Wendell Wood
  • 65 years old
  • Date of birth: Nov 15, 1949
  • Place of birth:
    Ventura County, California, United States
  • Date of passing: Aug 11, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, United States
"He who hopes for spring with upturned eye never sees so small a thing as Draba. He who despairs of spring with downcast eye steps on it unknowing. He who searches for spring with his knees in the mud finds it in abundance." - Aldo Leopold

Thanks you to everyone who joined us at Dorris Ranch Park on Saturday, September 12, 2015 to celebrate Wendell's remarkable life. Below is the slideshow from the event (thanks to Quinn Read for compiling!).

Wendell Wood slideshow on YouTube.

Wendell's wife, Kathy, has asked that remembrances be made in Wendell's honor to Oregon Wild.

Wendell - a natural life

Wendell Wood was a dedicated environmental advocate, committed naturalist, and teacher. Though most known for his decades spent as a board member, staffer, and volunteer for Oregon Wild, Wendell helped to form or support dozens of conservation groups in Oregon and California over the years.

Wendell and his wife Kathy came to Oregon in 1976 after he accepted a job as a high school biology teacher in Myrtle Creek. After five years of teaching, Wendell joined the board of the Oregon Wilderness Coalition and began one of the most effective conservation careers in Oregon history.

In 1982, Wendell became President of the board and oversaw the organization's renaming to Oregon Natural Resources Council. It didn’t take long for Wendell to assume a role on staff, heading up Environmental Education Programs for ONRC and eventually becoming an integral part of the watchdog role of the organization.

Working first out of the Eugene office and later pioneering the organization’s work in Klamath Falls, Wendell and the ONRC team began systematically appealing illegal timber sales – at one point filing over 100 in a single day. Wendell established a reputation as one of the hardest working, tenacious, and lovable advocates for Oregon’s environment.

“I feel like there will always be somebody else out there who will be willing to negotiate, [that] they'll be willing to give things up,” Wendell explained in 1997 as part of a Crater Lake oral history project. “What I think is harder is to say ‘no.’ ONRC has been asked why we are so confrontational, [and] the answer is ‘I don't wish to be confrontational, I just don't know anybody else that is willing to do it.’”

Upon relocating to Klamath Falls in 1993, Wendell took up the cause of the region’s forgotten National Wildlife Refuges and endangered endemic fish species – playing a central role in ESA listings for the short-nosed and Lost River suckers.

Time and again in Wendell’s career at Oregon Wild he would voluntarily forego paychecks to ensure there were resources to hire other staff to carry out yet more conservation work. Thus, it was fitting that when Wendell “retired” from the organization well over a decade ago that he continued to work incessantly for free.

In recent years, Wendell became well known among Oregon’s budding amateur naturalists as a captivating trip leader willing to freely share his deep knowledge of the Oregon landscape and its species. Leading birding trips from his cabin adjacent to Klamath Marsh as well as mushroom and wildflower identification hikes across the state, Wendell’s love for the natural world was a gift he passed on to thousands.

“We know every line on the map, somebody fought for that area…but nobody remembers who or when,” Wendell relayed during the oral history project. “Other places people just sort of assume that it's always been a state park or always been protected, and who would destroy anything as magnificent as that, you know. [For] every one of these places, there's somebody who stood up for it or it wouldn't be there.”

We will remember you Wendell – forever. And we are grateful for the countless places that you stood up for.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Ralph Johansen on 11th August 2017

"I will always remember Wendell for his kindness and love of life. Michele and I have Kathy in our lives now. She has been wonderful, always there when I have needed health advice or a ride someplace or a friend. And we reminisce about Wendell often."

This tribute was added by Kathy Wood on 15th November 2016

"I miss you every day.  I know others miss you also, because they have told me.  Thank you Wendell for leaving me such i multitude of friends to support me during this unbearable loss.  Love you..."

This tribute was added by Debra Burke on 15th November 2016

"I loved getting Wendell's humor through the emails he would send - the more "unofficial" ones.  He also had the zaniest most-original Christmas ecards."

This tribute was added by Ralph Johansen on 11th August 2016

"The good earth and its bountiful issue honor you as you have honored them, Wendell, one year on."

