Saving America's Old-Growth Forests

In the spring of 2013, the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) worked with The Pew Charitable Trusts to provide images of old-growth forests on public lands in southwestern Oregon, known as O&C Lands.

O&C lands were granted to the Oregon and California Railroad Company by the Federal government in the 1860's to encourage development. In 1916, the government reclaimed the lands and they have been protected ever since. The 18 surrounding counties have been compensated by the federal government for loss of timber and tax revenue for nearly 100 years, which they have used for causes like building schools. The land is now under threat from pending clearcut logging projects. If approved, these projects would shake many of our country's foundational environmental laws.
(Garth Lenz/iLCP)
iLCP Outside Online Conservation

Rogue River Valley, Oregon

In the spring of 2013, the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) worked with The Pew Charitable Trusts to provide images of old-growth forests on public lands in southwestern Oregon, known as O&C Lands.

O&C lands were granted to the Oregon and California Railroad Company by the Federal government in the 1860's to encourage development. In 1916, the government reclaimed the lands and they have been protected ever since. The 18 surrounding counties have been compensated by the federal government for loss of timber and tax revenue for nearly 100 years, which they have used for causes like building schools. The land is now under threat from pending clearcut logging projects. If approved, these projects would shake many of our country's foundational environmental laws.

Small community near the mouth of the Rogue River, Oregon

These photos, including aerial images made possible through LightHawk, are being used to strengthen Pew's U.S. public lands campaign to protect old-growth forests overseen by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Garth Lenz/iLCP)


Roosevelt elk

This campaign was designed to conserve ancient forests in southwestern Oregon by securing a range of conservation designations, from wilderness and wild rivers to restored watersheds and rehabilitated forest—all with species conservation as the primary goal.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Tree climbers ascend an old-growth tree

Pew and its local partners in Oregon are using iLCP’s images to educate the public about the ecological, economic and social values of these lands—from safeguarding clean water and wildlife habitat and providing outdoor recreation to maintaining rural jobs and the region’s quality of life.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Full moon rising behind an Oregon old-growth forest

Because most people cannot travel easily to these distant locations, the photographs that arose from this iLCP Expedition are allowing thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people to experience these old growth forests in a new and intimate way. These images are hopefully encouraging many more people to take action on behalf of these public lands.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Whiskey Creek, Oregon

Two iLCP photographers, Paul Colangelo and Garth Lenz, were dispatched to the area, where they photographed from the air and on the ground for two weeks. The photographers captured Oregon’s O&C Lands in all their fragile beauty, and provided The Pew Charitable Trusts with an extensive body of work to push forward their advocacy efforts.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Garth Lenz/iLCP)


Northern red-legged frog in frogspawn

iLCP photographer Paul Colangelo wrote from the field: "In the week that I have been in the O&C Lands in southwest Oregon, I have set camera traps on bear, cougar and deer trails, photographed old-growth forests and snorkeled rivers in search of steelhead, all with the help of local people who know their land intimately. As they fill me in on the details of the history of the O&C Lands, I learn that it is the product of nearly a century and a half of confounding and at times scandalous politics. Locals are only too happy to teach me about their home and brave the icy waters if it means another voice speaking for the ecological importance of this land."

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Releasing a steelhead trout in the North Umpqua River

iLCP, a U.S. non-profit, was established in 2005 with the goal of enlisting the skills and expertise of some of the best photographers in the world to advance conservation efforts around the globe. Its 105 photographers partner with leading scientists, policy makers, government leaders and conservation groups to produce the highest-quality documentary images of both the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Two Canada geese in the Oregon forest

Since 2007, iLCP has launched many expeditions all around the globe. Like in Oregon, in each of these, it joins forces with local, national and international partners and conservation NGOs to maximize the impact of its conservation message. In 2013, iLCP photographers were dispatched to locations as varied as French Polynesia, the Bahamas, the Philippines, Idaho, Chile, and Oregon.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Logging in Alsea Valley, Oregon

Clearcut forestry is one of the more contentious issues that iLCP Photographers undertook to document in Oregon. Legislation is currently being considered that would increase clearcut logging closer to streams, on steep slopes and unstable soils, and would allow the use of toxic herbicides, which could compromise clean drinking water for 1.8 million Oregonians.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Garth Lenz/iLCP)


A road among stumps at the site of a clear-cut

iLCP’s Oregon expedition is an excellent example of how the organization supports its project partners at each stage of the process. In creating the imagery, iLCP does not only strive for photographic excellence, but also, aims to create effective tools that will help its partners advance their conservation goals.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)


Rogue River, Oregon

Clear signs of logging spread throughout the valley near a small community around the mouth of Rogue River, Oregon.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Garth Lenz/iLCP)


Logging trucks drive next to a forest along highway 138

When the effort of every individual counts, iLCP Fellow Photographers are making a positive difference for our planet both individually and as a collective. They believe that a photo really can change the world! Check out the International League of Conservation Photographers for more information or to support one of their projects.

iLCP Outside Online Conservation
(Paul Colangelo/iLCP)

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