The Mount Hood National Forest has been getting more and more overrun in recent years by throngs who are loving it to death and this crush of humanity has only become worse since Covid. On the one hand it's great to see more people getting outdoors and (hopefully) appreciating pristine nature. But the intensity of these crowds is not good the forest and it's not good for anyone seeking solitude and peace in the wilderness. The crowds, coupled with disastrous wildfires in recent years, have spurred Representative Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden to propose a huge expansion of federally protected land to disperse crowds and bring logging operations in line with wildfire protection and conservation.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Erik Fernandez, Wilderness Program Manager for Oregon Wild, who has been coordinating with Blumenauer's office on this effort.