In 2003, Western Rivers Conservancy took important steps toward protecting the last several miles of one of Oregon's most beautiful streams, the Illinois River, a National Wild and Scenic River. We conveyed 871 acres along the Illinois, near its confluence with the Rogue River, to the Siskiyou National Forest. The land will be managed as part of the Illinois Wild and Scenic River Corridor.
WRC worked for five years with the landowner and the Siskiyou National Forest to place the 871-acre property into public ownership. The purchase was made possible by an appropriation of $2,250,000 from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund.
The Illinois River was once a great producer of fall chinook salmon and winter steelhead. Numbers have fallen off over the last twenty years, primarily because of higher water temperatures, but restoration efforts are underway. Wildlife abound along the river, including black bear, deer, river otter and many other species.
The Illinois is known for its challenging rapids and magnificent scenery. Thousands of people come every summer to hike, float and fish the Illinois River. Directly across the river from the 871-acre property is the trailhead for the major trail leading up the Illinois wild and Scenic Area to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness high country. With this property, Western Rivers Conservancy has taken an important step toward protecting the Illinois' wild beauty.
Photo credits: Thomas O'Keefe