Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness

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Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Oregon Butte.jpg
Summit of Oregon Butte
Location Wallowa County, Oregon and Columbia / Garfield / Asotin counties, Washington, USA
Nearest city Milton-Freewater, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington
Coordinates 45°59′59″N 117°46′00″W / 45.99972°N 117.76667°W / 45.99972; -117.76667Coordinates: 45°59′59″N 117°46′00″W / 45.99972°N 117.76667°W / 45.99972; -117.76667
Area 177,423 acres (71,801 ha)
Established 1984
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, and southeastern Washington, United States.[1] It was created by the Endangered American Wilderness Act of 1978 and encompasses 177,423 acres (71,801 ha) in the Umatilla National Forest — 66,375 acres (26,861 ha) in Oregon and 111,048 acres (44,940 ha) in Washington.[1][2]


The Wehana–Tucannon Wilderness consists primarily of rugged basaltic ridges separated by deep canyons with steep slopes. Much of the area's watershed drains through into Oregon's Wenaha River, although some of it flows north into Washington's Tucannon River. Additional drainages are the Grande Ronde, Touchet & Mill creek--leading to the Walla Walla, Asotin creek, and the Umatilla river. The Wilderness ranges in elevation from 2,000 feet (610 m) on the Wild and Scenic Wenaha River to 6,401 feet (1,951 m) atop Oregon Butte.[3]


Ponderosa pine dominates the lower drainages of the Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness. Above about 4,500 feet (1,400 m), it transitions to a forest of lodgepole pine with some species of larch, fir, and spruce as well. Subalpine fir, native grasses, and forbs are found at the highest elevations of the Wilderness.[1][3]


Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)

The Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including Shira's moose,[4] Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, cougar, grey wolf,[5] coyote, snowshoe hare, rattlesnake, and pine marten. Both the Tucannon and Wenaha Rivers provide spawning habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.[1][3]


Popular recreational activities in the Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness include camping, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and hiking the area's 200 miles (320 km) of trails. Elk hunting and fishing are also popular pastimes in the Wilderness.[1][3]

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