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Desert Conference: Public Lands, Common Ground brings diverse voices to Bend October 14

The 2016 Desert Conference will bring landowners, conservationists, elected officials, scientists and engaged citizens together in Bend on Oct. 14 to explore shared solutions for managing our public lands.
Sep 16, 2016

The 2016 Desert Conference – bringing together landowners, conservationists, elected officials, scientists, engaged citizens and others to discuss high desert issues – will return to Bend on Friday, Oct. 14. The public is invited to attend.

The theme of the conference is Public Lands, Common Ground. Panelists and the audience will explore solutions for managing public lands by considering unique examples through a series of panels, finding shared values among varied views and looking for toeholds for future collaborative efforts.

This will be the 28th Desert Conference, now hosted by the Oregon Natural Desert Association biennially as a way to bring people together to think and learn about high desert issues.

“It’s critical that people from different backgrounds and perspectives have a way to talk about issues in a productive setting,” says Oregon Consensus Director Peter Harkema, who will moderate the conference panels. “Desert Conference provides an important venue for that.”

The conference will kick off with a keynote speech from Nancy Langston, an environmental historian at Michigan Tech University who has conducted extensive research on the history of eastern Oregon’s Malheur basin and authored the noted book, Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed.

Panels will follow throughout the day, with topics including the years-long collaborative planning effort at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, plans now in place to protect Greater sage-grouse, the connection between economics and conservation and visions for the future of Oregon’s high desert. Panelists range from elected officials to ranchers to scientists to policymakers.

“A diversity of views will be present, but the one thing we all agree about is that we care about the future of Oregon’s high desert,” says Brent Fenty, ONDA’s executive director. “In focusing on ‘Public Lands, Common Ground,’ we want to generate thought-provoking discussions about these public lands that matters to all of us.”

Registration is open now at The conference will take place Oct. 14, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Campus, 61980 Skyline Ranch Road, Bend. It costs $50, which includes lunch and closing reception refreshments. Scholarships are available: Contact for more information.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association is a nonprofit organization that has worked to protect, defend and restore Oregon’s high desert for nearly 30 years. We’re actively working to protect stunning, ecologically significant areas in the Central Oregon Backcountry, Greater Hart-Sheldon Region, John Day River Basin and Owyhee Canyonlands. Learn more at


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Oregon Natural Desert Association
50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
Bend, OR 97702
Tel: (541) 330-2638

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