Jawbone Flats, Opal Creek Wilderness

October 26, 2007: Jawbone Flats, Opal Creek Wilderness, Marion County, OR: Marvin and I hiked the three miles to Jawbone Flats, walking the access road along the Little North Fork of the Santiam River. The Opal Creek area was once the center of controversy between the logging industry and preservationists. The story is well documented so there is little use in repeating it again. Suffice it to say the area is beautiful and worth preserving. I’m just not sure the public is well served by maintaining Jawbone Flats as privately owned property.

For me the emotional conflict begins at the trail head where signs indicate no motorized vehicles are permitted past the gate. It is obvious that there are exceptions to that policy as the inhabitants of Jawbone Flats frequently use the road for vehicle access. In fact we were passed twice by vehicles as we hiked the three miles to Jawbone Flats. I know of other wilderness areas that surround privately owned land where access by vehicle is not allowed. If we are going to call it wilderness let’s make it a wilderness.

Opal Creek Waterfall
Opal Pool waterfall 10/26/2007 Marion County


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