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Documentary bikepacking expedition will track famous wolf OR-7

Posted by on April 4th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

A team of documentary storytellers is getting on mountain bikes to trace the trail of Oregon’s most famous canine.

Though they don’t want to actually find the wolf, known as OR-7 since 2011, when he became the seventh wild wolf to be electronically tracked on his journeys up and down the West Coast, the goal is to tell “a story not based on old European tales, opinions and hearsay, but the story of an actual wolf.”

“Our thesis is that wolves are heading westward,” organizer Rachael Pecore-Valdez writes in an email. “The more we all know about wolves the easier coexistence with wolves, tigers and bears will be.”

As you can see in the project’s Kickstarter video above (as I write this they’re halfway to a $20,000 goal), it’s a winding 1,200-mile trip from the mountains east of Baker City down to Klamath Falls and into the Californian Cascades. Expect some spectacular footage and photos of wildlife off the beaten path from the six-person team.

“For the most part we’re going to be on gravel and dirt roads,” Pecore-Valdez said. “Our goal in physically moving through the landscape will let us viscerally imagine OR-7’s journey, and bicycles are going to allow us to have that direct connection to the landscape.”

They’ll be supported by a van that’ll carry most of their equipment and meet the team where possible.

In her email, Pecore-Valdez mentions that they’ve found “a number of sponsors, but are still looking for a donation, loan or discounted rental of 5 bicycles.”

“I’ve been pedaling around here and there since I was a kid, but it took a wolf to finally inspire me to take training, bike maintenance and safety seriously,” she said. “It will literally be a steep learning curve.”

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Rachael Pecore-ValdezCharleyMike QuigleyJim Lee Recent comment authors
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Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Wolves and tigers and bears, oh my!

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

Horray for OR-7, but I doubt he traveled the gravel roads, or anywhere near ’em.

Rachael Pecore-Valdez
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While the exact route Wolf OR-7 took is known only by ODFW, wolves will use roads if it’s the easiest route toward wherever they’re headed. Roadkill is a problem and a food source for wolves. Not being nearly as core as wolf OR-7, we’ll opt for roads where possible.

Questions, brews and tall wolf tales welcome this Tuesday at 6:30pm, Base Camp Brewing Co, Portland OR.

Charley
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Charley

Good luck finding tigers in North America. And they should check a map, too- there aren’t any roads going over the snowcapped Wallowas. It’s a federally designated wilderness. The southeast corner runs into Hell’s Canyon, and there’s a road system there, which may or may not be passable in May. This year might have less snow than normal.

Rachael Pecore-Valdez
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We’ll start off on foot through the Wallowas, and be on wheels about 80% of the way. Thanks for the luck, we’ll definitely be needing it.

Rachael