ONDA's Wild Desert Blog
Oregon Natural Desert Association knows that our wild desert lands will only be protected through the support of those who love them. This collection of stories from a variety of contributors reflects the diversity of people involved in our work and highlights what we have in common - a shared love of Oregon's deserts.
La Grande resident Nikki Beachy and her friend, Talia Galvin of Bend, hiked 27 miles of ONDA's Oregon Desert Trail in the Owyhee Canyonlands, starting in Leslie Gulch and weaving north through stunning formations. Along the way, they appreciated the power and wonder of the high desert.
Every year, ONDA recognizes a volunteer who consistently shines in dedicated service to the organization with its Volunteer of the Year award. This year, the award rightly belongs to two inseparable women.
More than three decades ago, ONDA member Joe Walicki made an eye-opening journey up the West Little Owyhee River Canyon. Here, with words and images, he shares the memory of discovery in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
William Sullivan is touring Central Oregon to promote his latest update to his Eastern Oregon hiking guide, and ONDA will be there as a special guest to share why our work to protect the region matters.
Mary Powell participated in ONDA's 2015 Greater sage-grouse lek monitoring trip at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. The trip, which involves rising before dawn to witness and count sage-grouse gathered to attract mates, proved fascinating and fulfilling.
The fascinating geology of the Owyhee Canyonlands ranges from millions of years ago, when the land was part of the supervolcano that’s now Yellowstone, to just thousands of years ago when Jordan Craters became coated in lava. Here, Oregon State University-Cascades student Chloe Hallock interviews one of her instructors, Daniele McKay, about this diverse landscape. Professor McKay holds a doctorate in geology from University of Oregon and studies volcanoes.
Marlene Moore Alexander is a survivor, a teacher, a scholar, a student, and perhaps is best known as an artist. This is her story of the healing, inspiration, and serenity that she finds in the high desert. The desert is an important place for many reasons, and Marlene hopes that her art can help people cherish and protect it for future generations so they can find the same peace she has found.
The Oregon Badlands Wilderness will always have a piece of Kirsten Blackburn's heart ... as it's the place where she and her future husband decided to wed.
The inaugural Oregon Natural Desert Association High Desert Lecture Series event, “Monarchs & Milkweed: An Evening with Tom Landis,” drew huge interest. Here is more information on how to grow milkweed and pollinating plants in the high desert.
The unseasonably warm weather means it's an ideal time to visit Sutton Mountain, a jewel in the John Day River Basin. Two ONDA members visited Sutton Mountain's Black Canyon late last fall, discovering an amazing venue for a shoulder-season outing.
ONDA lost a number of heroes in 2014, advocates who continuously made a difference -- on behalf of the high desert and in the many lives they touched.
Dr. Tom Connolly, archaeological research director for the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History & State Museum of Anthropology, shares with the Oregon Natural Desert Association some of the history of human habitation in Oregon's high desert.
At the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s 2014 Bend year-end party, we recognized a man who has long been a champion for the high desert. Stu Garrett of Bend received the 2014 Alice Elshoff Desert Conservation Award, which recognizes individuals who -- in the tradition of longtime ONDA board member Alice Elshoff -- make significant contributions to conservation in Oregon’s desert.
In June, a group of Tibetan monks toured the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and saw Sutton Mountain. Oregon Natural Desert Association John Day Coordinator Ben Gordon joined the group on the visit.
Daniel Hammer has long loved hunting in eastern Oregon. Now, the former cabinetmaker is a student in the Oregon State University-Cascades Natural Resources program in Bend. Here, he shares with the Oregon Natural Desert Association how love of land and the hunt go hand in hand.
Oregon author and poet Ellen Waterston muses about the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and challenges ahead in the text of her speech at 27th Desert Conference, put on in September by the Oregon Natural Desert Association.
Native Americans traversed the Owyhee Canyonlands regularly, leaving reminders in stone. Petroglyphs, which are images carved into rocks, abound in the Owyhee country. Here, Eugene, Oregon-based rock art enthusiast Douglas Beauchamp shares some of his thoughts on and images of area petroglyphs with ONDA.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association's 27th Desert Conference, Sept. 19-20, will bring together artists, scientists and others who care about Oregon's high desert. Keynote speakers are Roderick Nash, John Leshy, Jarold Ramsey and Ellen Waterston.
Photographer Tyson Fisher says that until a few years ago, he had only heard of Oregon's Owyhee Canyonlands. Intimidated by its remoteness and immensity, he nonetheless made a number of visits. Now, he calls it his "unlimited source of inspiration."
The Oregon Natural Desert Association this spring teamed up with three local breweries -- Deschutes Brewery, Worthy Brewing and Crux Fermentation Project -- as part of Beers Made By Walking. The effort showcases wild areas where brewers ID native plants to use in brewing. The brewers will debut beers inspired by the hikes this fall!