Three Sisters Wilderness

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Three Sisters Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Middle and South Sister, looking north.jpg
Aerial view of the wilderness, showing Middle Sister (left) and South Sister
Location Lane / Deschutes counties, Oregon, USA
Nearest city Sisters, OR (20 miles NE)
Bend, OR (20 miles E)
Coordinates 44°05′N121°57′W / 44.083°N 121.950°W / 44.083; -121.950 Coordinates: 44°05′N121°57′W / 44.083°N 121.950°W / 44.083; -121.950
Area286,708 acres (1,160.27 km2)
EstablishedSeptember 3, 1964 (date of official designation under the Wilderness Act) [1]
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Three Sisters Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Cascade Range, within the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in Oregon, United States. It comprises 286,708 acres (1,160.27 km2), making it the second largest wilderness area in Oregon, after the Eagle Cap Wilderness. It was established by the United States Congress in 1964 and is named for the Three Sisters volcanoes. The wilderness boundary encloses the Three Sisters as well as Broken Top, which is southeast of South Sister. [2]

Contents

Three Sisters was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve under the Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1976, and was one of 17 reserves in the United States withdrawn from the programme in June 2017. [3] [4] [5]

Oregon Route 242 separates the Three Sisters Wilderness from the Mount Washington Wilderness to the north, while the Waldo Lake Wilderness shares the southern boundary. [2]

The three peaks were known by pioneers as Faith, Hope and Charity. [6] Nearby landmarks include The Husband, The Wife, and the Little Brother. [7]

Geology

Many types of landforms make up the wilderness area, but the most common are volcanic features, the most notable being the Cascades which are stratovolcanoes having formed around 1.6 million years ago. [8] Numerous cinder cones have formed on their flanks as well as many lava flows that contain hundreds of lava tubes. [9]

Proxy Falls in the wilderness Proxy Falls, Oregon.jpg
Proxy Falls in the wilderness

Topography

The Three Sisters Wilderness ranges in elevation from 2,000 to 10,363 feet (610 to 3,159 m). The Three Sisters—North Sister at 10,090 feet (3,075 m), Middle Sister at 10,052 feet (3,064 m), and South Sister at 10,363 feet (3,159 m) — are found in the eastern portion of the Wilderness. Including Broken Top—just to the south at 9,175 feet (2,797 m) — there are 14 glaciers offering one of the best examples of the effects of glaciation in the Pacific Northwest. Collier Glacier, between North and Middle Sister, is the largest glacier in Oregon. [2] The headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Whychus Creek (formerly Squaw Creek [10] ) emerge in the Wilderness. [2]

Vegetation

Forest cover in the Three Sisters Wilderness includes Douglas fir, Pacific silver fir, subalpine fir, mountain hemlock, western hemlock, lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine. A large area of the Wilderness above timberline contains alpine meadows. [11]

Recreation

Popular recreational activities in the Three Sisters Wilderness include camping, hiking, climbing and fishing. South Sister and Middle Sister are not technically difficult climbs, but summiting North Sister requires technical expertise and equipment. More than 260 miles (420 km) of trails cross the wilderness, including 40 miles (64 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. [11] The 9.8-mile (15.8 km) French Pete Trail and its surrounding old-growth forest, a nationwide political issue in the 1970s, are located on the western edge of the wilderness near Cougar Reservoir. [12]

Hikers in the wilderness south of South Sister Three Sisters Wilderness.JPG
Hikers in the wilderness south of South Sister

See also

Related Research Articles

Mount Bachelor

Mount Bachelor, formerly named Bachelor Butte, is a stratovolcano atop a shield volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the Cascade Range of central Oregon. Named Mount Bachelor because it "stands apart" from the nearby Three Sisters, it lies in the eastern segment of the central portion of the High Cascades, the eastern segment of the Cascade Range. The volcano lies at the northern end of the 15-mile (24 km) long Mount Bachelor Volcanic Chain, which underwent four major eruptive episodes during the Pleistocene and the Holocene. The United States Geological Survey considers Mount Bachelor a moderate threat, but Bachelor poses little threat of becoming an active volcano in the near future. It remains unclear whether the volcano is extinct or just inactive.

Mount Jefferson (Oregon)

Mount Jefferson is a stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, part of the Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. The second highest mountain in Oregon, it is situated within Linn County, Jefferson County, and Marion County and forms part of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Due to the ruggedness of its surroundings, the mountain is one of the hardest volcanoes to reach in the Cascades. It is also a popular tourist destination despite its remoteness, with recreational activities including hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, and photography. Vegetation at Mount Jefferson is dominated by Douglas fir, silver fir, mountain hemlock, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and several cedar species. Carnivores, insectivores, bats, rodents, deer, birds, and various other species inhabit the area.

