A purpose statement identifies the reason(s) for establishing the park and represents both the presidential proclamation for the National Monument signed into law on July 12, 1909 and legislation that created the National Preserve expansion on December 19, 2014.
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve protects and preserves the scientific interest and the unusually concentrated biology and geology of an important solution cave system and watershed connected to the Siskiyou Mountains for the benefit, understanding, and enjoyment of the public.
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve (nearly 4,600 acres) holds the first subterranean scenic waterway, the River Styx, as well as 15 miles of free-flowing and undeveloped watercourses with the surrounding area of Bigelow lakes and wetland meadows. These rivers, streams, and mountain meadow wetlands have a large number of significant species that support habitats for unique communities of species.
This park watershed is part of headwater tributaries to the Illinois River, one of the last major undammed rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The complex, dynamic cave ecosystem is dependent on the waters of the park unit for its continued existence.
Future Management and Protection
The recently designated National Preserve lands add to the list of species, ecosystems, roads, and infrastructure managed by the National Park Service. Long-term protection of the watershed is important to ensure enduring conservation of the park unit's resources and values like water for drinking, fire protection, and sanitation.
Important risk factors for the caves and water supply include fuel loads, forest and soil health, and the effects of livestock grazing. Port-Orford-cedar, an important indicator species for management of the watershed, is threatened by a root disease caused by a water mold.
Last updated: October 11, 2017