Securing protective designations

Sage Brown   Website

Oregon Natural Desert Association is the only group dedicated exclusively to securing the highest level of protection for wild lands and waters in Oregon’s high desert. 

Wild lands can be protected from harmful development and other impacts when they are designated as National Parks, National Monuments, or wilderness areas. Wild 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, wilderness areas in Oregon’s high desert: 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 1 percent of Oregon’s desert public lands are protected as Wilderness. And, statewide, only 2% of Oregon’s rivers are protected as Wild and Scenic.

Many exceptional public lands and waters in Oregon’s sagebrush steppe upwards of eight million acres of desert land and over a thousand miles of desert waterways are in great need of conservation action.

To learn more about ONDA’s work to secure Wild and Scenic River designations for Oregon’s desert rivers, visit:

success

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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voices

Craig Terry, ONDA member and stewardship volunteer

Craig Terry, ONDA member and stewardship volunteer

“The people I have had the privilege to share time with each season keep me volunteering again and again. Who else but those ONDA staff leaders would make fresh coffee at dawn each morning or pack a watermelon all day to serve as a reward under a juniper in a steep canyon?” Craig, who grew up in northwestern Nevada, says ONDA connects him with places he loves and a mission he believes in. “My grandfather and his father put up wire fences for their ranching needs. Taking out barbed wire sort of completes a circle for me.”

voices

Cregg Large, member since 2009

Cregg Large, member since 2009

“I came to Oregon 12 years ago from Texas. Texas, for all its size, has very little public land. Coming to Oregon has made me realize the special gift we as Americans have in our public lands. Volunteering with an organization like ONDA is my way of reciprocating for this gift. Through restoration efforts, I feel we are helping leave a better place than we found it. Through advocating for protection for public lands, we safeguard migration routes for animals and keep the land where it belongs: with the public.”

Sean Bagshaw   Website

Desert Rivers

In Oregon’s high desert, water is life. Rivers, streams, creeks and lakes are critical to everything Oregonians value about desert public lands, from fish and wildlife to recreation and clean […]

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To learn more about our campaigns to protect our desert lands as wilderness, visit:

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 […]

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