WILDERNESS, RECREATIONAL, AND SCENIC AREA RULES
Statement of Policy
Wilderness areas represent a natural resource of unique importance. Congress has protected such areas by enacting the Wilderness Act, Public Law 88-577, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1131, et seq. Those wilderness areas located within the geographical limits of the state are a major part of the cultural heritage of the citizens of Oregon and are a key element in developing and maintaining tourism and recreation as a viable industry. Thus, the environment of wilderness areas is deserving of the highest level of protection and safeguarding by the state in order to preserve Oregon's unique primitive and natural land areas. The Wilderness Act allows certain activities in wilderness areas. Most of these have minimal present impact on the environment. However, mining and some other activities allowed by the Wilderness Act pose a serious threat of a substantial harm to the unique environment of wilderness areas. Therefore, it is declared to be the policy and purpose of the Department of Environmental Quality to maintain the environment of wilderness areas essentially in a pristine state and as free from air, water, and noise pollution as is practically possible and to permit its alteration only in a manner compatible with recreational use and the enjoyment of the scenic beauty and splendor of these lands by the citizens of Oregon and of the United States.
As used in this Division:
(1) "Commission" means the Environmental Quality Commission.
(2) "Department" means the Department of Environmental Quality.
(3) "Opacity" means the degree to which emissions reduce the transmission of light or obscure the view of an object in the background.
(4) "Wilderness Area" means an area designated as wilderness by the Congress of the United States pursuant to Public Law 88-577, 16 U.S.C., Sec. 1131, et seq.
(5) "Person" means the federal government, any state, individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, governmental agency, municipality, industry, co-partnership, association, firm, trust, estate, or any other legal entity whatsoever.
Emission Permit Requirements
(1) No person shall commence or initiate any activity other than emergency or recreational in a wilderness area which causes the emission of air contaminants, water pollutants or noise in excess of the standards set forth in OAR 340-013-0020(1) without first applying for and receiving a permit from the Department.
(2) The permit shall be in addition to and not in lieu of other permit requirements of federal, state or local governments.
(3) Application for the permit shall be made on forms supplied by the Department. The application shall be made no less than 90 days prior to the proposed date of commencing the activity.
(4) An application for a permit may be considered at a public hearing before the Commission or its authorized representative. At least 20 days notice of the hearing shall be provided to the applicant and to any other interested person who has requested notice.
(5) The Commission shall consider the testimony, data and views presented at the public hearing and either approve or disapprove a permit for the proposed activity according to its evaluation of whether the air, water and noise emissions from the activity are consistent with the policy and environmental standards as set forth in OAR 340-013-0005 and 340-013-0020.
(6) Any permit issued for an activity within a wilderness shall be properly conditioned to achieve the policy objectives and environmental standards of OAR 340-013-0005 and 340-013-0020 and may be modified by the Department after a hearing before the Commission or its authorized representative.
(1) Except as provided in section (2) of this rule, no person engaged in an activity other than emergency or recreational within a wilderness area shall:
(a) Cause, suffer, allow, or permit any emission of air contaminants greater than five percent opacity;
(b) Discharge any waste into waters or conduct any activity which causes or is likely to cause:
(A) Any measurable increase in color, turbidity, temperature, or bacterial contamination;
(B) Any measurable decrease in dissolved oxygen;
(C) Any change in hydrogen ion concentration (pH); or
(D) Any toxic effect on natural biota.
(c) Cause, suffer, allow or permit the emission of noise from any source or sources which noise causes the maximum ambient sound pressure level to exceed 50 dBA at any point at least 50 feet from any source.
(2) Subject to the permit requirements in OAR 340-013-0015, the Department may permit the emission of air contaminants greater than five percent opacity, but not to exceed ten percent opacity and noise from any source or sources causing the maximum ambient sound pressure level to exceed 50 dBA at any point at least 50 feet from any source, but not to exceed 75 dBA at such distance.
In addition to and not in lieu of any other judicial redress, a person violating this Division shall be subject to criminal prosecution as provided by Oregon Law.
The Governor of Oregon may suspend the requirements in this Division for the duration of any national emergency.
New Wilderness Areas
This Division shall not apply to any wilderness area established after January 1, 1972, by the United States until a public hearing on the possible application of this Division or other rules thereto shall have first been held by the Commission.
State Archives • 800 Summer St. NE • Salem, OR 97310