Thanks for visiting this website! I hope you've had a chance to look around, and learn more about the proposal to create a new Mount Hood National Park centered on Oregon's highest mountain. The new park would replace what is now the Mount Hood National Forest, including the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge. This is a century-old dream, and my goal in developing the website and campaign is to keep the idea alive.
The times are changing in our nation, and a redefinition of our national parks is part of that change. Efforts across the country are underway to create new parks for the purpose of restoring national gems, like Mount Hood and the Gorge, where the first century of the National Parks movement focused mainly on protecting untouched areas. National Parks are back on the table, once again.
This new "restoration" movement will not only restore some of our most precious natural treasures, it could also provide economic opportunity in rural communities where restoration efforts will be based. This will be good news in places where the transition from a timber-based economy has lagged.
The new wilderness protections brought forward by the Lewis & Clark legislation in 2009 also represent the closure of an old era. For fifty years, efforts to protect Mount Hood and the Gorge were largely completely focused on wilderness legislation to withdraw lands from the disastrous U.S. Forest Service "multiple-use" experiment. The new legislation covers almost all remaining roadless areas in the forest, and even some roaded lands.
Thus, the wilderness battles are largely over for Mount Hood. Now the question for environmental advocates is whether we can transition to a new paradigm, where more complex issues of management, restoration and long-term stewardship must take the place of the wilderness battles.
The Mount Hood National Park Campaign aims to help advocates move beyond the tired stereotype of national parks as over-developed theme parks, and toward the more ambitious vision of Mount Hood and the Gorge as a new national park.
Where do you fit in? Since this is a private, non-profit campaign, you won't be asked for financial support. Instead, I ask your help in setting a higher bar for what Mount Hood can be by simply understanding what national park protections would bring for the mountain and gorge, and sharing this vision with others.
As we've watched our mountain be chipped away with short-sighted decisions, it’s clear that we must intervene to protect our mountain. Through corporate greed and the inability of the U.S. Forest Service to act as an effective steward for our mountain, the future of Mount Hood and gorge stands at a crossroads.
There's also no reason to believe that the Forest Service mission will be reformed -- it hasn't changed in a century. Only the National Park Service can bring the long-term stewardship that Mount Hood and the Gorge truly deserve. To test this truth, consider the reverse: would anyone accept a transfer of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mount Rainier or Crater Lake to the U.S. Forest Service?
The first step in advocating for a new Mount Hood National Park is to simply learn more about the threats to the mountain and gorge and what National Park protection can offer, and hopefully this blog and the campaign website will help you do that. The next step is to voice your opinion, and you can find several ways to do that on the website.
Finally, you should go enjoy the mountain -- visit the high meadows, ancient forests, historic lodges, deep canyons, quiet lakes and splashing waterfalls. Walk in the tracks of Oregon Trail pioneers and pick huckleberries where countless generations of Native Americans have for centuries.
There is no place quite like Mount Hood, and you can literally spend a lifetime discovering the secrets of this national treasure. Now you can also help ensure that this treasure will always exist, for future generations, too. I hope you will join the campaign!
Tom Kloster | Mount Hood National Park Campaign