Protected: Alder Springs Project


Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

“I contribute to ONDA monthly because it adds up to a larger annual gift than what I’d be able to comfortably afford if I were to do a simple one-time donation annually. I’m able to give more to ONDA this way and have greater impact which is important to me, and my dog Polly.”




The Oregon Swallowtail butterfly is the official state insect of Oregon and a true native of the Pacific Northwest. The Swallowtail can be seen in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage area.  Source: State Symbols USA

Latin name: Papilio oregonius


Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Our quest to protect the Oregon Badlands

Located just 15 miles east of Bend, Oregon Badlands is a 30,000-acre wilderness area filled with fascinating lava flows and ancient juniper trees Arriving in the Badlands, so named for its rugged and harsh terrain, can feel like stepping

Read More

Below you will find all the information you need to prepare, conduct, and report on this project. Please set aside an hour or two to read through this project page and all materials thoroughly.

Much of the work that goes into an Independent Stewards project is done at home before you head out! All of this prep time counts towards your volunteer hours, so please keep track of this. Below you will find more information on what you will need to report on this project after your field time.


Located on Lower Whychus Creek, Alder Springs is an oasis in the high desert. The trail starts at the top of the Whychus Creek Canyon, where you’ll enjoy wide open panoramic views of the Cascades, towering rock formations, and the rushing waters of Whychus Creek below and descends gradually through grasses and rabbitbrush to reach the creek. At 1.5 miles, hikers reach Alder Springs, which is so large that many people mistake it for Whychus Creek itself. Though you can’t see it through the dense vegetation, cool water is gushing out of the hillside here at a constant flow of 60 cubic feet per second.

At the base of the canyon visitors intending to continue on the trail must cross Whychus Creek. This crossing can vary in intensity from “quite exciting” to “rather tame” depending on the season.

Water levels tend to be higher and the flow faster in late spring and early summer; however, both elements tend to mellow out more toward late summer and early fall. As a wild un-dammed creek with headwaters high in the snowy Cascades, water levels can rise without warning, especially during rainy periods.

After crossing the creek, the trail continues downstream to the north following Whychus Creek, weaving up along the hillside and down into some brushy overgrown places, periodically offering some unexpectedly stunning views.

The developed trail ends where the Deschutes River and Whychus Creek meet.


This is a recreation impact monitoring and maintenance project

  • This project will include a variety of activities. You may be asked to do just one or two aspects of the project and ONDA staff will specifically task you according to need.
  • Included in the monitoring and maintenance project:
    • Use the RIMS (Recreation Monitoring Impact System) app on your smart phone to identify and record information on visitor use, trail and signage conditions, invasive weed locations, campsites and fire ring locations and more.
    • Remove identified invasive weeds.
    • Remove, disburse, and camouflage identified campsite impacts and fire rings.
    • Pick up trash.
    • Preform light trail brushing with hand saws and loppers.


This project will involved multiple volunteers during the year. The road to the Alder Springs trail head is closed seasonally, so volunteer work will occur approximately April – June, and September – November.


The road to Alder Springs trail head is behind a gate located on Forest Service Road 6360. The gate is is closed and locked from December 1 through March 31 every year to help protect winter range for the local deer populations. Hiking and biking are welcome beyond the gate during the closure, but please respect this motorized closure.

Click for driving directions from Bend (these google driving directions don’t take you all the way to the parking area, when you reach the end of the path, turn right and continue for 0.8 miles to the parking area)

  • Please adjust your starting destination as needed
  • You may want to print these or send the directions to your phone

Monitoring Activities Must Conform to the Non-Impairment Standard

Monitoring activities need to meet the non-impairment standard. Thus, your use of vehicles or motorized travel for monitoring purposes must follow the same rules that the general public is required to follow. In other words, please do not drive off of any established routes and be sure to follow the guidelines from the land management agency you are working in regarding vehicle access and parking or trailhead locations.

