As a result of Wolf Bauer's exploration of the Green River Gorge he turned his love of the area into action by lobbying to protect the Green River Gorge. His legacy was the development of the Green River Gorge Conservation Plan, which is still the guiding document for the Green River Gorge today. He worked with State Parks and the Washington State legislature to have the Green River Gorge recognized in state statute, which in part states:
“The area, a unique recreational attraction with more than one million seven hundred thousand people living within an hour's driving time, is presently used by hikers, geologists, fishermen, kayakers and canoeists, picnickers and swimmers, and those seeking the solitude offered by this unique area... A twelve-mile strip incorporating the visual basins of the Green River from the Kummer bridge to Palmer needs to be acquired and developed as a conservation area to preserve this unique area for the recreational needs of the region. RCW 79A.05.700 -----“
At the 24th Annual 2009 Green River Cleanup Wolf Bauer was recognized by State Parks and Middle Green River Coalition for that vision. As part of that recognition the lodge at Flaming Geyser was officially renamed the “Wolf Bauer” Lodge in his honor by the Washington State Parks Commission.
Lou Whitaker, long time friend of Wolf’s, said that he was glad that Wolf finally received the recognition he deserves for his work on protecting the Green River Gorge.
Wolf was honored that many groups and individuals are working to continue his vision of preserving the twelve-mile long Green River Gorge. Wolf’s vision and follow through are a testament to what a person or community can do make a difference. He saw what an incredible area the Green River Gorge was and put his vision into action. Not only will his legacy be a long list of accomplishments but it will also be the spirit of what one man with a passion can do if that passion is turned into action.
—From Crags, Eddies, and Rip Rap by Lynn Hyde
Recalling the high points in one’s life becomes a growing pleasure with age. There are those that you cherish and those that others have recognized. Of those I own, the Green River Gorge experience overshadows all the others. In a long-term future, a preserved Gorge will be a legacy that my generation will, indelibly, have left behind. As a nice thought and treasure.
The impact of the Gorge on my psyche remains undiminished. What was it about those first exploratory paddles into the hidden museum of nature? Was it its unbelievable isolation in the midst of a million people? Was it the antiquity of its ancient walls, hinting at massive faulting and erosion over millennia? Was it the sculptured images and fossilized imprints of ancient life forms from both above and below the seas? I think it was the realization that there are “Cathedrals of Nature” that inspire awe and humility far beyond any man invented religious symbols and beliefs.
Down its cliffs and gentler draws remain untouched first growth stands of evergreens, hiding moss and fern covered grottos, and myriads of tiny waterfalls seeping from the canyon walls. Freshness and moisture permeate the floor of the canyon in its shadowy twilight to nurture rain forest type vegetation, water oriented birds, and man’s awed senses within its massive cathedral like halls. Placid pools like miniature chain lakes create an occasional corridor of silence into which only faint and muffled hints of rushing water may penetrate fro around the bend. Disturbed but by an occasional kingfisher, merganser, water ouzel, or trout rippling the water’s impatient slack. Thus, represents an ecological entity, which owes its close-in and unique existence and character entirely to its canyon walls rising up to 300 feet above the riverbed. As such, it supports a biologic community in a living laboratory that can sustain itself indefinitely into the future without man’s help, even in the midst of any civilization encirclement behind its protected canyon rims. It can probably do this better here than in any other instance and site in the region.
— By Wolf Bauer
Additional Links to Information about Wolf Bauer.
Crags, Eddies, and RipRap, The Sound Country Memoir of Wolf Bauer. By authors: Wolf Bauer, Lynn Hyde
Article on Wolf Bauer in Alpenglow: http://www.alpenglow.org/nwmj/05/051_Bauer4.html
The Mountaineers: https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/wolf-bauer-1912-2016
American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Article/view/articleid/32494/
Washington History Link: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=9440
Photo above from Wolf Bauer's archives, author unknown.