Securing protective designations

Sage Brown   Website

Public lands and waters can be protected from harmful development and other impacts when they are given a specific designation by the federal government. Oregon Natural Desert Association is the only group dedicated exclusively to protecting Oregon’s high desert. 

 

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What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia  

watch

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

listen

Wind and Birds in Quaking Aspen

Wind and Birds in Quaking Aspen

Securing the highest level of protection for wild lands and waters

Wild landscapes can be designated as National Parks, National Monuments, or Wilderness Areas and rivers can be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The highest level of protection available for public lands—even stronger than National Park status—is designation as Wilderness.

Oregon Natural Desert Association has successfully led campaigns that established the first and only three desert Wilderness areas in Oregon: Steens Mountain Wilderness, Oregon Badlands Wilderness, and Spring Basin Wilderness.

Even with the future of those remarkable landscapes secured, our work is just beginning.

Only a tiny fraction of Oregon’s desert public lands are protected as Wilderness—just 1 percent! This means there are many more exceptional desert public lands in Oregon’s desert, upwards of eight million acres, in great need of conservation action.

To learn more about our current efforts to protect our desert lands as Wilderness, visit the John Day River Region, the Central Oregon Backcountry, and the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Enjoying Wilderness Areas

“Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.” – Chief Si’ahl

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The Wilderness Act of 1964

Thanks to the Wilderness Act of 1964, future generations of Americans can experience the same landscapes that we have the opportunity to explore and enjoy today. ONDA campaigns to see qualified desert lands protected as wilderness.

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