Chetco River

With its headwaters in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, the Chetco River is one of Oregon's most outstanding streams. It is renowned for its runs of salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, which include wild populations of fall chinook, coho salmon and winter steelhead. Working in partnership with the Siskiyou Project, Western Rivers Conservancy prevented destructive placer mining on the Chetco by purchasing over 2,000 acres of mining claims along this treasured stream. (Photos by Zach Collier, Northwest Rafting Co.)

The Chetco is a National Wild and Scenic River, famous for its crystal-clear water. It has some of the highest salmonid returns of any coastal stream in Oregon.

Proposed mining along the upper reaches of the Chetco would have disturbed riverbanks, silted the water and dramatically increased the likelihood of massive slope failure. This would have been disastrous for the Chetco and its fish and wildlife.

After working tirelessly for a decade, Western Rivers Conservancy was able to purchase and convey the mining rights along the upper Chetco to the U.S. Forest Service for permanent conservation. The lands are now part of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and receive the highest conservation protection under the law.