Our Vision, Mission and Beliefs

Devin Dahlgren   Website


We envision a high desert in Oregon where eight million acres of public lands are conserved to ensure that fish and wildlife thrive and wild places exist for all people to treasure and explore, now and always.


Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) exists to protect, defend and restore Oregon’s high desert for current and future generations.


  • Oregon’s high desert deserves protection because of its stunning beauty, unique ecology, recreational opportunities, and cultural heritage.
  • As Americans, we are all richer because of our public lands and that this incredible legacy must be maintained for the benefit of current and future generations and for fish and wildlife.
  • To know Oregon’s high desert is to love it. Connecting people with the land is the foundation of conservation.
  • Public lands are common ground for diverse communities. It is important to respectfully consider all perspectives while passionately pursuing our mission. (See Our Commitment to Justice, Equity and Inclusion.)
  • Science should inform priorities on where and how we do our work.


Discover Desert Pronghorn

Discover Desert Pronghorn


Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Steens Mountain: Oregon’s first desert wilderness

On October 30, 2000, Congress passed the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act, finishing the work that had taken ONDA and the other members of the Steens-Alvord Coalition decades  

Steens Mountain is a land of startling contrasts: dramatic u-shaped

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What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia