ODT Photo Monitoring

Sage Brown   Website


Karen Garber, volunteer since 2017

Karen Garber, volunteer since 2017

So glad we got to do a stewardship trip with ONDA this summer, and now I’m more inspired than ever to start hiking the Oregon Desert Trail in bits and pieces.


Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus

Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus


Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

About the place

An ONDA initiative since 2011, the 750-mile Oregon Desert Trail traverses some of the most spectacular natural areas of the state’s dry side, including Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Steens Mountain, and the Owyhee Canyonlands. While we have surveyed every inch of the route in crafting the Oregon Desert Trail, it remains a work-in-progress.

About the Independent Stewards Work

Note that Independent Stewards must attend a training with ONDA before conducting any Independent Stewards projects. This project will be completed independent of ONDA staff, and will require navigation and field skills above and beyond those required to attend a staff-led stewardship trip.

Once you have communicated with Lisa about your plans and obtained all maps and directions, you will set out to conduct photo monitoring on the ODT. This project involves driving, sometimes in rough 4wd conditions and hiking off trail in rocky, uneven terrain for several miles. You will be using mapping software on a tablet device to gather photo points to monitor for hiker/human impacts on some cross-country sections of the Oregon Desert Trail. Hiking is required, and some areas could be accessed part way on bike.


The best time to conduct photo monitoring in the high desert is in the spring and fall.

  • Once you have signed up for this project, Lisa will contact you with project details and request your anticipated trip dates.
  • Be sure to thoroughly read through project details, safety precautions and directions before your trip and ask questions. This is a remote project site and you likely will not have access to internet or cell coverage once you are in the field. Research your project area and driving directions on Google Earth.
  • Request any further materials, details or directions you need. Confirm your itinerary with Lisa.
  • Take off on your trip and conduct monitoring.
  • Report to Lisa when you return.
  • Send monitoring data and reports.
  • Relax and know that you have made a difference for Oregon’s high desert.


You are on your own out there. Be aware that much of Oregon’s high desert is remote and it may be a long drive between gas stations and access to water and facilities. Refer to your Independent Stewards training and plan ahead and prepare.


Level 4

The terrain may be uneven, steep, and at high altitude, and you may be required to backpack camp. There will be plenty of opportunities for pacing oneself during the day, however, participants will need to be comfortable hiking at least 4 miles each day.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food, camping gear, water as well as transportation to and from the trip. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are required for this trip. Volunteers should be prepared to be fully self-supported.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide maps and directions for the project work, as well as any materials you request. You will need to be fully independent for transportation and camping.


An ONDA registration application and medical form is encouraged for this trip.

 Apply Now

This form is separate from ONDA’s stewardship trip form. Once you apply, Lisa will contact you to confirm your attendance in and Independent Stewards training and with information about the Independent Stewards project.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Lisa.