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Criterion 6 Indicator 42
Forest land managed to protect cultural, social, and spiritual needs, in relation to the total area of forest land.
As the population grows, there is greater demand for the non-commodity uses of forest lands. More people are using the forests for recreation, and to meet various cultural, social, and spiritual needs. An older, more educated population also has a changing attitude toward use of public forest lands (Haynes and Horne, 1997). The proportion of forest lands managed for cultural needs is an important measure of how these needs and desires are being met.

Can This Indicator Be Quantified
Some public forest lands are set aside as wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, parks, recreational areas, or other non-commodity uses. The number of acres set aside is one indicator of how much land is being managed for social, cultural, or spiritual needs. The two tables below were derived from recent publications (USFS 1998; USFS/BLM 1996; OSPRD, 1998). Table 42-1 shows the total land area in Oregon managed for the various categories that provide cultural values (only a portion of each category is on forestland).
Table 42-1. Acreage of cultural and recreation areas in Oregon, by land administrator
Land Owner/Administrator
Wilderness2,072,49416,7030  2,089,197
National Parks  197,850  197,850
Wildlife Refuges   570,900 570,900
State Parks    92,60592,605
National Scenic Areas43,058    43,058
National Scenic-Research Areas6,630    6,630
National Recreation Areas428,187    428,187
National Volcanic Monument Areas54,822    54,822
National Grasslands111,508    111,508
Non-road access is another measure that indicates a commitment to providing for social, cultural, or spiritual needs. The table below shows the miles of trails and miles of designated wild and scenic rivers that are being managed by public agencies in Oregon. Oregon has more than 12,000 miles of hiking trails and about 2,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers.
Table 42-2. Miles of trails and designated wild and scenic rivers in Oregon
Land Owner/Administrator
Wild & Scenic Rivers1,202766   1,968
Recreation Trails11,008288145nana11,441
National Recreation Trails443    443
National Scenic Trails46842   510
National Historic Trails15    15
Totals13,1361,096145  14,377
The total acreage of forest lands was derived from land cover digital data, obtained from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. All forest land types were combined and summarized to make statewide totals. Next, using a geographical information system (GIS), other map layers were developed from other digital data showing land ownership, national park boundaries, and wilderness areas. All map layers were spatially combined and statistically summarized using GIS. The next table shows that out of all types of set aside forest lands, wilderness areas make up the largest percentage. Designated wilderness areas cover nearly five percent of all forest lands in Oregon. Spatial data is not available for all of the other categories. But the data does show that when acreages are combined for all types of land managed specifically to provide for social, cultural, or spiritual needs, these special lands make up a total of almost seven percent of the state’s forest lands.
Table 42-3. Acreage of forested cultural and recreation areas
Land ClassAcres% of Forest
National Parks128,6160.50%
Wildlife Refuges1,8950.00%
State Parksnana
National Scenic Areas214,2310.80%
Research Natural Areas62,2990.20%
National Recreation Areas37,5490.10%
National Monument15,9350.10%
Area of Special Interest119,3470.40%
Nature Conservancy2,3200.00%
Total Forest 27,998,130100.00%

Most national wildlife refuges were designated before 1940 (Figure 42-1). When the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, it designated 900,000 acres of wilderness on federal lands in Oregon. The 1984 Wilderness Omnibus Act set aside another 500,000 acres of federal land as wilderness. Finally, 12,800 acres of the Willamette National Forest were designated as the Opal Creek Wilderness in the 1990s. Figure 42-2 shows the designation of federal wilderness areas in Oregon over the years.
Some Oregon river reaches were designated as wild and scenic rivers under the original Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, passed in 1968. The Omnibus Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, passed in 1988, added 1,600 miles of designated wild and scenic rivers in Oregon. Another 27 miles of rivers were designated as wild and scenic in the 1990s. Figure 42-3 shows the miles of wild and scenic rivers designated in Oregon over the years.
It is unknown if, and how much, lands might be designated for special uses in the future.
Figure 42-1. Wilderness areas on federal forest lands in Oregon, in acres
Figure 42-2. Wildlife refuges in Oregon, in acres
Figure 42-3. Wild and scenic rivers in Oregon, in miles

Data Source and Availability
Data is easily obtained for federally designated wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, wildlife refuges, and other federal categories. It is also easy to find in what year the areas or rivers were designated. For state designations, much of the data is also available. However, complete digital data sets may not be easily obtained for some categories of state designations, or would take significant resources to compile. Data may not be available for some culturally significant sites due to their sensitive nature (e.g., archaeological sites, Native American rock art, etc).
The following sources provided the digital data used to create the land class layer for Oregon. This data is readily available from state and federal land management agencies.
  • USDI Bureau of Land Management.
  • State of Oregon GIS Service Center (www.sscgis.state.or.us).
  • Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (www.icbemp.gov/spatial).
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provided the digital data on forest types.

Reliability of Data
The digital data from federal sources is very reliable for producing general summaries (i.e., considering the scale of the source data, the accuracy is sufficient). Printed reports from both federal and state sources are accurate, and records are consistently available over time.

For available GIS data, the scale varies widely from 1:24,000 to 1:2,000,000. Printed data is available by individual unit (e.g., wilderness area, national park, etc), and by state.

Recommended Action for Data Collection
A consistent, digital GIS data set with ownership information would serve as a base layer for future changes to be tracked. The ownership layer available now is incomplete, but could be used as a starting point.


Selected References
Haynes, R. W., and A. L. Horne. 1997. Economic assessment of the basin. In: Quigley, T. M., and S. J. Arbelbide, technical editors; An assessment of the ecosystem components in the interior Columbia Basin and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins, Volume IV, pp. 1717-1869. U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. General Technical Report.
Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. 1998. State park acreages. Salem, OR. July 1, 1998.
USDA Forest Service. 1998. Land areas of the national forest system. Washington DC. Publication number FS-383. January 1998.
USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management. 1996. Public lands in Oregon and Washington. Map and data compiled by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. U.S. Government Printing Office: 1996-793-998.