Malheur Wild & Scenic River Monitoring



Greater Sage Grouse and Sparrows at Hart Mountain

Greater Sage Grouse and Sparrows at Hart Mountain


Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva, ODT thru-hiker 2017

Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva, ODT thru-hiker 2017

“To me, it’s a thru-hike in an isolated place that promotes a conversation in land management, ethics and usage. Hiking across a vast and remote landscape and having a random and chance encounter with cowboys and hunters to discuss how ‘all of us’ should treat the land, how we all have a responsibility, no matter our political leanings, really showed me the pulse of the people in rural areas, especially here out west.”


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

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Organizer: Stewardship Team

Project Timeline: 5/01/2022 through 10/31/2022

Region: Malheur National Forest

Difficulty Rating: 4 out of 5

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.

The Malheur River and North Fork Malheur River is known for outstanding scenery, geology, wildlife habitat and history. The river corridor is generally characterized by a rugged and steep canyon ranging from 300- to 1,000-feet deep. The canyon geology is evident in the various rock outcrops, talus slopes and cliffs, contributing to the scenic diversity of the landscape. Scenic vistas from the canyon rims and views up and down canyon from the river are spectacular.

About the project

After two decades of legal pressure, the Forest Service is no longer authorizing livestock grazing along more than 64 miles of bull trout streams, covering more than 36,000 acres of national forest land in these two watersheds. Presumably in response to nascent habitat recovery, local bull trout populations also appear to be recovering. A number of allotment units along both rivers are permanently or temporarily closed to grazing.

This is a photo monitoring project

This project will involve taking new photos and visiting previous photo point locations to take current photos of the riparian conditions along identified stretches of the Malheur and North Fork Malheur Rivers and tributaries.


This project has about a five-month window (approximately May- October), and during this time you will be asked to find a day (or days…) to conduct the work….it’s all up to you!


Level 4

This trip will require hiking, both on trail and off. Depending on the section of river you choose, your hike could be almost 10-miles, although many sections are shorter and more accessible. Some hiking will involved walking along brushy and thickly vegetated riparian corridors.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this project. You will also have the option to volunteer for other projects that become available throughout the year.

Project Details

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.

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