Adjust the timing of your visit to avoid negative impacts to resources. These include:

  • Avoid using primitive routes when they are wet and driving would cause rutting.
  • If you are taking monitoring photos of roads or routes, take the photo of a road BEFORE you drive on it.
  • If driving is difficult (very rocky road, rutted, wet, etc.) and/or will impact the road in a negative way, please walk the road to do your monitoring. When in doubt, walk it out.
  • Avoid driving on 2-track roads during fire season. If a two-track road has tall grasses that would brush the underside of your vehicle, please do not drive, instead walk the road. Tall dry grasses can easily ignite in the dry season. If you are monitoring during fire season you will need to carry a shovel, 5 gallons of water and a fire extinguisher; these items can help you put out a small fire should you encounter one during your monitoring.
  • Please report all instances of fire you encounter while monitoring.

Private Land, Fences & Gates

All of ONDA’s monitoring projects are on public land, however some areas contain inholdings (small parcels of private land surrounded by public land). You may pass very close to private land, and in a few spots an easement allows travel on two-track roads through private property boundaries. If you encounter a “No Trespassing, Keep Out,” sign, please respect the boundary. If you decide to explore on your trip, it is your responsibility to ensure you are on public land. Many apps, like GaiaGPS, offer private land layers you can reference.

Desert Driving and Preparedness

Some access roads you might utilize for a monitoring project are not suitable for regular passenger cars. In addition to a high-clearance, 4WD vehicle, it is recommended that vehicles traveling in Oregon’s high desert have the following:

  • At least one full-size spare tire, with car jack, lug wrench and a 1’x1’ square of plywood (or similar—something to set the jack base on in sandy soils). Practice putting on the spare tire in a nonemergency setting is very important!
  • Extra key in a magnetic hide-a-key box. It’s no fun driving with a broken window because you had to break into your car to get your locked-in key.
  • Extra fuel for the vehicle, extra engine coolant and engine oil.
  • At least one gallon of extra drinking water.
  • Jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, tow-strap and a flashlight.
  • Consider a small DC-powered air compressor.
  • After a significant rain event, desert soils/primitive roads may become too supersaturated to drive on, so please look at the weather forecast before leaving home.
  • Shovel and possibly a fire extinguisher. Check with local Bureau of Land Management offices, Forest Service and National Wildlife Refuge offices for fire danger levels and whether these items are required.


You will need these tools for this project:

  • Smart phone/tablet  – needs to be capable of running the RIMS app (see more below)
    • Optional – External battery pack (suggested for longer monitoring projects when you might need more power)
    • Optional – Satellite beacon (suggested as a safety device should you need assistance – ONDA uses Garmin InReach devices)
  • All volunteers will be asked to pick up trash in the area using trash bags and gloves *
  • Depending on the task you have been assigned, you may be asked to use:
    • Shovel *
    • Loppers *
    • Hand saws *

* ONDA will provide access to these items, or you are welcome to use your own tools and materials. More information on ONDA provided materials on the “ONDA provided tool and materials” tab.

You will need to install this app on your phone/tablet:

  • RIMS – The Colorado Mountain Club’s RIMS (Recreation Impact Monitoring System) program was launched in 2019 to help land managers collect and utilize crowdsourced data to better understand and address critical issues related to recreation and natural resources. The RIMS Mobile App is a data collection tool which includes GPS point data, detailed surveys, photos, editing and sharing features, and offline functionality. New in 2021 ONDA will be using RIMS for our monitoring work across eastern Oregon.
    1. Download the RIMS app onto your device (Apple) (Android)
    2. Watch the 20 minute online training video (below)
    3. Take the RIMS quiz after you watch the video
    4. You will be given access to the full app after you have taken the quiz. Only then will you be able to preform the assessments for this project.

Notes on using RIMS for this ONDA project

  • Make sure to download the map for offline use before you leave home (see video for more information)
  • You do not need to use the “Check In” function as described in the video
  • When asked for the location name, use “Alder Springs Trail”
  • If you are asked to preform maintenance activities, these will likely be to address issues found from a previous volunteer’s assessment. Those activities could include:
    • Invasive weed removal
    • Disburse extraneous fire rings
    • Preform light brushing work on the trail with loppers and/or hand saws.



