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Devil's Staircase Proposed For Wilderness Area

A pristine piece of the Southern Oregon landscape is closer to winning federal protection. April Baer reports.

The Devil's Staircase is a rugged forested place in the southern-most edge of the Coast Range, east of Reedsport.

From time to time, timber companies have identified it as a possible site for logging. But its terrain is so steep, and hard to navigate, that its old-growth trees have remained intact.

Now Senator Ron Wyden proposes the area as federally protected wilderness.

Jay Jensen with the federal Department of Agriculture says the Obama administration approves.

Jay Jensen "The forest's older stands of Doug Fir and Western Hemlock, with red alder and riparian areas - all three of these tree species are underrepresented in the national wilderness preservation system, relative to their abundance on national forestlands in Washington and Oregon."

The area is named for a spectacular, hard-to-reach waterfall. No formal trails cut through its woods. 

The Senate bill still must go through markups before a committee vote. Congressman Peter Defazio sponsors the House version.