Fences in the High Desert

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Reid Williams, 2021 Conservationist of the Year

Reid Williams, 2021 Conservationist of the Year

How far are you willing to hike for conservation? Reid Williams offered to put in more than 20 miles a day, by himself, walking and monitoring fence lines on Beatys Butte. And that was on top of weekly visits to the ONDA office, where he is always eager to help with extra projects. In acknowledgment of his willingness and helpful spirit, ONDA named him our 2021 Conservationist of the Year.

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Tim Neville, journalist

Tim Neville, journalist

“Oregon’s Owyhee reminds me a lot of Southern Utah’s red rock country… only dipped in fudge.”

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Oregon Desert Trail Map

Oregon Desert Trail Map

Mending fences

Where fences still serve a functional purpose, ONDA works with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other public land managers to repair fences and make them friendlier to wildlife. In a process called “retrofitting,” we will replace some of the barbed wires with smooth wire, which is easier for wildlife like pronghorn antelope to scoot under.

On Beatys Butte, we are making fences friendlier to pronghorn.

Building Fences

In places where there is active cattle grazing, it is necessary to build fences to exclude cattle from the sensitive areas where ONDA is restoring native plants and wildlife habitat. This fall, we are offering two trips to the rugged South Fork Crooked River canyon where volunteers are building a fence to protect a section of the river for future restoration.

Removing Fences

In addition to Hart Mountain, ONDA has also removed all of the barbed wire fences from the cattle-free Steens Mountain Wilderness, as well as many of the fences in the Pine Creek Conservation Area, which is owned by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. This fall, ONDA volunteers will remove fences at Hay Creek, the site of a successful ONDA stream restoration project. Note: This trip is full, but interested volunteers may still sign up to be placed on the waitlist.

Fences in the High Desert

620,000 miles — enough to stretch around the earth nearly 25 times. That is the estimated number of miles of fencing currently crisscrossing the American West, according to researchers at […]

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