In the next few tabs on this webpage we will describe all the activities you might be tasked with. Not all information will apply to your specific visit. Please refer to the email ONDA sent you with this project page info for what activities are needed at the time.

All volunteers will be asked to:

  1. Use the RIMS “Visitor Use” assessment while in the Alder Springs area (you will need to watch the training video and take the quiz to be able to use the app for this project.) The app will guide you through the information you will need to collect.
  2. If you see damage to the trail (heavy erosion, fallen trees, vandalism, heavy vegetation growing into the trail) please use the RIMS “Trail Assessment” to collect the information.
  3. Pick up trash. Bring a trash bag and disposable gloves with you to pick up any trash you see while on your visit. If you see trash that is more than you can manage or carry, you can use the RIMS “Camping Assessment” (see the Waste section) to note the trash. ONDA will then notify the land mangers.
    1. In the event you encounter human waste and you have a shovel with you, please find a location 200 steps away from the creek, campsites, or trail, dig a hole, and bury the waste at least 6-8 inches deep.
    2. If you encounter human waste and don’t have a shovel with you, please use the RIMS “Camping Assessment” (see the Waste section) to note the issue.
  4. If anything else looks out of place, or would be of concern, please note it and let us know when you return.
  5. Enjoy the hike!


This is the first year ONDA is using the RIMS app, so your feedback on the system and use will help us educate future volunteers, so please keep a list of questions or comments to relay back to us after your trip.


Some volunteers may be tasked with identifying patches of invasive weeds, others with weed removal. You will probably not be doing both the identifying and removal at the same time.

Identifying Invasive Weeds

The weed we are most concerned about in the Alder Springs is knapweed.

Knapweed rapidly colonizes disturbed areas, but is also capable of invading well‐managed lands. Knapweed tends to dominate sites at the expense of community diversity or forage production. It can occupy over 95 percent of the available plant community. Knapweed infestations can increase soil surface runoff and sedimentation of streams.

Read this document for more information.

  1. Once you have identified a weed or patch of weeds, open the RIMS app and choose the “Trail Assessment” option and scroll to the bottom under “Other” to the “Noxious Plants” option.
  2. A long list of noxious plants appears, each with a photo next to the listing. These photos can also help you identify the proper plant.
    1. The app lists several different kinds of knapweed: diffuse knapweed, hybrid knapweed, meadow knapweed, russian knapweed, spotted knapweed, and squarrose knapweed.
      1. If you can discern the type of knapweed present, please do so, and use your finger to slide the circle to the “on” position in the upper right corner. The app will then ask you for the Area (sq ft), estimate how many feet the weeds cover, for just one or two plants, use “1”
      2. If you can’t tell the difference in the type of weed, pick one (the most common in the area is spotted knapweed)…you will also take a photo in the next step, so ONDA staff can identify at a later time if the type of weed is in question.
    2. Take a photo, and upload it on the previous screen at the bottom where it says “upload images”
    3. Follow any other directions the app provides, and save your observation when you are done at that location.
    4. Record a new “Trail Assessment” for each patch of knapweed you find.
    5. We are primarily interested in knapweed, but if you are an invasive weed expert, please record as many observations as you wish.

Removing Knapweed

Often invasive weeds are ideally removed before seeds are spread.  If you are tasked with removing knapweed, please bring a shovel (or trowel), garbage bags, and work gloves.

If soils are moist, plants can be pulled after they bolt but before they flower, typically from May to June. If you pull knapweed before it flowers, you can discard the weed in the area, but please throw away from campsites or trails. Roots that break off will re‐sprout so consider digging if necessary.

Plants in flower may form viable seeds even after they are pulled, so carefully bag and dispose of all flowering plants later in the season when seeds are forming. In areas where mature plants are pulled, there are usually many small rosettes and seeds left in the soil.

Gloves should be worn when pulling spotted knapweed because plants can cause skin irritation.



We know not everyone may have the tools you may want to use on this project, so we have a tool box located at the ONDA office that you can have access to.

