Ground Truth: Devil's Staircase

Letter to Editor Published

The following fine letter appeared in the 11/20/08 edition of the Eugene Register-Guard.

Devil’s Staircase is Stunning

Last weekend, I made my first trek into the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness (Wassen Creek). What a spot!

I’ve hiked to almost every remote backcountry part of this state, and I haven’t had my breath so completely stolen away from me in a long time.

After an epic, four-hour bushwhack through thick woods and incredibly steep terrain, we descended, scratched up and fully drenched, into a towering grove of 8-foot to 10-foot diameter trees. There were cascading waterfalls, fern thickets that came up to my shoulders and wildlife that I didn’t even know existed. Ever seen a foot-long salamander? It was like being in some lost and forgotten world, less than two hours from Eugene.

If you have a good GPS or if you’re skilled with a map and compass, I highly recommend that you check out this area — sandwiched between the Umpqua and Smith rivers. And if you make it out alive, I guarantee you’ll have stories to tell your grandkids.

For those of you who are less inclined to risk it all but who enjoy knowing that truly wild places still exist in our backyard, I encourage you to get involved and help us protect this special place forever. For pictures, information and ways to help, go to

There aren’t many places like it left in Oregon. Oregon’s congressional delegation should act to permanently protect this rare and beautiful forest forever.

Daniel Kruse
Legal director
Cascadia Wildlands Project