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. 


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

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

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