Inside you will find:

  • trash bags
  • disposable gloves
  • disposable masks
  • hand sanitizer
  • work gloves (you may want to buy your own because…COVID! But we will have some available.
  • shovels
  • loppers
  • hand saws

You are welcome to sign out the tools for the duration of your project. Please fill out the sheet provided in the box with the information we ask, there will be a check-out date, and a check-in date. Please return the borrowed tools in a timely manner as many volunteers will have access to this box for different projects through-out the year.

Tool box access

  • Please try and access the tool box at the ONDA office between 8-5pm M-F (door should be unlocked)
  • Box will be located just inside the front door
    • Please note, most ONDA staff are still working from home, and with COVID precautions, please limit your interactions to the front of the office and tool box area.
  • If you arrive during business hours but the door is locked, OR you arrive outside of business hours or on the weekend:
    • A lock box is located XXX. Use the XXX combo to access a key to the front door.
    • Gather the materials you need and sign out the tools.
    • Lock the door and return the key to the box, ensuring both the door and lock box are securely fastened.
  • If you are having trouble access the building, you can contact ONDA’s general manager Bark Brown at XXX.


Once you are finished with your project, please fill out our reporting form; once you do you will be entered to win a monthly raffle prize from some of our business members. Check out the Notes from the Field page for stats on what ONDA volunteers accomplished each month, raffle winners, photos and more. If you take multiple trips to complete a project, please submit a report for each trip you take.

To fill out the form you will need this unique project ID:


We will be tracking this information:

Date: The date started the project; on multi-day projects, please report the first date you were out.
Mileage: What was the total mileage from your home to the project site and back?
Hours: How many total hours did you spend on the project? Please include project prep time (reading this web page!), drive time both ways, post-project data/photo processing, and reporting
Expenditures: How much money did you spend while completing the project? Please include any food, gas, lodging, etc. you spent east of the Cascades.
Project details:
Photo Monitoring: Number of photo points taken

Data upload

Please open  this google drive folder and make a new folder for your data (click the button in the upper left corner that says “+ New” and click the first option “Folder”). Name the folder with your name and start date of your monitoring work, like “Jane Doe June 22”
Upload all of your photos into this folder, and rename your photos to match the photo point name (008, FT044, etc.)
Take a photo of your photo monitoring sheet and upload it to the folder. A volunteer who has offered to help us with data management will be typing up your observations into a spreadsheet. In case of handwriting legibility issues, we may connect you with that volunteer so you can help them read your observations sheet.
If you made tracks or waypoints in GaiaGPS to share with us, please open the app and sync your device (under settings) while on wifi.
To recap, every photo you uploaded should have a corresponding observation noted on the photo monitoring sheet.

Problems with the data upload? Let us know.

Click here to fill out your monitoring report


ONDA’s Independent Steward project opportunities are a great chance to get the whole family out on a desert adventure while volunteering some of your time to help us complete important work.

If you have a family or household member who would like to join on this project, we would love to capture their time and efforts too. Every volunteer hour recorded makes a big difference! Please have them fill out this form. 

If a project participant is under 18, a parent or guardian will need to sign the form

Yes, you are welcome to bring your dog, but please make sure they are also good stewards of the land and don’t chase and stress the wildlife while you are in the desert.


We hope you will use this Independent Stewards opportunity to deepen your connection to the high desert.

Do you Instagram? Tag your photos #independentONDA and they will automatically show up on the Notes from the Field page, or email us one, and we’ll post it.

Consider spending some time doing what you love out there, your favorite activity might feel completely different in the sagebrush sea!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Read about the place you are visiting, here are some suggestions to get you started:
    • Atlas of Oregon by William G. Loy
    • The Oregon Desert by E. R. Jackman
    • Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims by Sarah Winnemucca
    • Thinking like a Canyon by Jerold Ramsey
    • Oregon’s Dry Side by Alan D. St. John
    • Legends of the Northern Paiute: as told by Wilson Wewa
    • Out Here by Ursula Le Guin
    • Oregon’s Great Basin Country by Denzel Ferguson
    • Hole in the Sky by William Kittredge
    • Netting the Sun: A Personal Geography of the Oregon Desert by Melvin R. Adams
    • Child of the Steens by Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker and Barbara J. Scott
    • Walking the High Desert, Encounters with Rural America along the Oregon Desert Trail by Ellen Waterston
  • Paint the landscape
  • Take your telescope and peer at the Milky Way
  • Dance
  • Write a poem or description of your day
  • Go for a run
  • Listen to music while the sun sets
  • Listen for the sounds of the desert
  • Identify as many birds as you can
  • Fly a kite
  • Figure out how to cook your favorite meal on a camp stove
  • Do some yoga
  • Sing
  • Visit some hot springs
  • Photograph the sagebrush sea
  • Count the pronghorn you see
  • Try to make a sagebrush sandal
  • Learn about the Northern Paiute (you will probably be on their traditional homelands)

