyden and Merkley—After the presentations the audience signed a letter to Senators Wyden and Merkley asking them to reintroduce and champion the Chetco River Protection Act, the Rogue Wilderness Area Expansion Act and to introduce legislation to protect Rough and Ready Creek and Baldface Creek.  The letter was mailed the next day with hopes of capturing some of the evening’s energy and good spirit.

You can help too—We’re just learning that Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks are more threatened than ever from large scale nickel strip mining. Join the Wild Rivers Night crowd by taking a moment to send an email to:

Here’s the message—Please introduce legislation to permanently protect Rough and Ready Creek, Baldface Creek and the South Kalmiopsis and urge the Obama Administration to withdraw the area from mining, the location of new mining claims and acquisition under the 1872 Mining Law. Thank you for reintroducing legislation to protect the Wild and Scenic Chetco River and the Wild Rogue and to expand the Oregon Caves National Monument.

Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks are unfinished business. They were found eligible to be added to the National Wild and Scenic River System two decades ago and most of their watersheds were recommended as additions to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in 2004 by the Bush Administration. Their permanent protection is long overdue.

Special thanks to Zachary Collier and Northwest Rafting Company for sponsoring and organizing Wild Rivers Night and Zach, J. R. Wier, Lori Turbes and photographer Daniel Wakefield Pasley for braving the big December storm to explore the little known North and South Forks of Rough and Ready Creek. They brought back unique and gorgeous photos to share with the rest of us and to help provide the impetus for lawmakers to act. You’ll be seeing a lot of their work in the effort to provide permanent protection for Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks.

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