Whychus-Deschutes Proposed Wilderness
Central Oregon’s Wild River Wilderness
In a deep, rugged canyon, two pristine waterways come together. Whychus Creek and the mighty Deschutes River, stoked by cool spring water, provide the lifeblood for wildlife such as redband trout, bobcats, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, cougar and golden eagles. This area provides the setting for adventures of the recreational variety, whether it’s exploring the myriad of canyon trails or teaching your children to fish.
Wilderness designation can help keep Whychus-Deschutes wild! Whychus-Deschutes is an area that is special to thousands of Central Oregonians. By designating this irreplaceable landscape as Wilderness, Congress can permanently protect the rugged natural beauty, cultural history and opportunities for recreation and solitude that make Whychus-Deschutes unique, protecting this natural heritage for future generations.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), concerned citizens of Central Oregon and adjacent landowners seek a federal Wilderness designation for 18,973 acres of public land currently managed as the Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area/Inventoried Roadless Area. Some of the unique values that would be permanently protected with a wilderness designation for this area include:
Get outside: The Whychus-Deschutes has been recognized for generations as one of the best places in Central Oregon to hike, hunt, fish, camp and enjoy other low-impact recreation activities. Above all, it is a wonderful, quiet place for families to explore and experience nature together!
See wildlife: The Middle Deschutes River and Lower Whychus Creek are world-class trout fisheries, with populations of bull trout, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Whychus Creek was historically the most productive steelhead trout stream in the Upper Deschutes Watershed, and it is essential that this habitat be protected in order to ensure the success of our community’s efforts to reestablish this emblematic species. Whychus-Deschutes also provides crucial winter range for mule deer and is home to hundreds of other sensitive species of animals and plants.
Experience history: There are multiple significant cultural sites in the Whychus-Deschutes area, including Native American rock art, cave dwellings, fire pits and shell middens. The permanent protection of this area as wilderness will safeguard these irreplaceable cultural resources for future generations to learn from.