Hopefully this list gave you some good ideas!

Essentially, take some time while you are on this project to be, just be in place, and marvel at the desert around you.

Should you have an emergency while on your project please call 911.

Harney County:

Harney County Sheriff’s Office – Search and Rescue, Non-emergency phone: 541-573-6156 weekdays only
The nearest medical facility is in Burns: Harney District Hospital, 557 W Washington St, Burns, OR 97720, 541-573-7281

It’s always a good idea to check the weather before you head out; excessive moisture or storms can make some areas in the desert inaccessible.

It is extremely important to avoid approaching other public land users under the pretense of enforcement or engage in any potentially controversial discussions. If you witness any potential illegal activity (e.g., people who are driving off-road in a WSA), avoid approaching the illegal use or engaging in potentially confrontational discussions.  Your personal safety is your highest priority. Only attempt to collect identifying information (e.g., license plates and photos) if you feel it is safe to do so.

Should you have any notable interactions or conversations, please let us know.


While there may be springs or perennial water sources in the area you will be monitoring, we strongly advise you bring all water you will need for the duration of the trip with you due to the unreliable nature of many desert water sources. If you do plan on utilizing water sources on your trip, please filter or treat all water before consuming.


Following these suggestions will help you travel safely through the high desert of eastern Oregon and enjoy fragile places responsibly.

Desert Safety:
  • Drink plenty of water. Eastern Oregon is arid, and you may need to carry more water than you are used to in other environments. Be conservative and carry more than you need until you have a good handle on your body’s needs in this environment. If you are going on a multi-day trip, carry an adequate water purification system and consume plenty of electrolytes (the salts and sugars your body needs to help you absorb the water you are drinking).
  • Seek out shade, or carry it with you. Make use of shade for food and water breaks. And, with little to no shade throughout much the desert, consider carrying a sun umbrella to take your shade along with you.
  • Cover up. Desert sun can be harsh on a hiker’s skin, so consider covering up with lightweight long sleeves and pants for sun protection.
  • Be prepared for temperature swings -Days are hot and nights are cool – even on the hottest days in the desert, the temperatures can drop dramatically when the sun sets. Be prepared for cooler temperatures at night.
  • Be mindful in brushy sections. Use a hiking pole or stick to rustle tall grasses as you hike to help alert any snakes, and other wildlife, to your presence and give both of you a chance to move away from an encounter. Wearing tall gaiters can be useful in cross-country sections with heavy vegetation, or in places with difficult bushwhacks, to protect your ankles from both snakes and thorny brush.
  • Go easy during the hottest part of the year, or time of the day. Be careful that you don’t plan to engage in strenuous activities during the hottest part of the year, or during the heat of the day. Hiking during the spring or fall can provide more comfortable all-around temperatures for hiking, or, if you’re going mid-summer, consider getting up early or hiking late and being more relaxed at midday. Think siesta!
  • Use Verizon cell service. Verizon has the best cell service throughout the high desert. The exception is in the Owyhee region where there is little to no service at all.
  • Consider carrying a personal locator beacon. Technology has advanced to the point that hikers can always seek assistance if needed with the use of personal locator beacons.
  • Watch your steps and avoid damaging sensitive terrain. Many areas in the high desert are best explored off trail. To minimize impacts of travel through fragile high desert soils, if you see other footprints, don’t follow them. Instead choose a similar bearing and walk a short distance away. Desert soils can be easily impacted, and it only takes a few hikers to start establishing tread in the desert. Be particularly careful not to step on black, knobby crusts on the soil or sand. These cryptobiotic soil crusts perform important ecological roles, including carbon fixation and more, and can be damaged easily.
  • Cross fences carefully. Hikers may encounter fences on cross-country hikes in the high desert, and yes, fences are on public lands. Because many of the high desert landscapes are used for grazing and ranching, these fences keep the cattle where they belong. Cross these fences with care. If you encounter gates, leave them as you find them. Please respect the multiple other uses throughout in the desert.
  • Avoid driving on wet roads. Waterlogged desert soils can bog down a vehicle in inches or feet of mud. In remote parts of the Oregon Desert, recent precipitation can make some roads impassable, even on flat terrain. Gravel roads can be a better bet when conditions are wet as the gravel can provide extra traction between your car tires and the slick mud. Remember that help in the form of a tow-truck can be hours to days away, and prohibitively expensive in these remote locations.
  • Don’t start a sagebrush wildfire. All motorists should have required fire prevention equipment in their vehicle to ensure fire prevention and personal safety. With the exception of traveling on state and county roads, you are required to have: an axe, a shovel, and one gallon of water and/or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher. Open fires, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, are permitted only at posted and designated sites, and, smoking in wildland areas is permitted only in enclosed vehicles on roads. Know what is required by the Bureau of Land Management.
Practice “Leave No Trace”

