Oregon River Reads

Devin Dahlgren

Author: Joanna Zhang | Published: August 27, 2021 | Categories: Uncategorized

Four Stories That Will Inspire You to Protect Oregon’s Rivers 

Late summer is synonymous with days in and along the water: rafting, swimming, hiking or hanging out in a hammock with a good book. 

Need a suggestion on what to read? These three articles highlight experiences on the Rogue, the John Day, and the remote West Little Owyhee, and the book Rivers of Oregon showcases the remarkable rivers and streams that are the lifeblood of the state. Each piece has its own style and insights, but they all offer a reminder of why ONDA is working to support Senators Wyden and Merkley’s proposal to make Oregon the country’s leader in Wild & Scenic Rivers through the River Democracy Act. 


Stewardship Pronghorn Fence

Stewardship Pronghorn Fence


Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

“Protecting public land is part of my spiritual being. It’s central to my identity to be in wilderness and to see it protected.” Durlin is proud to protect public lands for future generations, saying, “The highlight of my childhood was our family’s weekend outdoor trips. I look forward to my grandchildren having similar experiences outside in their lifetimes, and it wouldn’t be possible without ONDA.”


Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus

Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus

Rafters on the Rogue River

“Arbitrary River Units” by Alli Hartz

In this piece on the Oregon Wild blog, Alli Hartz explains how time on the river is measured in “arbitrary river units” rather than neatly meted minutes and seconds. In other words, it’s hard to measure at all.

Hartz grew up in Pennsylvania, never knowing what a Wild and Scenic River was. These days, she not only spends her time paddling Oregon favorites like the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, but dreaming about and advocating for all the arbitrary river units of adventures that could take place on the waterways slated for protection under the River Democracy Act.

Read Hartz's piece

“Surrender to the Current: an Oregon Rafting Adventure” by Tim Neville

While his friends were taking up new quarantine hobbies like breadmaking and knitting, writer Tim Neville decided it was time to invest in his own rafting equipment after years of thinking about it. Neville took on a 50-mile segment of the John Day Wild and Scenic River as his maiden voyage last summer, a trip that would take him through magnificent canyons, lava rock-dotted hillsides and enchanted wildflower meadows.

Read this piece to go along on a John Day adventure, and get the latest on the pandemic-fueled outdoor recreation boom.

Read Neville's piece
Tent along West Little Owyhee River

“Bivouacking in Oregon’s Back of Beyond” by Tim Neville

And, in case you missed it when it was first published ten years ago or want to read it again, Tim Neville’s New York Times piece on the Upper West Little Owyhee River is an evergreen reminder of just how remote, challenging and exhilarating a trip to the far corners of Oregon’s high desert can be.

Here, Neville captures an incredible four-day excursion full of freezing river crossings, marble-sized hail and surreal scenery, an account that may or may not make you want to head out there yourself, depending on your idea of fun.

Read Neville's piece
Person standing in Middle Deschutes River

Rivers of Oregon by Tim Palmer

If you’re searching for a summer read to spend more time with, look no further than Rivers of Oregon, by award-winning photographer and author Tim Palmer.

A stunning collection of photos and eloquent writing, Rivers of Oregon takes the reader on an unforgettable visual journey across the state’s diverse array of riverscapes, all the while sharing stories of Oregonians’ ongoing commitment to protecting and restoring these wild waters.

Get Palmer's book