Cottonwood Canyon State Park Riparian Restoration May 22-25


Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

With 10,000 acres of undulating terrain, secluded canyons and spectacular vantages of the John Day Country, Spring Basin is magnificent to explore This public treasure, forever protected as Wilderness, offers a profusion of desert wildflowers in the spring and year-round recreational opportunities for hikers, horseback

Read More


Western Rattlesnake

Western Rattlesnake

Also known as the Great Basin Rattlesnake, these pit vipers have buff-tan coloring and small, oval blotches to blend into their arid surroundings. Small heat-sensing indentations on each side of the snake’s snout detects warm-blooded prey for better striking accuracy in the dark. Source: The Oregon Encyclopedia

Latin name: Crotalus oreganus lutosus


Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Organizer: Jefferson Jacobs

Start Date: 5/22/2018

End Date: 5/25/2018

Region: John Day River Basin River Basin

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 20 participants

About the place

Cottonwood Canyon State Park is Oregon’s newest state park. Formerly the Murtha Ranch, this 8,000-acre paradise exemplifies the rugged beauty of the John Day River territory with remarkable canyons, tall plateaus and sweeping sage-covered views. Cottonwood is home to bighorn sheep, Pronghorn antelope and elk, and the John Day River running through it is laden with chinook, steelhead and other species of native trout.

View the map.

About the stewardship work

As part of an ongoing effort to restore Hay Creek to its former glory, ONDA and Oregon State Parks have devised a multi-year restoration strategy to reestablish conditions that will bring native salmon and steelhead back to this tributary of the John Day River. In this first of three trips to Hay Creek in 2018 we will be constructing small exclosures around existing vegetation on the creek-banks. This will protect the plants from beaver and deer until the trees have grown enough to withstand the browsing, or provide large enough construction materials to be useful to the beavers.

There are a lot of different ways to get involved in the work. From the hauling of materials, to clipping of fence to posts. Volunteers can work on tasks best suited to their interests and abilities and can pace-themselves accordingly. ONDA will provide training and all of the necessary tools to do the job. No experience is required to attend this trip. All that is required is a love of the high desert, a big smile and a willingness to learn.

Trip timeline

  • Tuesday, May 22, 5 p.m.: We will meet at the Cottonwood Canyon Campground. After dinner we’ll have time to talk more in depth about the coming days’ work and its significance in the bigger picture.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 23-24: After breakfast, we’ll car-pool the 20 minutes or so to the worksite in Hay Creek. We’ll be away from camp all day, but head back around 3:30
  • Friday, May 25: After breakfast, we will break down camp and volunteers will have the opportunity to take a hike or head home.


We will be camping in the luxurious Cottonwood Canyon State Park Campground. There is potable water onsite, bathrooms and kitchen shelters.


Level 3

There will be quite a bit of work in areas where the thick vegetation will prevent you from being able to see the uneven ground beneath.

Trip highlights and challenges

  • The pride of implementing restoration work that will dramatically improve this John Day tributary.
  • Long days of gratifying but hard work.
  • Temperatures can fluctuate widely during this time of year.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food, camping gear as well as transportation to and from the trip. Sturdy hiking boots are needed for this trip. Participants should be prepared to be away from camp all day each of the work days.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide tools for the work, some group camping equipment, and expert leadership. We also provide hot water at morning and evening mealtimes to help expedite meal prep, and espresso coffee in the morning.


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

Apply Now

You only need to fill this form out once per year and can join additional trips this year by e-mailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation e-mail will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, car-pooling options, 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.