Wolf OR-7 Expedition
About the Wolf OR-7 Expedition
In September 2011 a young male wolf left his pack in northeast Oregon and within three months, made a journey of over 1,200 miles into California, to become the first free-roaming wolf there in nearly 90 years. He was fitted with a GPS collar tagged OR-7 and his story attracted national and international media attention.
On hearing of Wolf OR-7’s story, the OR-7 expedition team was inspired to bring awareness to the challenges posed by wolves returning to their historic rangelands. So in spring 2014, as a small Wild Peace Alliance expedition team, they embarked on an epic walk and mountain bike journey from northeast Oregon into northern California following the approximate GPS track of Wolf OR-7.
The team consisted of a wolf ecologist, a storyteller, a filmmaker, a National Geographic Young Explorer, a logistics coordinator and a wild peace advocate. Their aim was and continues to be about raising awareness of local strategies that make on-the-ground strides toward human and wolf coexistence in the region.
Their mission continues as they release educational products and a documentary related to the expedition.
The team started their hiking and cycling journey in the spring of 2014 in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of northeast Oregon. Snow was falling but team spirits were high. By late afternoon they entered their first camp and encountered bear tracks and a heard of elk.
Day two of the expedition deep in the home territory of the Imnaha wolf pack along side the Imnaha river, where Wolf OR-7 was born, the team came across the fresh tracks of a lone wolf moving quickly through the snow. For the better portion of the day they followed these tracks to a saddle leading out of the Wallowa Mountains.
After five weeks the team had cycled and hiked hundreds of miles across Oregon and into California, crossing the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, the high desert plateaux of Oregon near the town of Brothers, skirted Paulina Crater and then headed down the Cascade Mountain Range towards the border with California. They followed the wide circles Wolf OR-7 completed in Lassen County and then headed back and crossed again into Oregon where OR-7 has made his new home.
In an effort to document wolf sentiment in a landscape unaccustomed to wolves in nearly a century, the team met and interviewed ranchers and hunters, towns folk and conservationists along the route. These encounters and the adventures of this intrepid team are being captured in a documentary and have been published in an eBook available for free download at or7expedition.org.
Some of the highlights of their expedition into what it means to be a wolf in the 21st century, include the documenting of OR-7 being identified on camera trap with a mate, and a few weeks later confirming that they also had pups. This makes Wolf OR-7 in his new home range in southwest Oregon the first wolf pack back in that region in over 60 years. The objectives of the team were achieved and continue to play out, helping to normalise the way we treat and engage with wolves, just as we do with mountain lions and bears. Wolves are an intelligent species and if we heed good practice there is space for wolves and humans to coexist without the need for resorting to lethal means of wildlife management.
Montbell supported the OR-7 team's efforts by providing Alpine Light Down Jackets, Tachyon Anoraks, and shirts from our Super Merino Wool Action T series.