This tribute was added by Ralph Johansen on 15th November 2015

"On November 15, 2015, his 66th birthday, I have rich recollections of my time with Wendell Wood, a dear, devoted friend.

In the gallery I leave a 2009 photo (if I can manage it) I ran across today of Wendell, me and an unidentified friend, looking from our yard across the marsh to Lake Earl."

This tribute was added by Stephanie Snyder on 15th November 2015

"Wendell, it's still so hard to believe that you are gone.  When I see wildflowers, I will always think of you; your love and reverence for sacred forests, always an inspiration to others.  Your love will eternally live on."

This tribute was added by James Monteith on 15th November 2015

"Happy birthday pal.  Appreciate how you're still breaking trail for me.  Sure miss yer sly chuckle.  Hope things are good- James"

This tribute was added by Deborah Richie on 28th September 2015

"I'll always remember lobbying for the Oregon Wilderness Bill with Wendell in Washington D.C. and also how delighted my parents were in Harpers Ferry that Wendell would come out to stay with them while he committed his heart and soul to saving our wild places in Oregon. His legacy lies in the wilds and in the hands of many people who learned nature's wonders from Wendell."

This tribute was added by Laurie Gerloff on 14th September 2015

"Much has been said and written about Wendell’s skills as a naturalist guide in the outdoors and his fierce determination to save wildlands.

I loved Wendell for all of that, but also because he was such a total goofball. His giggle was our guide to the silly side of things, reminding us to discover the nuttiness and absurdity of even the most mundane things. His playfulness was a huge gift to all who knew him.

Wendell cracked me up before I even met him. I moved to Eugene in the late 80s in the midst of the battle to protect Oregon’s ancient forests. Wendell’s name was in the Register-Guard frequently, so I phoned him to volunteer my help. We arranged a date and time to meet at the former L&L Markpetplace and I asked how I could recognize him. “Well, I’m easy to spot,” he said. “I’m short, fat and bald.” And then he giggled that giggle.

Most of us are familiar with Wendell’s goofy emails, many of them offering his creative spin on the news. This one, for instance, is classic Wendell:

HEADLINE: Movie director Tim Burton splits from leading lady Helena Bonham Carter after 13 years together

OK, you guys go to the movies a lot, right?  So maybe you can explain this to me. How can you become "separated" from someone, when you weren't ever married and have always lived in separate houses?

This is why it's hard for me to keep up with all this crazy Hollywood stuff--but I try. For example, I mean, I've never been married to either of you, and we've always lived in separate houses, so if we got "separated" how would I know?”


Wendell’s more recent friends may not know that Wendell spent three years of weekends, holidays and vacations researching and writing A Walking Guide to Oregon’s Ancient Forests. All proceeds from the sale of his book supported the Oregon Natural Resources Council’s Ancient Forests Campaign. As one of the book’s early editors, I came to fully appreciate how much time and energy Wendell and Kathy put into studying topo maps, driving thousands of miles of primitive roads, exploring forests, and taking painstakingly detailed notes documenting mile markers, trail signs and odometer readings. It was a labor of love for Wendell because he believed that visitors to Oregon’s cathedral forests would become the forests’ most eloquent spokespeople. His book, and the conservationists it spawned, are an important part of Wendell’s remarkable legacy.

Anyone who’s ever hiked with Wendell knows that he certainly never broke any land speed records. It could take delightful hours to cover a mile with him, stopping to inspect every flower, every insect, every mushroom, and to pick up every piece of litter. In fact, Wendell’s walking pace inspired me many years ago to coin a term my husband and I now use frequently. We use the word “Wendelling” to describe traveling from one point to another in the most Buddhist sense, remaining open to discovery and sidetracks instead of focusing on a destination or a schedule.

Wendell was a thoughtful and loyal friend. The Wendell Wood Fan Club has legions of members, and he had a knack for making each of us feel special in his life. Wendell tended and nurtured countless friendships through hospitality, outings, shared interests, long conversations, visits, adventures, and ‘this-reminded-me-of-you’ emails. He managed to stay current on the ebbs and flows of our lives and was truly concerned about our wellbeing. I never once doubted that I was important to Wendell. I can only hope he knew how much he meant to me. He was one-of-a-kind in the universe and in my life. His passing has left my life forever diminished. I can’t imagine Wendelling without him."

