About this place
Cottonwood Canyon is Oregon’s second largest state park. Its large size and location on the lower John Day River allow it to contain diverse wildlife habitat for everything from California bighorn sheep to salmon. Its relative proximity to Portland allows many west-siders to access the high desert with relative ease. The park encompasses not only rugged canyon terrain along the John Day itself, but extensive tributary canyons an uplands extending into the landscape to the west and east. Hay Creek is one of these canyons at the northern extent of the park. ONDA’s restoration efforts are focused along three miles of spring-fed, creek containing essential salmonid habitat. Hay Creek was already so highly degraded by the turn of the last century that surveyors from the Government Land Office remarked about it in their notes. Today, further degraded by floods and a history of heavy use, Hay Creek is essentially devoid of riparian habitat and lies in a straightened channel, eroded up to 20 feet below its surrounding floodplain.