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Core Reserves in the Pacific Wildway

Core areas are big, wild places where the protection of ecological integrity and wilderness values are awarded highest priority.

Two fuzzy baby birds with large eyes huddle together on a brown branch, with a green backdrop of tree leaves behind them.
Two downy Northern spotted owlets perch on a tree branch. Photo: USFWS – Pacific Region

Cores preserve many different habitat types and support a great diversity of species. These areas provide wide-ranging animals like cougars, gray wolves,  wolverines, and owls with ample habitat security, space, and other vital resources, and also decrease resource competition among wildlife populations.

Learn About Species of the Pacific

Because cores tend to be safe and bountiful places for wildlife, they can sustain healthy and ecologically functional animal populations—thus minimizing potential harm from environmental disturbance, disease outbreaks, and inbreeding.

Public and Private Cores

Core areas comprise both public and private lands. On private lands, conservation-minded landowners play an essential role as stewards of these protected sanctuaries for wildlife.

A snow-capped mountain rises on the horizon, as a hill dotted with trees rises in front of it.
Mount Rainier National Park, an important core reserve within the Pacific Wildway. Photo: Katy Schaffer

Yosemite, Crater Lake, and Mount Rainier national parks are examples of core areas located on public lands in the Pacific Wildway.

Numerous national forests also serve in this capacity, like the Los Padres and Shasta-Trinity national forests in California, the Malheur and Mt. Hood national forests in Oregon, and the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie national forests in Washington.

Beyond our public lands, land trusts and other land-protection organizations also secure wildlife habitats. These private entities conserve millions of acres of core habitats for native plants and animals throughout the Pacific Wildway.

Visit Some of Our Favorite Places of the Pacific

Don’t Forget: Cores Serve Us, Too!

True, core areas provide invaluable habitat and other resources for wildlife, but they also afford myriad recreational opportunities for humans.

A woman with a backpack walks along a trail through a meadow laden with lupines and other wildflowers, toward snowy peaks in the distance.
Photo: Robert Long

Think about your last visit to a national park or forest, or wildlands in your region protected by private citizens.

Maybe you brought your canoe, or your kids, or just a good pair of hiking boots and a book. Perhaps you’re a ski buff and you were seeking quiet solitude on snow. Regardless of where and why you went, you almost certainly came home with exciting stories to tell and memories to share.

Core areas are wild places where people and wildlife can thrive. Learn more about opportunities to explore important core reserves in the Pacific Wildway by signing up for our e-newsletter.

You can also explore our events page to find out how you can participate in one of our projects along the Wildway.

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