Wandering Lizard

An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of Oregon

Curry County

Kalmiopsis Wilderness - Spring

The Kalmiopsis was included in the original Wilderness Act of 1964. In this rugged area, elevations range from 500 to 5,098 feet and soil, geology and landscape vary greatly. The Kalmiopsis Wilderness is one of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in North America.

The vast majority of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness was enveloped by Oregon's largest wildfire in recorded history - the Biscuit Fire. The fire began July 13, 2002 as the result of widespread lightning strikes that moved across northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. In four days in the middle of July, 12,000 lightning strikes hit Oregon, resulting in 375 fires. Of these fires, four -- the Biscuit, Sour Biscuit, Florence and West Florence -- eventually burned together to form the large fire named Biscuit.

Fortunately, much of the Kalmiopsis was spared the highest intensity fire damage. The Forest Service estimated that just over 60% of the wilderness was unburned or suffered low intensity fire damage. This hike into the Kalmiopsis was motivated by the desire to check on what the fire did to the rare Kalmiopsis flower (Kalmiopsis leachiana) for which the wilderness was named. The weather was the kind the flower likes - dripping fog.

Kalmiopsis Wilderness
Kalmiopsis Wilderness
Kalmiopsis Wilderness

Wilderness is "where the earth and its community of life
are untrammeled by man, and where man himself
is only a visitor who does not remain."

Wilderness Act 1964