Deschutes National Forest

Metolius Conservation Area

Within the Deschutes National Forest, the Metolius Basin is truly unique in the quality and diversity of its scenic natural resources and spiritual allure. Rich soil and abundant rainfall have created a forest of many species, ranging from dense stands of fir, cedar, and larch to more open stands of yellow-bark ponderosa pine. The Metolius River winds north from its headwaters to where it enters Lake Billy Chinook.

Recognizing these exceptional resource values and in response to extensive public interest, the new Forest Plan has established the 86,000-acre Metolius Conservation Area. The area includes Black Butte, portions of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, and Green Ridge. It encompasses the "Horn of the Metolius" where the river hooks sharply to the east and forms the boundary between the Deschutes National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

The Metolius Conservation Area contains several special management areas. Each of these areas has unique values.

The 24,300-acre Metolius Heritage Area was created to perpetuate the unique setting of ancient yellow-belly ponderosa pine and spring-fed streams.

The 13,100-acre Metolius Wildlife-Primitive Area provides undisturbed habitat for bald eagle, cougar, and deer.

The 10,600-acre Metolius Black Butte Scenic Area was established to protect Black Butte. Within this area, forest management will focus on perpetuating mature and over-mature trees.

Within the 1,700-acre Metolius Special Interest Area, unique geological, biological, and cultural areas are protected for research and public enjoyment. The top of Black Butte and Castle/Cathedral Rocks make up this area, which also includes the popular Black Butte Lookout Trail.

The 4,800-acre Metolius Scenic Views Area greets Forest visitors with views of stunning mountain peaks, rock formations, and other interesting features.

While other areas preserve old growth as part of wildlife or research needs, the Metolius Old Growth Area does so in response to the public's desire to see more ancient trees. Two units make up this 1,800-acre area, the Black Butte Old Growth Unit, and the Glaze Meadow Unit. No timber harvesting is planned here, and other disturbances will be limited or discouraged.


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