Nature & Science

Flora & Fauna

Forest Trees of the Pacific Northwest: This link will take you to the Tree Identification home page for Oregon State University

Celebrating Wildflowers:  Wildflower highlights across the country's National Forests

Oregon Cascades Birding Trail: Find maps, checklists and more for an area of the Oregon Cascades that includes the Willamette National Forest. Find more birding adventures across Oregon from the Oregon Birding Trails website.


Plant Associations of the West Central Cascades: From Ecoshare  the Interagency Clearinghouse of Ecological Information for Oregon and Washington.  
Ecoshare provides information on the environment, ecology, and natural resources. Their website includes publications, data sets, code sets, GIS data, and plant photography.


USGS Volcano Monitoring: Three Sisters Area: Visit the United States Geologic Survey website for information about their monitoring a bulge in the Three Sisters area of the Cascade Mountains.

USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory: Volcano information for the Cascade Range Mountains from British Columbia through California


Healthy watersheds, healthy communities

students looking at benthic invertebrates

Modeled after a U.S. Forest Service program on the East Coast, the Freshwater Snorkel Program on the Willamette National Forest, is beginning its second year.  In partnership with the Calapooia Watershed Council and South Santiam Watershed Council, the program allows underserved and underrepresented youth, as well as youth from rural schools and communities, to learn about watershed health and where their water comes from through snorkeling.  

Wildfire in Wilderness Areas - Cycle of Fire and Recovery

Wildfire in Wilderness Areas - Cycle of Fire and Recovery

Periodic fire can be an important part of maintaining diverse and healthy ecosystems. Nearly every region in the country has some kind of fire-dependent plant or tree. Many plants have evolved adaptations that protect them as a species against the effects of fire, and some are even strengthened by it. When fires burn in intervals appropriate to their ecosystem, they consume leaf litter and other ground vegetation like dead wood. This can trigger a rebirth of forests, helping to maintain native plant species.

Wildfires have always occurred in the Oregon Cascades in what are now wilderness areas. The Wilderness Act allows fire suppression, but does not allow people to interfere with the natural recovery of these areas. No timber harvest or replanting is allowed.