This tribute was added by Candice Guth on 13th September 2015

"I think Wendell would identify with this poem by Charles Badger Clark

I Must Come Back

I dread the break when I shall die—
Not from my human friends, for they
Are shifting shadows such as I
And soon must follow me away—
But from my earth that still must swing
From day to dusk, from dark to dawn,
Slow shimmering on from spring to spring
Through all the years when I am gone.

How many loving clouds will fold
The piney peaks in tender mist,
What sunsets turn the sky to gold
And distant plains to amethyst,
What sparkling winter days will loose
The chuckle of the chickadee
Among the silent, snowy spruce—
And I shall not be here to see!

An old street dweller's soul may call
For that fair City of No Night,
Boxed in a four-square echoing wall
Of jasper, beryl and chrysolite,
But I should wish the endless song
Of crashing choirs were just the lark,
And close light-weary eyes and long
For starry, summer-scented dark.

No, when the waning heartbeat fails
I ask no heaven but leave to wend,
Unseen but seeing, my old trails,
With deathless years to comprehend,
My Earth, the loveliness of you,
From all your gorgeous zodiac
Down to a glistening drop of dew.
I must come back! I must come back!"

This tribute was added by Bob Hunter on 11th September 2015

"Wendell was a pillar of the environmental community, an inspiration and  a hero to me.  I can't believe he is gone, but because of Wendell some of our most precious wild places are still here for the next generation to experience and enjoy.  Wendell was an incredible naturalist who was able to use his vast knowledge to influence policy and unearth the facts that supported important natural resource litigation.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Wendell, and to have been on a couple of his hikes - always a learning experience. Most of all, Wendell was a delightful, wonderful man.  To know him was to love him.  He will be greatly missed."

This tribute was added by Shannon Applegate on 8th September 2015

"Wendell's light is still burning—the tiny, pocket-sized battery votive candle the Unitarian minister gave me shortly after I learned that Wendell had died while hiking in his beloved redwoods.  “Keep it,” she said pressing it into my hand. “Just leave it on. They seem to burn forever, it's amazing.”  At the time Daniel and I were up in Washington where I was teaching a writing workshop.  I put the light on the classroom table, comforted a little.
     Almost three weeks later it is still gleaming.  I told Kathy about how it lit up the dark interior of my handbag, where it lived for a week in Canada, ferry trips included.  It is September now, and it flickers on the kitchen counter even after being batted by the cat.  “Wendell would have approved,” Kathy said on the telephone. “He always thought candles were a real fire hazard.”
     I remember telling the UU minister that Wendell wasn't a man of faith—at least religious faith.  “He worshiped Nature, though, with a full heart.” I said.  I explained briefly what an exemplary conservationist he'd been—about the Pacific yews, the salmon, the old growth trees and wildlife habitat of every description that he helped save; how he'd never met a mushroom he didn't like, or a bird he didn't know.  But I confessed I wasn't quite sure what Wendell would think about my taking a fake little mass-produced candle from a minister, and forming an attachment to it, in his name. Wendell wasn't much for symbolism, unless it was ironic.  He believed in molecules not miracles.
    “Oh!” she laughed.  “I bet your friend would have appreciated something that was said during a memorial service by a physicist in my congregation. He wanted to reassure all of us. 'So and so is still is with us, folks, and he will always be. He's just much less organized.' ”
     Wendell, my friend, you're not really gone.  In my mind I let your little light shine.  I imagine it glimmering in the shadows of the big trees you helped save; twinkling behind the tule rushes in the misty Klamath country; glowing through the fog of a coastal morning - the kind of morning when you took your walks along the drift-line, making frequent stops, poking around, looking for things that never-ceased-to-amaze you, as you, in turn, amazed us.      Let it shine    Let it shine   Let it shine . . . ."

This tribute was added by Mike and Monica Weinstein/Dostal on 7th September 2015

"Wendell and Kathy were two of our first friends when we moved to Oregon in the late 80s. Wendell opened to us the natural world in Oregon, as he did for so many others. Kathy was the inspiration for Monica becoming a nurse practitioner. Through the years we have shared adventures, hikes, paddles, and our homes.
From the beginning, Wendell made clear the importance of defending Oregon's natural resources. We are so grateful for his work and for Oregon Wild. Even more we are grateful to have shared in his friendship - his humor, his generosity and love. We will forever miss him."

