Pine Creek Spring Restoration


Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas,” says Terry, adding, “Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday… I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”


Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain


Western Rattlesnake

Western Rattlesnake

Also known as the Great Basin Rattlesnake, these pit vipers have buff-tan coloring and small, oval blotches to blend into their arid surroundings. Small heat-sensing indentations on each side of the snake’s snout detects warm-blooded prey for better striking accuracy in the dark. Source: The Oregon Encyclopedia

Latin name: Crotalus oreganus lutosus

Organizer: Gena Goodman-Campbell

Dates: September 29-October 1, 2023

Region: John Day River Basin

Difficulty Rating: Level 4: Strenuous

Maximum Group Size: 10 participants

About the place

This project takes place on the Pine Creek Conservation Area, which is owned and managed by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Pine Creek is within the traditional lands of the Tenino people, a band of the Warm Springs Tribe, and the Northern Paiute people. The area is also part of the traditional lands of the Cayuse, one of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, who visited the area seasonally.

Pine Creek Conservation Area is located near Clarno and the Lower John Day River. Pine Creek is a tributary of the John Day River, and runs for over 10 miles through the Conservation Area. It provides important habitat for steelhead and a diversity of wildlife and bird species. ONDA volunteers have been actively contributing to conservation projects at Pine Creek for over 15 years. This project continues that work by helping to restore a system of springs that feed Pine Creek.

About the stewardship work

This project will support watershed-wide restoration efforts by removing juniper trees from a system of springs that feed Pine Creek, increasing water levels in the small streams fed by the springs as well as Pine Creek itself. Volunteers will camp a few miles down the road from the work site and will carpool to the site each morning at 8am and return to camp by 4pm. Volunteers will use hand tools such as loppers and handsaws to remove small junipers from springs and surrounding areas. Volunteers will also reuse cut juniper material to add structure to stream channels to reconnect them to their floodplains and slow seasonal flows, which will in turn support existing willows and other riparian plants as well as future restoration plantings. The work will involve hiking off trail over uneven and steep terrain. No previous experience is necessary for this trip and all training, tools and materials will be provided.

Trip timeline

  • Friday, September 29, 4-7pm: Meet at the campsite near the project location to set up camp and have dinner.
  • Saturday, September 30, 8am-4pm: After breakfast we will travel to the work site and begin working our way up the stream from our parking area along the highway. Volunteers should plan to be out all day and be prepared for a full day of work.
  • Sunday, October 1, 8am-3pm: After breakfast we will pack up camp before carpooling to the work site to pick up where we left off the previous day. After completing our work around 3pm we will carpool back to the campsite and head home.


We will be car camping at a primitive campground just off of Highway 218 on the Pine Creek Conservation Area. The campground is on a gravel road and is accessible for any vehicle. There are pit toilets at the campground but no potable water; volunteers will need to bring their own water for the duration of the trip.


Level 4

The physical demands of this trip are moderate to strenuous. Work involves hiking over steep and uneven ground, using hand tools such as loppers and handsaws, working in thick and prickly vegetation, and bending and kneeling for prolonged periods.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own camping gear, food and water/beverages. Sturdy hiking boots, long pants, long sleeves and eye protection will be required for the work.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide all of the training, tools, and supplies needed to complete the work. ONDA will also bring some group camping gear like tables and extra potable water along with expert leadership.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

 Apply Now

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 weeks of submitting your form. The confirmation email will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.