Wasson Creek flows through the Devils Staircase Wilderness, north of the Umpqua River and south of the Smith River. This rugged, undeveloped portion of the Oregon Coast Range is remote and difficult to access, characterized by dense vegetation and steep slopes. The upland and riparian areas provide habitat for a wide range of mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish. There are few roads near the wild and scenic river corridor, and there are no system trails or developed facilities in the immediate area. Wasson Creek is classified as wild for a total length of 10.1 miles, with the Bureau of Land Management managing the 4.2-mile eastern segment and the U.S. Forest Service managing the 5.9-mile western segment.
March 12, 2019. From the eastern boundary of T 21 S, R 9 W, Section 17, downstream to the eastern boundary of the northwest quarter of T 21 S, R 10 W, Section 22.
Wasson Creeks features an exemplary temperate rainforest ecosystem in the Oregon Coast Range. Elements of the ecological system are interacting in a natural setting, including hydrology, geology, air, plants, aquatic wildlife, and terrestrial wildlife. The undisturbed ecological system provides important habitats for many terrestrial and aquatic species. The system also provides value as a reference area for understanding natural processes, as well as a sanctuary for primitive recreation opportunities.
The creek provides exemplary and intact habitat for a variety of native fish species including an isolated population of cutthroat trout. Winter steelhead and Pacific lamprey (Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management sensitive species) have been observed in the westernmost portion of the wild and scenic river segment below a natural fish passage barrier. Additionally, the river segment provides cold, clean water that is important for the coho, chinook, and steelhead habitats that are downstream of the wild and scenic river boundary.
Wasson Creek provides an exemplary opportunity for primitive recreation in a rugged, remote, and wild setting. The area also provides outstanding opportunities for solitude, viewing dark skies, and immersion in natural soundscapes. Personal challenge, isolation, and undisturbed surroundings are key elements of the recreation experience. Backcountry hiking, dispersed camping, and nature viewing are the most common recreational activities in the Wasson Creek corridor.
The hydrology and geology of the creek combine with the old-growth forest and topography to create an exemplary scenic setting along the entire length of the wild and scenic river corridor. Devil’s Staircase Waterfall, the Dark Grove, and Wasson Lake are notable scenic locations within the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness. The remoteness and length of the undisturbed corridor are key contributors to the scenery value.
Wasson Creek provides high-quality beaver habitat, which is regionally significant due to the beaver’s contributions to aquatic and riparian ecosystems in the Oregon Coast Range. High-quality beaver habitat is rare within the region of comparison due to timber harvest and development activities. Evidence of beaver activity includes chew sticks and dams.