This tribute was added by Eli O'Herlihey on 5th September 2015

"I met Wendell in 1980, my first fall living in Portland, Oregon. We met bird watching at Sauvie’s Island.  He seemed a lot more knowledgeable about birds than I and he was very chatty. He told me his wife was at a nursing conference and he tagged along to be with her. During our conversation, Wendell said he envisioned a network of birders all across the country who offered each other a place to stay while birding their area. So, keeping to his vision, he invited me to his Myrtle Creek home (where I first met Kathy) to bird at Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. WOW, that was 35 years ago!

We stayed in touch over the years. Me visiting Wendell and Kathy in all the different places they lived: Eugene, Klamath Falls, Florence, Crescent City, the cabin. They staying with me in Troutdale and Portland and later coming to Seattle for yet another nursing conference, and yes more birding.

All my memories of being with Wendell focus on the outdoors: birding, canoeing, hiking, fishing, camping and bush whacking. Yes, bush whacking. Not my favorite thing and the times he took me off trail to bush whack were often contentious. He’d point in a direction and reassure me it was a quicker more efficient way back. Perhaps. But it often meant tramping up steep canyons, over large boulders or getting pricked by blackberries or rabbit bush. Not to mention the occasional sink hole I’d trip over.

As a friend, Wendell challenged my comfort zone. He dared me to risk, to push myself physically further than I was usually willing to go or felt capable of going. And on later reflection, after the pain of the bush whacking or canoeing against high winds and cold rain was gone, I am thankful for his resolve because what I sometimes called misadventures often had unforeseen rewards, like finding the feathers of a Barn Owl or the discovery of some rare wildflower or getting to that island in the middle of the lake to see a new bird. Spending time with Wendell often meant I had to let go of my expectations of how the day would go and giving myself over to Wendell’s naturalist tendencies to seek and discover whatever attracted him.

Wendell was in awe of the natural world around him. Every creature from a Great Grey Owl down to the smallest crustacean delighted him. All things botanical engaged him. Wendell never stopped taking pleasure from the natural world around him. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Throughout his life, Wendell certainly was on a journey of seeking discoveries about nature which astonished and delighted him and he was always eager to share his joy with his friends. Wendell will always be close to my heart, especially during those challenging and delightful times I find myself again in the wild. God bless you Wendell.

Love, Eli O'Herlihey"

This tribute was added by Mahogany Aulenbach on 3rd September 2015

"Back in 1987 on Summer Solstice weekend, Wendell joined us to clear the Tree Trail in the Willamette National Forest near Breitenbush Hot Springs. As we trimmed and cleared the trail with hand tools we stumbled upon a pair of Spotted Owls ripping apart a Flying Squirrel and feeding 2 owlets. Right away Wendell identified them as Spotted Owls. This was the very first time I had seen them (only hearing them hooting in this area before).

This lead to bringing out a Forest Service Biologist to find the nest tree using a white mouse and protecting 600 acres of Ancient Old-growth Forest.

Thank you Wendell,

This tribute was added by Stephanie Snyder on 3rd September 2015

"So shocked to see that Wendell is gone. I was fortunate enough to have gone on several of Wendell's plant id walks.  How sublime to be able to learn the names of so many previously unnamed plants.  How wonderful to walk along with Wendell and know his deep appreciation and love of forests and their offerings.  Countless people will miss him.  May he still walk and enjoy the forests wherever he may be."

This tribute was added by Bob Warren on 2nd September 2015

"Wendell was an early advocate for protecting fragile coastal habitats. He was one of a two member group called "CUB." Citizens for Untreaded Beaches, that successfully advocated for wild coastal beaches and uplands. It was my privilige to know Wendell in those early years and to work with him on those issues. Much to my delightl, our paths continued to  cross, time and time again, over the years. I will miss his mischievous smile and subtle sense of humor."

This tribute was added by Christie Nelson on 22nd August 2015

"I'm so glad I was able to attend a Mushroom and Fungi I.D. class given by Wendell Wood last November. The first evening, Wendell wowed us all with his ability to remember all the attendees' names after hearing them just once.  But that was only the beginning...  