When visiting wild areas, it is imperative that you “take only photographs, leave only footprints” and follow the “Leave No Trace” principles:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare – Know the rules of the area you’re visiting. Research current conditions and weather in the area and always travel prepared for emergencies or inclement weather.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – Minimize your impact by sticking to established trails and campsites or durable surfaces such as rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Avoid walking off trail through sensitive riparian areas or on steep slopes. Make your camp at least 200 feet from creeks, lakes and rivers, and leave your site as you found it.
  • Respect Wildlife – Observe wildlife from a distance to allow them peace in their natural environment. Do not follow or approach them and never feed wild animals.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly – Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Always pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • Leave What You Find – Leave rocks, plants, animals and historical artifacts as you find them. Examine, but do not touch, cultural or historical artifacts such as structures and rock art.
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts – Know the current regulations on campfires for the area and follow the rules. When fires are allowed keep them small and in control at all times. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors – Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience by being courteous and yielding to other visitors on the trail. Let nature’s sounds prevail by avoiding loud voices and noises. Avoid cliffs and steep areas and be conscious of hikers below you on the trail who may be hurt by any debris that you knock loose.

© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics:

The 10 Essentials

Carrying the Ten Essentials will help you respond positively to an accident or emergency, and safely spend a night—or more—out, if needed.

Once known as the Ten Essentials list (developed by The Mountaineers in the 1930s), the list has evolved over time from a list of individual items to a list of functional systems.