Mount Thielsen Mountain in Oregon

Mount Thielsen, or Big Cowhorn, is an extinct shield volcano in the Oregon High Cascades, near Mount Bailey. Because eruptive activity ceased 250,000 years ago, glaciers have heavily eroded the volcano's structure, creating precipitous slopes and a horn-like peak. The spire-like shape of Thielsen attracts lightning strikes and creates fulgurite, an unusual mineral. The prominent horn forms a centerpiece for the Mount Thielsen Wilderness, a reserve for recreational activities such as skiing and hiking.

Three Fingered Jack

Three Fingered Jack is a summit of a shield volcano of the Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. Formed during the Pleistocene epoch, the mountain consists mainly of basaltic andesite lava and was heavily glaciated in the past. While other Oregon volcanoes that were heavily glaciated—such as Mount Washington and Mount Thielsen—display eroded volcanic necks, Three Fingered Jack's present summit is a comparatively narrow ridge of loose tephra supported by a dike only 10 feet (3.0 m) thick on a generally north–south axis. Radiating dikes and plugs that support this summit have been exposed by glaciation. The volcano has long been inactive and has been highly eroded.

Mount Washington (Oregon)

Mount Washington is a deeply eroded volcano in the Cascade Range of Oregon. It lies within Deschutes and Linn counties and is surrounded by the Mount Washington Wilderness area.

Mount McLoughlin

Mount McLoughlin is a dormant steep-sided stratovolcano, or composite volcano, in the Cascade Range of southern Oregon and within the Sky Lakes Wilderness. It is one of the volcanic peaks in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, within the High Cascades sector. A prominent landmark for the Rogue River Valley, the mountain is north of Mount Shasta, and Crater Lake lies to the north-northeast. It was named around 1838 after John McLoughlin, a Chief Factor for the Hudson's Bay Company. Mount McLouglin's prominence has made it a landmark to Native American populations for thousands of years.

Indian Heaven

Indian Heaven is a volcanic field in Skamania County in the state of Washington, in the United States. Midway between Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams, the field dates from the Pleistocene to the early Holocene epoch. It trends north to south and is dominated by six small shield volcanoes; these shields are topped by small spatter and cinder cones, and the field includes a number of subglacial volcanoes and tuyas. The northernmost peak in the field is Sawtooth Mountain and the southernmost is Red Mountain; its highest point is Lemei Rock at an elevation of 5,925 feet (1,806 m).

Willamette National Forest

The Willamette National Forest is a National Forest located in the central portion of the Cascade Range of the U.S. state of Oregon. It comprises 1,678,031 acres (6,790.75 km2). Over 380,000 acres are designated wilderness which include seven major mountain peaks. There are also several National Wild and Scenic Rivers within the forest. The forest is named for the Willamette River, which has its headwaters in the forest. The forest headquarters are located in the city of Springfield. There are local ranger district offices in McKenzie Bridge, Detroit, Sweet Home, and Westfir.

Broken Top

Broken Top is a glacially eroded complex stratovolcano. It lies in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, part of the extensive Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located southeast of the Three Sisters peaks, the volcano, residing within the Three Sisters Wilderness, is 20 miles (32 km) west of Bend, Oregon in Deschutes County. Eruptive activity stopped roughly 100,000 years ago, and currently, erosion by glaciers has reduced the volcano's cone to where its contents are exposed. There are two named glaciers on the peak, Bend and Crook Glacier.

Three Sisters (Oregon) Three volcanic peaks of the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the Cascade Range in Oregon

The Three Sisters are closely spaced volcanic peaks in the U.S. state of Oregon. They are part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Cascade Range in western North America extending from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. Each more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in elevation, they are the third-, fourth- and fifth-highest peaks in Oregon. Located in the Three Sisters Wilderness at the boundary of Lane and Deschutes counties and the Willamette and Deschutes national forests, they are about 10 miles (16 km) south of the nearest town, Sisters. Diverse species of flora and fauna inhabit the area, which is subject to frequent snowfall, occasional rain, and extreme temperature variation between seasons. The mountains, particularly South Sister, are popular destinations for climbing and scrambling.

Diamond Peak Wilderness

The Diamond Peak Wilderness is a wilderness area straddling the Cascade crest and includes the Diamond Peak volcano. It is located within two National Forests - the Willamette National Forest on the west and the Deschutes National Forest on the east.

Diamond Peak (Oregon)

Diamond Peak is a volcano in Klamath and Lane counties of central Oregon in the United States. It is a shield volcano, though it might also be considered a modest stratocone. Diamond Peak forms part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Cascade Range in western North America extending from southern British Columbia through Oregon to Northern California. Reaching an elevation of 8,748 feet (2,666 m), the mountain is located near Willamette Pass in the Diamond Peak Wilderness within the Deschutes and Willamette national forests. Surrounded by coniferous forest and visible in the skyline from foothills near Eugene, Diamond Peak offers a few climbing routes and can be scrambled.