On the field trip in the Lake Earl Wildlife Area the next day, we saw over 40 species of fungi, an incredible variety of types, shapes and colors.  Yes, Wendell identified nearly every one of them from memory!  Beyond that, he enthusiastically shared intriguing facts about them, drawing us into the fungi realm. He obviously welcomed the challenge of our questions, encouraging us to reach for a deeper understanding.

What a fun and wonderful immersion into the world of mushrooms this experience was  -- what a phenomenal teacher!"

This tribute was added by Daniel Robertson on 22nd August 2015

"I shall never be able to look into a tide pool again without remembering really seeing tide pools with Wendell at the South Cove on Cape Arago!  So many species and so much to see and learn which only Wendell could have shown me and named for me.  Walking the trails with him, picking up bits of trash from the beaches, exploring mushrooms in the fall along the coast, birding in the Klamath Marsh or cross country skiing at 1 AM by moon light into the cabin on the Marsh - Wendell brought the world to me in ways no one has before!  Wendell  saved the wild places for us to enjoy for which I will be ever thankful and too I will be ever thankful for his presence in those places showing me the wonder of it all."

This tribute was added by Diana Wales on 20th August 2015

"When I moved to Roseburg in 1977 as a newly-minted attorney, Wendell was a teacher in nearby Myrtle Creek and Conservation Chair of the local Audubon chapter, passionate about not only local federal forest issues but also Snowy Plover habitat at the coast.  His field trips were legendary and he recruited us all to his causes!  We remained friends and collaborators on various issues as he moved on to Eugene, then Klamath Falls, and finally the coast.  His passion, intelligence and good humor never faltered in the almost 40 years he worked in and around Oregon on behalf of critters and ecosystems large and small.  Thank you, Wendell - and thank YOU, Kathy, for all you did as his partner in all things."

This tribute was added by Sally Cross on 19th August 2015

"It was my privilege to have worked with Wendell at ONRC.  He was a wonderful colleague -  his hikes were eagerly anticipated and enjoyed by scores of our members.  He also was a gracious host, along with his wife Kathy, to ONRC staff, singly or as a group, at their home.  Oregon's environmental heritage owes much to his efforts, including many of its lesser known treasures."

This tribute was added by John M. Sully on 19th August 2015

"You are and were the very symbol of all that is good about the conservation movement.  May you rest in the knowledge that your contributions to the the natural world will never be forgotten!  I will miss you very very much.  May you rest in peace."

This tribute was added by John M. Sully on 19th August 2015

"OH Wendell, I will miss you so much!!!!  You are the very heart of the conservation movement and a very fine gentleman!"

This tribute was added by John M. Sully on 19th August 2015

"I do miss Wendell very much!  He was ans is a good and devoted friend of the environment.  He made the world a better place by by his efforts on behalf of the environment.    Wendell rest in peace."

This tribute was added by B. Newhouse on 18th August 2015

"I first met Wendell in late 1983 or early 1984.  Now OregonWild, then the Oregon Natural Resources Council, had just had their 11th annual meeting up at Breitenbush.  The woman from there who had made it happen, Dinah Ross, died in an auto accident in September 1983.  She had touched deeply the lives of so many people (including Wendell) that a movement arose to have a mountain named after her.  Wendell had known Dinah from coordinating the ONRC meeting with her that August, and from her being on the governing council and working with her on Mt. Jeff area wilderness expansions.  I had known Dinah from Multnomah County Outdoor School as a co-teacher and then as a close friend.  Wendell led the effort to make the designation happen.  A person who I hadn't heard of at the time, and who was a friend of Wendell's -- the great Russ Jolley -- identified a suitable, unnamed peak in the area and we then worked with the Oregon Geographic Names Board to bring it about.  (You now can see Dinah-mo Peak on maps, located just NW of Mt. Jefferson.)  Wendell led a hike of several folks up the trail from Breitenbush Lake to view the newly-named peak, and I distinctly remember learning a trailside plant from him there:  Dirty Socks (Eriogonum pyrolifolium).  I'm sure I learned others from him on that walk, but that one stuck!  I still remember that time whenever I see that plant.