  1. Navigation: Always carry a detailed topographic map of the area you are visiting, and place it in a protective case or plastic covering. Always carry a compass. Other navigational tools include an altimeter or global positioning system (GPS) receiver; other aids include route markers, route descriptions, and other types of maps or photos.
  2. Sun Protection: Carry and use sunglasses, sunscreen for the lips and skin, and clothing for sun protection.
  3. Insulation (Extra Clothing): How much extra clothing is necessary for an emergency? The term “extra clothing” refers to garments beyond what you are wearing for the active portion of your outing, the additional layers that would be needed to survive long, inactive hours of an unplanned bivouac.
  4. Illumination: Even if you plan to return to their cars before dark, it is essential to carry a headlamp or flashlight, just in case. Batteries and bulbs do not last forever, so carry spares of both at all times.
  5. First-Aid Supplies: Carry and know how to use a first-aid kit, but do not let a first-aid kit give you a false sense of security. The best course of action is to always take the steps necessary to avoid injury or sickness in the first place. At a minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads in various sizes, roller gauze, small adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, triangular bandages, battle dressing (or Carlisle bandage), adhesive tape, scissors, cleansers or soap, latex gloves, and paper and pencil.
  6. Fire: Carry the means to start and sustain an emergency fire—a butane lighter or matches in a waterproof container. Firestarters, such as candles, chemical heat tabs, and canned heat, are indispensable for igniting wet wood quickly to make an emergency campfire.
  7. Repair Kit and Tools: Knives are so useful in first aid, food preparation, repairs, and climbing that every party member needs to carry one. Other tools (pliers, screwdriver, awl, scissors) can be part of a knife or a pocket tool, or carried separately—perhaps even as part of a group kit. Other useful repair items are shoelaces, safety pins, needle and thread, wire, duct tape, nylon fabric repair tape, cable ties, plastic buckles, cordage, webbing, and repair parts for equipment used on your trip.
  8. Nutrition (Extra Food): For shorter trips, a one-day supply of extra food is a reasonable emergency stockpile in case foul weather, faulty navigation, injury, or other reasons delay the planned return. An expedition or long trek may require more. The food should require no cooking, be easily digestible, and store well for long periods.
  9. Hydration (Extra Water): Carry extra water and have the skills and tools required for obtaining and purifying additional water. Always carry at least one water bottle or collapsible water sack. Daily water consumption varies greatly. Two quarts (liters) daily is a reasonable minimum; in hot weather or at high altitudes, 6 quarts may not be enough. In dry environments, carry additional water. Plan for enough water to accommodate additional requirements due to heat, cold, altitude, exertion, or emergency.
  10. Emergency Shelter: If the party is not carrying a tent, carry some sort of extra shelter from rain and wind, such as a plastic tube tent or a jumbo plastic trash bag. Another possibility is a reflective emergency blanket. It can be used in administering first aid to an injured or hypothermic person, or can double as a means of shelter.

Adapted from Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, published by Mountaineers Books.


As part of our Independent Stewards application, all volunteers agreed to the following regarding stewardship in the time of the COVID pandemic:

Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) is monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic including information and recommendations from the Oregon Health Authority and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health and safety of our volunteers and staff is our top priority and ONDA is working diligently to ensure that we have the proper controls and protocols in place. This Statement of Understanding and Assumption of Risk supplements but does not replace any of ONDA’s waivers, releases or other agreements signed by ONDA volunteers.

I understand there are risks of contracting Covid-19 which can be reduced but not eliminated and that mitigation efforts require the understanding and cooperation of everyone participating in an adventure activity as defined in the Release. I have chosen to voluntarily participate in the activity and I both assume the risk of contracting Covid-19 and agree to take measures intended to keep me and others around me safe and healthy.

While traveling to an ONDA activity, I agree to:

  • Only travel with members of my household
  • Take enough supplies to be self-sufficient while traveling to and from the activity and minimize stops in communities to fuel and rest areas
  • Keep a face mask with me and follow all state requirements for wearing when within six feet of any person outside my household and in all indoor spaces
  • Carry hand sanitizer to use before and after interactions
  • Look up local guidelines and phases of reopening in locations you will be traveling. Before visiting please look up or call land managers to know what to expect, some facilities and businesses may not be open
  • While participating in the activity, I agree to:
  • Use hand washing and equipment sanitizing routines
  • Use respiratory etiquette including stepping away from others and coughing and sneezing into my elbow or shoulder
  • Not touch my face with unwashed hands
  • Not share personal items like water bottles, lip balm and eating utensils
  • Maintain a social distances of at least 6 feet from others whenever possible
  • Wear a mask anytime I am requested to do so and at all times when I must be within 6 feet from another person

I understand there are a number of symptoms of Covid-19, some of which are: fever over 100.5*F, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of sense of smell and taste, and gastrointestinal infections similar to norovirus which may cause vomiting and diarrhea. If I have any of these symptoms, I will not travel to and participate in an ONDA stewardship project.


The next step is to go!

Please refer to the Project Details tab about when this assignment can be completed. Then, make some time on your calendar in that time frame to head out to the desert. Fill out the project report in a timely manner when you return from your trip, and don’t forget, you will be entered to win some goodies when it has been submitted. Plan to submit a report for each trip you take; some projects can be completed over several visits.

Whew! You made it through. That was a lot of information!

Protected: Alder Springs Project

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