Badlands Wilderness Stewardship #4

Greg Burke   Website


Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Our quest to protect the Oregon Badlands

Located just 15 miles east of Bend, Oregon Badlands is a 30,000-acre wilderness area filled with fascinating lava flows and ancient juniper trees Arriving in the Badlands, so named for its rugged and harsh terrain, can feel like stepping

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Great Horned Owls and Western Screech Owls

Great Horned Owls and Western Screech Owls




The Oregon Swallowtail butterfly is the official state insect of Oregon and a true native of the Pacific Northwest. The Swallowtail can be seen in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage area.  Source: State Symbols USA

Latin name: Papilio oregonius

Organizer: Beth Macinko

Date: June 2, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Region: Central Oregon

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 12 participants

About the place

This project takes place on the traditional lands of the Northern Paiute, Wasco and Warm Springs 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.

Located just 15 miles east of Bend, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a 30,000-acre area containing fascinating lava flows and ancient junipers. This area was designated as wilderness in 2009, and was named for its harsh terrain and fantastic rock formations. Within this landscape, one can find incredible displays of desert wildflowers, dry river canyons, castle-like rock formations, and Native American pictographs.

About the stewardship work

In partnership with the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management, and with support from the Bend Sustainability Fund, ONDA will lead several days of service to improve the Badlands for its human visitors and native wildlife inhabitants.

Through projects such as trail maintenance, signage improvement, and illegal vehicle route obscuring, volunteers will receive an introduction to ONDA’s stewardship and conservation programs.

These single-day experiences are a great opportunity for your first trip out with ONDA.  No previous experience is needed to attend. All that is required is a love of the high desert, a big smile and a willingness to learn.

Trip timeline

  • Thursday, June 2 (8 a.m.): Volunteers will meet at the trailhead. Most locations in the Badlands are within 30 minutes from Bend, directions to project locations will be sent out before the trip.
  • Thursday, June 2 (3 p.m.): We’ll be back at the trailhead by 3 p.m. to head back to Bend.


Level 3

Projects will consist of a variety of tasks, including: digging fence posts, lopping and sawing branches growing into the trail, moving rocks and debris to close illegal trails and routes, and removing trash. Volunteers can expect to spend their day hiking on uneven ground and undertaking lifting, bending, and other tasks that require a moderate level of physical exertion.

Participant responsibilities

Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots, long pants, and eye protection are required for this trip (sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses are suitable eye protection). Please bring work gloves if you have them. Long sleeve shirts may be required depending on the work performed (a lightweight sun shirt is a great option); Participants should be prepared to be away from the vehicles all day and bring a day pack for lunch, snacks and water. In the event of sunny and hot weather, please bring up to four liters of water capacity for the day, and consider an electrolyte replacement drink or mix to help you stay hydrated.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide all tools required for the work as well as extra work gloves and eye protection. We will bring some potable water, expert leadership and perspective on current high desert conservation priorities.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

Apply now

You will receive a confirmation email within a day of submitting your form. If the trip fills, you will be placed on the waitlist and have the option to have your deposit refunded or remain on the list in case a space opens up.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.