- South Warner Wilderness
Infobox Protected area
name =South Warner Wilderness
coords = coord|41.3165622|-120.1760540|type:landmark_region:US-CA_source:gnis|display=inline,title [ gnis|1702410 ]
area = convert|70385|acre|km2
established = 1964
governing_body =U.S. Forest Service
world_heritage_site =The South Warner Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area convert|12|mi|km|0 east of
Alturas, California, USA. It encompasses more than convert|70000|acre|km2|0 of the Warner Mountains. It is managed by the Modoc National Forest. Elevations range from convert|5000|ft|m|-2 to 9,892 ft (3,015 m) at Eagle Peak.
The highest parts of the Warner Mountains were set aside in 1931 as a primitive area. In 1964, the
Wilderness Actcreated the South Warner Wilderness. In 1984, convert|1940|acre|km2 were added to the wilderness with the passage of the California Wilderness Act. [ [http://www.nps.gov/legal/parklaws/1/laws1-volume1-appendix.pdf California Wilderness Act 0f 1984 text, National Park Service website] retrieved 3/5/2008]
The Warner crest divides waters that flow west into the Sacramento/
Pit Riverdrainage, and east into the Great BasinAlkali lakes of Surprise Valley. Much of the crest is a narrow ridgeline with notable peaks such as Emerson Peak and Squaw Peak. The eastern side of the wilderness is a steep, abrupt escarpment of volcanic terrain of cliff bands and terraces. Very different from the east side are the western slopes. Heavily forested, steadily rising slopes furrowed by several drainages such as Mill Creek.
The west side also includes a portion of a convert|6016|acre|ha|0|adj=on state game refuge.
On either side of the Warner Mountain Range are
faultlines going north - south. The faultline on the east is the Surprise Valley Fault and on the west the Likely Fault. The Warner range is a block fault range, meaning that a block of earth's crust was pushed upward by the movement of the faults. The steep escarpment on the east side of the range is the exposed side of that fault. [Hinds, Norman E. A. "Evolution of the California Landscape" Division of Mines Bulletin 158, 1960, p. 80] Geologists estimate that basaltlava flows occurred 15 to 30 million years ago, creating the Modoc Plateau which is a part of the larger Columbia Plateau. The breaking up of the crust occurred about 10 million years ago with large blocks moving and more volcanic lava flows, which created the mountains and block fault valleys of recent time. [Alt, David D. and Hyndman,Donald W., "Roadside Geology of Northern California", Mountain Press Publishing, 1975, pp. 210-213] The landscape of today is not from mountain building but from the forces of erosionsuch as wind, water, and glaciationthat are continually altering the surface contours.
There are several lakes in the wilderness: Patterson, Mosquito, South Emerson, North Emerson, Clear Lake, Cottonwood, Cougar, Linderman, and Irons.Patterson Lake is the largest, highest in elevation and most visited. It also has a self-sustaining population of
Flora and fauna
The rich volcanic soils support dense stands of
western juniper, Ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, and white firtrees. At the highest elevations are lodgepole pine, whitebark pine, fields of sagebrushand bitterbrush.
The Rocky Mountain mule deer forage here, also
mountain lions, beaver, bobcat, coyoteand martins.
The wilderness is on the path of the
Pacific Flywayso birdwatching can be very rewarding.
Hikingis the most popular activity, with horseback riding and backpacking second, and fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiingmaking up the remainder.Dramatic views from the crest include Mount Shastain the west, Modoc Plateauto the north, Surprise Valley in the Great Basin in the east and in the south, the Sierra Nevada range. Visitors to the South Warner Wilderness should employ the Leave No Traceprinciples of wilderness travel.
There are convert|79.2|mi|km|0 of trails within the wilderness area, plus unmaintained pathways adding another convert|20|mi|km|0. There are eight trailheads surrounding the wilderness and five campgrounds.
Pepperdine Trailhead offers corrals for horses and stock parties.
The Forest Service encourages the practice of
Leave No Traceprinciples of outdoor travel to minimize human impact on the environment.
Adkison, Ron, "Wild Northern California "The Globe Pequot Press, 2001
* [http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/modoc/recreation/swwwilderness/index.shtml Modoc National Forest official website, South Warner Wilderness section]
* [http://www.blm.gov/education/lnt/ The Bureau of Land Management's Leave No Trace training page]
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