Franklin Creek flows through the Devils Staircase Wilderness, north of the Umpqua River and south of the Smith River. This rare, undeveloped portion of Oregon’s Coast Range is remote and difficult to access, characterized by steep, highly dissected terrain. The relatively pristine character of Franklin Creek’s waters allows it to serve as a reference stream for scientific research. Franklin Creek provides critical habitat for coho salmon, which are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The 4.5-mile designated segment of Franklin Creek is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as a wild river.
March 12, 2019. From its headwaters in Section 2, T22S, R10W to the private land boundary in Section 8, T22S, R10W.
Franklin Creek showcases a nearly pristine example of the temperate rainforest ecosystems that are present in the central Oregon Coast Range. The lack of historic human development has created a refuge where relationships between biotic and abiotic ecosystem components can function under natural conditions. The ecosystem in Franklin Creek demonstrates how hydrologic, geologic, atmospheric, and biotic elements interact in a temperate rainforest.
Franklin Creek provides high-quality habitat for a number of native fish species, including coho, winter steelhead, fall chinook, and Pacific lamprey. Coho is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, while the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management list winter steelhead and Pacific lamprey as sensitive. Salmonid spawning and rearing behaviors have been documented throughout the length of the wild and scenic river segment. The creek is exemplary for its relatively undisturbed drainage and intact riparian habitat.
The hydrology and geology of the creek combine with the old-growth forest and topography to create an exemplary scenic setting. This determination applies to the entire length of the wild and scenic river corridor. Franklin Creek’s undeveloped character also contributes to its scenic values.
Franklin Creek provides excellent habitat for beaver, which is a regionally significant species due to its role in the freshwater ecosystems of the Oregon Coast Range. High-quality beaver habitat is rare within the region of comparison due to timber harvest and development activities.