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Steens Mountain Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images

Area Management

The Steens Mountain Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Steens Mountain Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.


• Unless otherwise specified, no motorized equipment or mechanical transport, with the exception of wheelchairs, is allowed.

On October 30, 2000, the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000, providing additional protection to approximately 900,000 acres of Federal land in southeastern Oregon, was signed into law. The Act is a culmination of a cooperative effort between Oregon’s Congressional delegation, Oregon’s Governor, and the Secretary of the Interior to forge legislation that will provide long-term protection to the cultural, economic, ecological, and social health of the Steens Mountain Area.

The Act designated the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area that will be collaboratively managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a new Steens Mountain Advisory Council to conserve, protect, and manage the long-term ecological integrity of the Steens Mountain for future and present generations. Within this area, cooperative and innovative management projects will be maintained and enhanced between the BLM, private landowners, tribes, and other public interests. Sustainable grazing and recreational use, including fishing and hunting, will be continued where consistent with the purpose of the Act.

A land exchange provision blocks up nearly 100,000 acres of livestock-free wilderness within the designated 175,000-acre Steens Mountain Wilderness. This land, at the top of the Steens Mountain, is the most sensitive to disturbance and will be managed to safeguard the pristine environment.

The Act also designates three new Wild and Scenic Rivers --- Wildhorse Creek, Little Wildhorse Creek and Kiger Creek --- and adds two new segments --- Ankle Creek and Mud Creek --- to the existing Donner und Blitzen Wild and Scenic River. Also, the first ever Redband Trout Reserve has been created to improve stream health and fish habitat.

Approximately 900,000 acres are designated off limits to mineral and geothermal extraction.

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