Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Diablo Mountain Wilderness (Proposed)

Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. pp. 94-95.

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The wild shore of a relic Pleistocene lake, steep escarpments, unique volcanic flows, and a species "hotspot."

Location: Lake County, 10 miles southeast of Summer Lake

Size: 657 square miles (420,530 acres)

Terrain: A large lake, very large flats, rolling hills, and steep escarpments

Elevation Range: 4,148-6,147 feet

Managing Agency: Lakeview District BLM

Agency Wilderness Status: 113,120-acre BLM wilderness study area; 90,050 acres recommended

Recreation Map: Northwest and Northeast Quarters, North Half Lakeview Resource Area, Lakeview District BLM

From OR 31—and even sometimes up close—much of the land in the area is outwardly barren. Seeing isn't always knowing. In this vast expanse of desert range—with its great variation in character, topography, and hydrology—are unique lava flows, sedimentary fossil deposits, the high mountain escarpments of Diablo Mountain, the prominent Coglan Buttes and Burma Rim, and some of the least altered landscapes in Oregon. (The South of Ana River USGS 7.5' quad is the only quad map that the author has seen for Oregon that doesn't have any roads, not even jeep trails, and only one place name.)

As barren as it may appear at first look, the area has abundant life. The Oregon Biodiversity Project notes that the area is

one of the largest intact blocks of salt desert scrub habitat in the Oregon portion of the Basin and Range and one of the largest roadless areas in the state. Summer Lake and the adjacent freshwater wetlands attract a high diversity of migrating and breeding birds, making it a key habitat along the Pacific Flyway. It has also been identified by the Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Project as a "hotspot" of species rarity and endemism. [1]

Raptors utilize the cliffs adjacent to water habitats. Summer Lake is an impor- tant refuge for the declining western snowy plover (see Lake Abert National Wildlife Refuge) and for other shorebirds such as avocet and killdeer.

The area also includes historic homesteads, mollusk fossils, and archaeological sites.

Charismatic megafauna include bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and mule deer.

The proposal consists of three units: Summer Lake, Burma Rim, and Coglan Buttes. Both explorations are in the Summer Lake unit, which is no reflection on the others save for their remoteness and the difficulty in getting to them.

1. Oregon Biodiversity Project. Oregon's Living Landscape. Portland, Ore.: Defenders of Wildlife, 1998, 131.