After leaving his family on September 10, 2011, OR 7 traveled south from his homeland, trotting
across private property, then entering large isolated tracts of public lands. These lands are managed by government agencies but belong to the American people. Within some public lands are roadless areas; lands managed by the National Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management where road building is restricted. Limiting road construction ensures that we have places in the environment that are free of the noise and destruction caused by vehicles. These quiet places are used by people for hiking and other forms of outdoor recreation. Roadless areas allow wild animals to disperse across vast areas without risk of being hit by cars.
Wildlife corridors also provide safe routes for traveling animals. These corridors link areas, some of them across great distances of land, so wildlife can move naturally. An example of this is the 120-mile trip taken each year by a herd of three hundred pronghorn antelope. These antelope migrate as they have for six thousand years from Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming south to the Upper Green Valley, also in Wyoming. Development is prohibited on this pathway to ensure the safety of the antelope.
Late autumn of 2011, six weeks after OR 7 had dispersed. Roblyn and Russ checked their computer
program that was tracking the young wolf and discovered that he had traveled more than 250 miles, skirting towns and crossing highways to trot over the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range into the Umpqua National Forest. Now he had their attention. OR 7 had just become the first wild wolf in western Oregon in sixty-five years. There is a good chance he walked right by the site where the last known wolf in the area was killed and turned in for a $5 bounty in 1946.
Russ and Roblyn shared the news of OR 7’s achievement with the media and the word spread in
newspapers and on television stations across the United States and to other countries. People from around the world were excited to know that this one lone wolf had ventured into territory that Canis lupus had not lived in decades. OR 7 became famous overnight.