OSU Libraries | OSU Home

Lewis and Clark Meet Oregon's Forests

Lessons in Dynamic Nature

Gail E. Wells and Dawn Anzinger

Oregon Forest Resources Institute

7-1/2 × 9 inches. Maps. Illustrations. Bibliography. Index. 224 pages.

2001. ISBN 978-0-87437-003-4. Paperback, $14.95.

As Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery steered their canoes down the tumultuous narrows and rapids of the lower Columbia River, they were propelled out of the virtually treeless desert east of the Cascades into a vastly different landscape--one of thick and diverse forests. The forests the explorers encountered had been continuously shaped by many factors. Floods, windstorms, volcano-induced mud flows, landslides and fire, both naturally occurring and deliberately set by the Indians as part of their cultural practice: all had been working over many millennia to create the Oregon landscape of 1805.

Recreating that landscape with the help of Clark's journal entries and those of early European explorers to the region, the authors examine the natural and human-caused influences that shaped and continue to shape the landscape in three different northwestern Oregon locations: the area around Tillamook Head, the lower Willamette Valley and the west slopes of the Cascades, and the Alsea River country of the central Coast Range. Concluding with a discussion of the lessons we can learn from the land's history, Wells and Anzinger assert that Northwest citizens need to be aware of the landscape, shaping it and being shaped by it, in a manner that sustains both its vital processes and our own.

An excellent and engaging resource for anyone interested in the historic and future role of forests in the Northwest, the book includes more than 100 photographs and maps, many in full color.

Member of AAUP