Deschutes National Forest

The Deschutes National Forest is a United States National Forest located in parts of Deschutes, Klamath, Lake, and Jefferson counties in central Oregon. It comprises 1.8 million acres (7,300 km2) along the east side of the Cascade Range. In 1908, the Deschutes National Forest was established from parts of the Blue Mountains, Cascade, and Fremont National Forests. In 1911, parts of the Deschutes National Forest were split off to form the Ochoco and Paulina National Forests, and parts of the Cascade and Oregon National Forests were added to the Deschutes. In 1915, the lands of the Paulina National Forest were rejoined to the Deschutes National Forest. A 1993 Forest Service study estimated that the extent of old growth in the forest was 348,100 acres (140,900 ha). Within the boundaries of the Deschutes National Forest is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, containing cinder cones, lava flows, and lava tubes. The Deschutes National Forest as a whole contains in excess of 250 known caves. The forest also contains five wilderness areas, six National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Oregon Cascade Recreation Area, and the Metolius Conservation Area. Forest headquarters are located in Bend, Oregon. There are local ranger district offices in Bend, Crescent, and Sisters.

Mount Washington Wilderness

The Mount Washington Wilderness is a wilderness area located on and around Mount Washington in the central Cascade Range of Oregon in the United States. The wilderness was established in 1964 and comprises 54,278 acres (219.66 km2) of the Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest. It is administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

Mount Thielsen Wilderness

The Mount Thielsen Wilderness is a wilderness area located on and around Mount Thielsen in the southern Cascade Range of Oregon in the United States. It is located within the Deschutes, Umpqua, and Fremont–Winema national forests. It was established by the United States Congress in 1984 and comprises 55,100 acres (22,300 ha).

Mount Jefferson Wilderness

The Mount Jefferson Wilderness is a wilderness area located on and around Mount Jefferson in the central Cascade Range of Oregon in the United States. It is situated where the Willamette, Deschutes, and Mount Hood National Forests meet. Mount Jefferson Wilderness is the second most visited Oregon wilderness area after the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Hayrick Butte

Hayrick Butte is a tuya, a type of subglacial volcano, in Linn County, Oregon. Located in the Willamette National Forest near Santiam Pass, it lies adjacent to the cinder cone Hoodoo Butte, which has a ski area. Hayrick Butte likely formed when lava erupted underneath an overlying glacier or ice sheet, producing the flat top with near-vertical walls along the ice-contact margin as the lava cooled and hardened. Hayrick Butte has a nearly flat plateau about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) across and steep walls rising about 700 feet (0.21 km) above its surroundings. A cartographer accidentally switched the names for nearby Hoodoo Butte and Hayrick Butte; the word "hoodoo" usually refers to rock piles and pinnacles like those observed at Hayrick Butte.

Waldo Lake Wilderness

Waldo Lake Wilderness is a wilderness area surrounding Waldo Lake in the central Oregon Cascades. It is located within the Willamette National Forest. It was established in 1984 and consists of 37,162 acres (15,039 ha).

Cascades (ecoregion)

The Cascades ecoregion is a Level III ecoregion designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, and California. Somewhat smaller than the Cascade mountain range for which it is named, the ecoregion extends north to Snoqualmie Pass, near Seattle, and south to Hayden Pass, near the Oregon-California border, including the peaks and western slopes of most of the High Cascades. A discontiguous section is located on Mount Shasta in California.

Todd Lake (Oregon)

Todd Lake is a natural lake near the crest of the Cascade Range in central Oregon in the United States. The lake covers 45 acres (18 ha). It is named in honor of John Y. Todd, an early settler in Central Oregon. Today, the lake and surrounding forest is managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the Deschutes National Forest. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks the lake with brook trout. There is a day-use area and a rustic campground located on the west shore of the lake. In the summer, Todd Lake is a popular outdoor recreation site for picnicking, fishing, hiking, and nature viewing. In the winter, trails in the Todd Lake area are used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

References

  1. Hendee, John C.; Canon, Jr., William R.; Marlow, Larry D.; Brockman, C. Frank (1968). "Wilderness Users in the Pacific Northwest - Their Characteristics, Values, and Management Preferences" (PDF). U.S.D.A. Forest Service Research Paper PNW-61. U.S. Forest Service. p. 6. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Three Sisters Wilderness - Wilderness.net
  3. "Three Sisters" . Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  4. UNESCO. "Biosphere Reserves: Europe & North America" . Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  5. "23 new sites added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves". 14 June 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  6. McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (1974) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (4th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN   978-0875950389.
  7. Friedman, Ralph (1990). In Search of Western Oregon. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd. p. 694. ISBN   0-87004-332-3.
  8. "Geologic Provinces of the United States: Pacific". USGS . Retrieved July 6, 2013.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. Matt Skeels. "The Caves of Central Oregon". Oregon High Desert Grotto . Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  10. "Forest Service Proposes Central Oregon Name Changes". United States Forest Service. August 19, 2005. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007.
  11. 1 2 Three Sisters Wilderness - Willamette National Forest
  12. Sullivan, William L. 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades (2004 ed.). Eugene, Oregon: Navillus Press. pp. 158–159. ISBN   0-9618152-6-4.