Red Buttes Wilderness

Red Buttes Wilderness

Infobox_protected_area | name = Red Buttes Wilderness
iucn_category = Ib

caption =
locator_x =
locator_y =
location = Oregon and California, USA
lat_degrees = 44
lat_minutes = 55
lat_seconds = 01
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 118
long_minutes = 35
long_seconds = 03
long_direction = W
area = convert|19940|acre|km2|1|sing=off
established = 1984
governing_body = United States Forest Service
The Red Buttes Wilderness is a wilderness area in the U.S. states of Oregon and California. It comprises convert|19940|acre|km2|0|sing=off, approximately convert|16190|acre|km2|0|sing=off of which is located in California, and convert|3750|acre|km2|0|sing=off in Oregon. [ Red Buttes Wilderness] -] It was established in 1984 under the Wilderness Act of 1964.


Red Buttes Wilderness is situated in both Oregon and California and includes the crest of the Siskiyou Mountains between the Rogue River and Klamath River drainages. The wilderness is convert|13|mi|km|0 long and six miles (10 km) wide, with elevations ranging from convert|2800|ft|m|0 in Butte Fork Canyon to convert|6740|ft|m|0 at the east summit of the Red Buttes. [ Rogue River National Forest - Red Buttes Wilderness] ]

The main waterways that flow through Red Buttes Wilderness are all part of the Rogue River watershed, including the Butte Fork and the Middle Fork of the Applegate River, as well as Sucker Creek, a tributary of the Illinois River. The Wilderness contains the headwaters of the Illinois River.


Red Buttes Wilderness takes its name from the dominant peak along the Siskiyou Crest; because of its high iron and magnesium content, the Butte's rock is a reddish-orange color.

The Siskiyou Mountains are part of the larger "Klamath Mountains Province" of southwestern Oregon and northwestern California, and they include some of the oldest rocks in the region. The former ocean-bottom sediments that make up most of the Wilderness are several hundred-million years old. Over time they were slowly changed by pressure and heat into the complex variety of metamorphic rocks present today: schist, quartzite, gneiss, and several outcrops of white marble. During the last ice age small glaciers sculpted the Siskiyou basins that now contain lakes and meadows. [ Red Buttes Wilderness] -]


At the lowest elevations of the Red Buttes Wilderness is found a magnificent old-growth forest of ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Douglas-fir and incense-cedar, with an understory of Pacific madrone, canyon live oak, and chinquapin. O n the higher slopes are found white fir, Shasta red fir, and mountain hemlock. Knobcone pine is also common along some dry, rocky ridges. Perhaps the most distinctive vegetation community is that found on the peridotite/serpentinite outcrops - Jeffrey pine, western white pine, and Brewer's spruce.

Some of the plant species in the Wilderness - such as Brewer's spruce, Sadler oak, "Siskiyou lewisia", and a number of "sclerophyllous" shrubs - are found only in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California. [ [ "Picea breweria"] ]


The Wilderness is home to a wide variety of animals. Blacktail deer are common, while black bear, coyotes, bobcats, ring-tail cats, and mountain lions are less common but still may be seen. A number of small mammals, particularly members of the rodent and weasel families, inhabit the area. Many species of birds can be seen in the Wilderness, including eagles, hawks, falcons, goshawks, owls, Steller's jays, and ravens.

Unsubstantiated sightings of the infamous Bigfoot or Sasquatch date back over the last century.


Beginning perhaps as early as 8,000 years ago, Native American groups traveled and hunted along this portion of the Siskiyou Crest. By late prehistoric times, the Dakubetede Indians of the Applegate Valley used this area, probably sharing it on occasion with their neighbors the Shasta, the Karok, and the Takelma. They hunted deer, bighorn sheep, elk, and grizzly bear. Arrowheads, scrapers, and other stone tools from several thousand years of human prehistory have been found in the Red Buttes Wilderness.

The first non-native people to visit the Red Buttes Wilderness most likely came through during the Siskiyou Mountain gold rush in the early 1850s. Prospecting and small-scale mining, along with trapping, hunting, livestock grazing, continued to bring local residents up into the Wilderness during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1920s and 1930s the Forest Service built trails and a few cabins in the remote area, and during World War II the U.S. government constructed a narrow mining road from the Klamath River to the chromite deposits on the south slope of the Red Buttes. In 1945 a single-engine airplane crashed in the Red Buttes Wilderness. A bronze plaque along the Butte Fork Trail marks the grave of three victims on board. In 1984 the area was designated Wilderness and afforded the protections laid out in the Wilderness Act of 1964.


Primary recreational activities in the Wilderness include hiking, camping, horseback riding, and wildlife watching. Several hiking trails run throughout the Wilderness, including Azalea Lake Trail, Frog Pond Trail, Cameron Meadows Trail, and Butte Fork Trail.


See also

* Kalmiopsis Wilderness
* List of Oregon Wildernesses
* List of U.S. Wilderness Areas
* List of old growth forests

External links

* [ Red Buttes Wilderness near Rogue River National Forest]
* [ Red Buttes Wilderness Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest]
* [ Red Buttes Wilderness Campaign]
* [ Photo of Historic Red Buttes Toolhouse / Red Buttes Hiking]

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