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The Photo That Helped Save Opal Creek


This photo of a small waterfall on Opal Creek, taken in 1989 by Larry Olson, helped build the momentum to preserve the area from logging.

This photo of a small waterfall on Opal Creek, taken in 1989 by Larry Olson, helped build the momentum to preserve the area from logging.

Courtesy of Larry Olson

In the summer of 1989, the environmental activists fighting to protect Opal Creek were looking for the perfect picture.

The old-growth forest and canyons northeast of Mehama still faced the possibility of logging — a battle that had raged for almost two decades. That summer, those in favor of conservation decided they needed an iconic image, a picture that showcased the beauty at stake to the outside world.

“We needed a picture that showed people, who’d never visited, what might be lost if the area was clearcut and dug up with roads,” said Michael Donnelly, co-founder of the Friends of Opal Creek.

It was into this atmosphere that Larry Olson arrived.

To read more, visit the Statesman Journal.

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