In his recent “Crescent City” years, Wendell led some botany workshops for the Siskiyou Field Institute.  I had for a long time wanted to go on (but didn’t) the botany retreat he sometimes led at a lookout near the Smith River (Bear Mountain?  Don't know the name.)  And when finding a very strange Australian tree fern escaping in Samuel Boardman State Park a few years ago I learned that Wendell already had documented it!  He was well known on the S. OR coast and N. CA coast for his botanizing and plant listing.  Very recently, I believe that he instigated the movement to get the Veva Stansell Botanical Area designated, indicating he must have known southern coastal Oregon's most famous, respected and loved botanist (Veva). I think OregonWild led the effort, and he solicited support from the Native Plant Society of Oregon.

I hadn't seen him in years.  Nonetheless, I will miss knowing that he is out there doing amazing conservation and botany work.  And I’ll miss his occasional email alerts and humor.  It is perfectly fitting that he died while walking in the Prairie Creek Redwoods.  I hope to be so lucky.

So long, Wendell.  Thank you for all your work for Oregon wildness.

Bruce Newhouse in Eugene"

This tribute was added by George Sexton on 18th August 2015

"Without Wendell's Walking Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests what would I have done? Who would I be, now? What wouldn't I have seen? What wouldn't I have become? A call to action in the form of a hiking guide. Perfect. The Constellation of Walkling Conservation: Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests by Wendell, Hiking Bigfoot Country by Hart, and The Mountains of California by Muir. Our holy trinity. Our guiding lights. Walking, one foot in front of another."

This tribute was added by James Monteith on 18th August 2015

"Wendell was the most charming pit bull you'll ever meet.  Rarely is such a great naturalist and teacher also such an effective conservation advocate and leader.  Our pal Wendell was a remarkable field general for Oregon conservation, and we get to see the results of his work every day in so many places.  And so much fun...  I may occasionally disparage our neighbors to the south but I'll always thank California (and Humboldt State) for Wendell."

This tribute was added by Andy Kerr on 18th August 2015

"There are countless stands of Oregon’s ancient forests that still stand today because of Wendell Wood. This and future generations of humans, spotted owls, Pacific salmon and other species are indebted to this happy warrior for nature.

He was also instrumental in securing protection under the Endangered Species Act for the western snowy plover, Klamath short-nose sucker, Lost River sucker and several other species.

Since he walked into Eugene office of Oregon Wild (then Oregon Natural Resources Council) in 1981, we became colleagues and friends. His vast knowledge of natural history combined with his indefatigable, but also quite lovable, personality made him a highly effective advocate for the wild.

If saving wild nature was a hockey game, Wendell was the best goalie ever. He just hated to let the other side score. Few clearcuts of ancient forest, roading of roadless areas, damming of rivers, or abuse of wildflowers and wildlife by off-road vehicles got by Wendell.

—Andy Kerr"

This tribute was added by Ralph Johansen on 17th August 2015

"I had only known Wendell for the past eight years. I walked with him in the forests here in Del Norte County several times, searching out mushrooms, wildflowers or rare marine species. What struck me most about this man was how truly fresh and excited was his view of his surroundings. He seemed to have never lost that close, almost childlike connection with his environment that so many of us lose in the course of negotiating our "civilization." I will miss him sorely."

This tribute was added by Tom Pringle on 17th August 2015

"I go back quite a ways with Wendell and have been the recipient of a lot of hospitality from him and Kathy over the years both at the cabin and in Crescent City. I can't say his personality changed one iota over the years.

Wendell was about the only person in the enviro community who actually knew anything from the natural history/academic perspective, be that freshwater algae, hawks off their route, marine invertebrates and of course the botanical side.

Being up against these agency shenanigans constantly must have taken its wear and tear in terms of deadlines and near-misses turned around at the last minute.  However Wendell had a great personality and laughed a lot even in the thick of it.

There is a lot of stuff out there that would be gone today if the buck hadn't stopped with Wendell. So I guess the real tribute to Wendell would be if we make sure that nothing bad happens to these places in the future."

This tribute was added by Erik Fernandez on 17th August 2015

"Year after year Wendell and I would go over maps after he had field checked proposed Crater Lake Wilderness boundaries - from the Umpqua to the upper Deschutes to the upper Rogue, he was checking all sides of the proposal. He was always trying to persuade me to make the boundaries bigger. At the end of the day when we were done he always had me tally up the boundary adjustments to figure out "how much Wilderness did we make today?".  

