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ONDA's Wild Desert Blog

The Oregon Natural Desert Association celebrates the diversity of people involved in our work and highlights what we have in common - a shared love of Oregon's deserts.

Oregon Natural Desert Association knows that our wild desert lands will only be protected through the support of those who love them. This collection of stories from a variety of contributors reflects the diversity of people involved in our work and highlights what we have in common - a shared love of Oregon's deserts.

Owyhee – More than a river

Owyhee – More than a river

Posted by Corinne Handelman at Jul 17, 2017 04:50 PM |

Mary Elliott is an avid whitewater kayaker and advocate for protecting rivers. She recently spent a month monitoring Wilderness Study Areas in the Owyhee Canyonlands through an intern program sponsored by her employer, Patagonia. During this time, she discovered that this landscape is about much more than just the river.

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Tips for planning a safe and enjoyable High Desert eclipse viewing

Tips for planning a safe and enjoyable High Desert eclipse viewing

Posted by Ben Gordon at Jul 06, 2017 11:15 AM |

The expansive high desert of eastern Oregon offers many great places from which to view the upcoming solar eclipse. With inviting small towns and abundant open space, anyone headed to the high desert can have a great experience, so long as the necessary preparations are made. A successful, enjoyable and safe trip will come from ensuring you have what you will need, including emergency supplies and a solid game plan. Because we care about the high desert landscape, the people who live here and all of those who plan to visit for the eclipse, we’ve put together these tips to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience that leaves the land in good shape.

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Wilderness Values: A View from Above

Wilderness Values: A View from Above

Posted by Barksdale Brown at Jun 16, 2017 12:20 PM |

ONDA employee Jeremy Austin realizes a childhood dream, and takes to the sky over southeastern Oregon with the LightHawk group in an effort to gain perspective on vast lands with wilderness values. All photos taken by Jim Davis.

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REI Continues Support of the Oregon Desert Trail

Posted by Renee Patrick at Jun 12, 2017 08:40 AM |

The Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) has made a lot of progress in the past year, thanks to the continued support of the hiking community, ONDA members, and the outdoor industry.

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Bend writer Dillon Upp Discovers the Magic of Steens Mountain

Bend writer Dillon Upp Discovers the Magic of Steens Mountain

Posted by Barksdale Brown at Jun 06, 2017 09:20 AM |

Dillon Upp is a Bend writer who recently made his first journey into Oregon’s high desert. He describes his magical 24 hour experience hiking and camping at Steens Mountain, sleeping under the stars and discovering the true meaning of solitude.

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Kirk Richardson: Alice Elshoff Award winner

Kirk Richardson: Alice Elshoff Award winner

Posted by Corinne Handelman at May 29, 2017 10:05 AM |

For more than a decade, Kirk Richardson has been a strong voice for protecting Oregon’s high desert. He’s served on the Oregon Natural Desert Association Board of Directors, helped dream up the Live Monumental effort to protect areas like the Owyhee through his position at KEEN Footwear, and now is the recipient of the 2016 Alice Elshoff Desert Conservation Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to conservation of our public lands. Read on to learn more about Kirk.

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Volunteer of the Year 2016

Volunteer of the Year 2016

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at May 22, 2017 08:52 AM |

Every year, one outstanding individual is honored with the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s Volunteer of the Year award. In April 2017, this special recognition was bestowed upon Bonnie Olin, indefatigable ambassador for the Owyhee Canyonlands.

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Ultra runner Stephanie Howe Violett gets her hands dirty with ONDA

Ultra runner Stephanie Howe Violett gets her hands dirty with ONDA

Posted by Barksdale Brown at May 09, 2017 12:40 PM |

Bend resident and The North Face ambassador Stephanie Howe Violett is a world-class endurance athlete, whose Nordic skiing and ultra running has taken her all over the world. Before racing in the prestigious Western States 100 – the oldest 100-mile race that that starts in Squaw Valley and finishes in Auburn, California – Stephanie had to contribute volunteer hours to qualify. She spent them in the field with ONDA.

