Due to its spectacular scenery, abundant fish and wildlife populations, and unparalleled recreation opportunities, the Rogue River was the one of the original eight rivers in the country designated as Wild and Scenic in 1968. Nestled in the northern reaches of the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion of southwest Oregon, the Rogue's profile was elevated greatly after famed writer Zane Grey wrote "Rogue River Feud" in 1948, which detailed the rich history of the roadless canyon, from mining to fishing to river running to whisky drinking.
The river flows approximately 215 miles from the Cascade Crest near Crater Lake west to the Pacific Ocean and has supported human communities dating back 8,500 years. Native Americans lived along the river for millenia until violent conflict with settlers erupted, culminating in the Rogue River Wars of 1855-56. After much bloodshed, remaining Indians were forcibly removed from the area and held on reservations in other parts of western Oregon.
Today, the area is most well known for its wild salmon runs and back country opportunities. The Rogue's splendid scenery and attractiveness is responsible for $30 million of economic output annually, benefiting local outfitters, retailers and the hospitality industry. However, much of the Zane Grey roadless area remains unprotected and threatened with logging and mining. Cascadia Wildlands and allies will continue to fight for permanent protection of this iconic area until Congressional action happens.
Links and resources
1. Wild Rogue Alliance website
2. Reports issued on the lower Rogue River
3. Stakeholders weigh in on Wild Rogue proposal in the Oregonian
5. John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury on the Wild Rogue