OREGON’S OWN ‘GALAPAGOS ISLANDS’

The highest points in the proposed Rainforest Reserve are treeless mountaintops known as balds. These basaltic peaks—sentinels of Oregon’s coastal front range—began as actual islands off the coast. They endured as the continent was uplifted and the sandstone landscape around them eroded over time.  As a result, they function as Oregon’s “Galapagos Islands,” with unique ecosystems that have evolved in isolation from the surrounding sea of trees.  Some of the plant and animal species found on these peaks are found nowhere else in the world.

Preserving Nature’s Life Support System

Scientists are just beginning to understand the complex ecology of these Pacific-fronting watersheds. What they do know is that they are biologically rich, hosting diverse communities of plants and wildlife. Habitat fragmentation through repeated cycles of timber harvest has diminished that diversity. If we keep it connected, over time it can become a vibrant rainforest again. Connectivity is nature’s life support system: it works only when all of its parts are healthy and functioning.

Long-Landscape Conservation from Summit to Sea

The Rainforest Reserve is part of a unique region on the northern Oregon Coast known as the Coastal Edge. It lies between Tillamook Head in the north and Nehalem Bay in the south. The Coastal Edge is an unusually compressed, biogeographically concentrated landscape: an entire coastal ecosystem, packed into a few thousand acres. The Rainforest Reserve will be a 3,500-acre link creating in an uninterrupted 32-square-mile corridor stretching from the peaks to and into the Pacific Ocean.

Chambers paintbrush (Castilleja chambersii)

Black petaltail dragonfly (Tanypteryx hageni). Photo: John Dudley

Queen-of-the-forest (Filipendula occidentalis)

These are among the plants and animals found in the proposed Rainforest Reserve and nearby peaks and nowhere else in the world.
Download plant lists:
Onion Peak
Angora Peak