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Climate change in the sagebrush sea

Climate change in the sagebrush sea

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Apr 24, 2017 10:25 AM |

Climate change is an issue for the sagebrush sea. With climate marches happening across the nation on Saturday, ONDA sat down with Dr. Megan Creutzburg, a researcher at Oregon State University’s Institute for Natural Resources, to learn more about what Oregon's high desert faces due to climate change.

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A voice from the next generation

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Apr 18, 2017 07:19 AM |

This Earth Day, 13-year-old Bend middle schooler Jack Strang shares how he is already thinking about the importance of conserving our wild high desert places.

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Exploring Eastern Oregon by Boat

Posted by Renee Patrick at Apr 03, 2017 09:22 AM |

ONDA Oregon Desert Trail Coordinator Renee Patrick shares a "water alternate" option to the hiking route on the Chewaucan River. She likes to say, “rivers are trails too” and hopes others are inspired to view our desert landscapes from a different angle.

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30 Years in the High Desert

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Mar 22, 2017 10:10 AM |

Solitude, limitless skies, one of the longest undammed rivers in the West ... what's not to love? Get a glimpse into Oregon's high desert and why ONDA -- now in its 30th year -- will continue working to protect, defend and restore these amazing public lands.

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Celebrating 30 years of high desert conservation

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Mar 14, 2017 02:28 PM |

For the last 30 years, the Oregon Natural Desert Association has worked to protect, defend and restore the state's high desert. Thanks to the efforts of ONDA's members and supporters, the state now has its first three desert wilderness areas, critical wildlife habitat has been safeguarded and improved, and much more.

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Public Lands, Common Ground: Desert Conference

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Feb 16, 2017 10:54 AM |

From conservationists to ranchers to professional land managers, Oregonians came together this fall to share how much they care about the future of our public lands at the Oregon Natural Desert Association's Desert Conference.

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Sawyer Products Supports the Oregon Desert Trail

Posted by Renee Patrick at Feb 03, 2017 08:41 AM |

The addition of Sawyer Products to the growing list of outdoor companies that support the Oregon Desert Trail is an exciting development, as their water filtration systems have long been a go-to for light weight and dependable filters to carry on backcountry adventures around the world.

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Getting inspired, getting involved

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jan 12, 2017 08:55 AM |

Bend resident Sarah Graham has long cherished the outdoors. But this past year inspired her to become active to help protect public lands, aiming to ensure they continue to belong to all Americans.

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Looking ahead to 2017

Looking ahead to 2017

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jan 01, 2017 07:05 AM |

We have much to be thankful for in Oregon's high desert, says ONDA Executive Director Brent Fenty. And in the days ahead, we must not take it for granted.

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Rich cultural history at Rimrock Draw Shelter

Rich cultural history at Rimrock Draw Shelter

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Dec 06, 2016 02:48 PM |

Participants in an ONDA-sponsored archeological hike experienced the excitement of discovery and awe of antiquity at Rimrock Draw Rockshelter recently with Dr. Pat O’Grady, University of Oregon archeologist. Rimrock Draw is a recently discovered archeological site near Burns that is upending our understanding of prehistory in eastern Oregon.

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Now more than ever, we need the gratitude at the core of #OptOutside

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Nov 22, 2016 11:20 AM |

Now more than ever, we need the gratitude that is at the core of #OptOutside to continue -- gratitude for the outdoors and our public lands. The danger to the future of our public lands is real. ONDA will be there to boldly and passionately advocate for our public lands during the days ahead.

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Opt Outside this fall on the Oregon Desert Trail

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Nov 15, 2016 03:10 PM |

Oregon Desert Trail Coordinator Renee Patrick has been section hiking/packrafting the 750-mile route this year, and just recently completed the trail. Thanks to REI’s support of the Oregon Desert Trail, important work continues to help establish the trail, presenting more opportunities to #OptOutside this busy holiday season. Learn more about gifts the high desert and the ODT can provide you and your loved ones.

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Oregon Natural Desert Association
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Bend, OR 97702
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