FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thankful for the end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover
By now you likely know that the illegal takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by armed extremists has come to an end. The last six weeks will long be remembered as tumultuous times for the people of Harney County and for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It’s with feelings of gratitude and relief that we thank law enforcement officials who put themselves at risk to bring this takeover by armed militants to a resolution. We also thank our elected officials who called for peace and justice in this situation. Our thoughts remain with the Harney County community, the Burns Paiute Tribe, the employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Burns District of the Bureau of Land Management and others who endured during this hostile time.
As the media trucks pull out and the wheels of justice move forward, the Oregon Natural Desert Association vows to remain committed to the health and welfare of the Malheur Refuge. We have for years worked in concert with conservationists, public servants, ranchers and others regarding the future of the refuge, including the development of a 15-year plan for refuge management adopted in 2013. We will also continue to perform land stewardship work at the refuge, which in the past has included treating invasive weeds, removing obsolete fences and building new ones to best serve avian habitat, area ranchers and other uses of the refuge.
To that end, we will continue discussions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Tribal partners about how ONDA volunteers can assist with restoration efforts. If you want to join the nearly 800 volunteers who have already committed to this effort you can sign up at: onda.org/volunteerformalheur
Going forward, we urge all Oregonians and Americans to support the people of Harney County by visiting their communities and marveling at the natural wonders there like the Malheur Refuge. We also encourage everyone to reach out to others who may not always share similar views in order to better understand how we can work together to thoughtfully and responsibly manage our public lands. These amazing public lands belong to all of us. We hope that discussions about their future will from here on out bring Oregonians together, not drive a wedge between us with divisive language and threats of violence. Thank you for your support.