I also remember the time he told us about the hiker/camper who picked up road kill on the way to Wendell's hike, and then cooked it up for everyone. Ever the curious type he tried some (mountain beaver I recall)...this was before he became vegan."

This tribute was added by Brett Cole on 17th August 2015

"Wendell was such an utterfly pleasant and humble and sincere person, easy to be around, always happy to share his knowledge and experience, deep in his love and dedication to nature. Along with Steve, Wendell has always been a hero to me for his love of and dedication to the Klamath in particular. It's a huge loss and my heart goes out to Kathy and everyone else that loves Wendell. I will miss him, and his legacy will certainly live on."

This tribute was added by George Wuerthner on 17th August 2015

"i remember meeting Wendell for the first time when ONRC had an office in Eugene. I was working on a book about Oregon Mountain Ranges, and I came into the office to talk to folks about wilderness proposals and other issues that I wanted to incorporate in my book. Wendell was a jolly soul with a mischievous smile who reminded me of a  leprechaun--but a leprechaun with extraordinary knowledge about Oregon's plants, wildlife and wildlands. I had the good fortunate to interact with Wendell many times and he was always generous with his time and knowledge. He was a force in Oregon conservation and future generations as well as the presence folks will have better lives because Wendell lived and cared about Oregon's wild places."

This tribute was added by Sally Browne on 17th August 2015

"An extraordinary man. Mentor, friend, spokesperson, advocate. A wellspring of knowledge, ever ready to share. Wendell will be sorely missed by many. Strength and love to Kathy."

This tribute was added by Marilyn Miller on 14th August 2015

"There are so many things I could say about Wendell.  He was one of the funnest friends I have ever had.  Craig and I were married 16 years ago on Steens Mountain and Wendell picked a bunch of sage and threw it at our car when we drove by on the loop road.  He was giggling as he did that.  That is what I shall miss the most - his giggle and his laugh which he did often.  He gave freely of his knowledge of everything related to nature and his passion of flowers and plants.  When ever I went hiking with Wendell it could take an hour to walk fifty feet because he knew and was excited about every plant. A walk on the beach was overwhelming because he knew everything that was seen.  I helped lead a few bird trips with Wendell from his cabin near KFalls and those are some of the best memories.  Wendell & Kathy were the best house guests at our home and the best of the best hosts at their home in Crescent Lake and their cabin.  I will miss the early mornings watching Sage Grouse dance with Wendell, the beach hikes, the silly dinners, the fascinating conversations, the canoe trips, the bird watching. And the greatest Christmas cards ever. (and the silliest emails!)  I loved canoeing with Wendell and Kathy.

Oh h*ll - I'll miss everything about Wendell.  My thoughts and love are with Kathy.  Wendell you were the best of the best of the best.  Your love for nature will never be forgotten."

This tribute was added by Sean Stevens on 14th August 2015

"The Oregon Wild family is stunned and saddened by the passing of one of our heroes, Wendell Wood. Our thoughts are with Wendell’s wife Kathy at this difficult time.

We encourage family, friends, and colleagues to post remembrances, photos, and stories to this site to help us all marvel at Wendell's amazing and deeply meaningful life.

For over 30 years, Wendell was the conscience of the environmental community in Oregon. His dedication to protecting our forests, wildlife, and rare plants was matched by his intimate knowledge of the land. He shared his passion and knowledge of the natural world freely. So committed to his life’s work was Wendell that his “retirement” was in name only.

With Wendell, the Forest Service must have thought we had eyes and ears everywhere in the state. One week he would uncover illegal burl poaching in the Oregon Redwoods; and the next he would discover a renegade road leading into Crater Lake National Park. Wendell was always in the field – learning, challenging, and teaching.

We will remember Wendell for so much – his goofy wildlife-themed holiday cards, his tenacity in seeking restoration of the Upper Klamath watershed, his sense of humor, and his warm and welcoming personality.

Though it does not make it less heartbreaking, it is completely fitting that Wendell’s last moments were spent on the trail, redwood giants towering above him, no doubt marveling at some small wonder of the forest before him.

We will forever miss our friend, teacher, and colleague, Wendell Wood."

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This memorial is administered by:

Sean Stevens


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