Permanently protecting the Medicine Lake Highlands as a national monument

Photo: Confluence Outfitters
Permanently protecting the Medicine Lake Highlands as a national monument
Trout Unlimited

The Medicine Lake Highlands cover some 200 square miles with truly unique geology, hydrology, and terrestrial and aquatic habitat values. For decades, the Pit River Tribe and local interests have sought to protect the Highlands from proposed geothermal energy development. Many and diverse interests support the designation of this area as a national monument, led by the Pit River Tribe.

This area has very high value for fish and wildlife, due to its capacity for retaining and delivering clean, cold water for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The Highlands are in effect a vast underground water storage facility, which absorbs and releases as much water annually as California’s 200 largest reservoirs and has a major influence on California’s water supply. The Highlands also provide high quality habitat for game species. The hunting zones in this area include two of the six pronghorn hunt zones in the state, the Siskiyou Rocky Mountain elk hunt zone, and the premium X1 deer hunt zone. Altogether, some 300 wildlife species call this area home.

Thanks to years of advocacy from Indigenous peoples, a 113-square-mile area of the Medicine Lake Highlands has been listed under the National Register of Historic Places. Late in 2023, the Pit River Tribe formally launched a proposal and campaign to designate Medicine Lake Highlands as a national monument and Trout Unlimited supports this proposal. To this end, Trout Unlimited is building and leading a coalition of anglers, hunters, and sporting businesses to advocate for a monument designation.