Alvord Desert Monitoring
Sean Bagshaw Website
About the place
This project takes place on the traditional lands of the Northern Paiute people. Many Indigenous peoples live in Oregon’s high desert region today, including members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute), the Klamath Tribes (Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin) and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.
The Alvord Desert Wilderness Study Area is an iconic attraction in Oregon’s high desert. The 50-mile long Steens Mountain creates a rain shadow for this 35+ square mile desert wonder, and increasingly people from all over Oregon (and the world) have discovered the joys of camping and recreating on the playa.
About the project
Through ONDA’s partnership with the Burns BLM District, we learned of unprecedented use of the Alvord Desert Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in 2020-21, largely due to the Coronavirus pandemic. BLM staff stated use of the Alvord Desert was 3-4 times what “normal” use was in previous years, and trash accumulation and impacts on the surrounding wildlife habitat reached critical levels.
Through this project, volunteers will utilize a recreation impact monitoring application to visit known hotspots on the Alvord Desert to record visitor information and preform a variety of stewardship activities.
This is a recreation impact monitoring and maintenance project
- Included in the monitoring and maintenance project:
- Use the RIMS (Recreation Monitoring Impact System) app on your smart phone to identify and record information on visitor use, trail and signage conditions, campsites and fire ring locations and more.
- Pick up trash.
- Brush out vehicle (bike or car) trespass incursions (beyond the allowed motorized use area) – after documenting the impacts.
- Remove, disperse, and camouflage identified campsite impacts and fire rings.
- Monitor for negative wildlife interactions
- Hand out wag bags with included responsible recreation information.
This project will involved multiple volunteers during the year. The playa will ideally be visited 2-3 times each month between March and November (or when the Alvord Desert is dry), although scheduling visits throughout the year will help us and the BLM gauge use in the ever diminishing “off-season.” You are welcome to make more than one trip. We ask volunteers who sign up for this project to make at least one monitoring trip in 2022 for a minimum of four hours.
This trip could require some moderate physical work, but because the project is self-directed you can hike/monitor as your body and time allows.
An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this project.
All the information you will need to know about this independent project will be emailed to you after your registration is complete. Each project page has extensive information about access, technology, tools, maps and more. Please be prepared to spend 1-2 hours reviewing this information prior to heading out on your project, the good news is that time spent reviewing and preparing for your trip all counts towards your volunteer hours.