What Wild & Scenic
Looks Like

Sean Bagshaw   Website

listen

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

voices

Cregg Large, member since 2009

Cregg Large, member since 2009

“I came to Oregon 12 years ago from Texas. Texas, for all its size, has very little public land. Coming to Oregon has made me realize the special gift we as Americans have in our public lands. Volunteering with an organization like ONDA is my way of reciprocating for this gift. Through restoration efforts, I feel we are helping leave a better place than we found it. Through advocating for protection for public lands, we safeguard migration routes for animals and keep the land where it belongs: with the public.”

fact

Young Horny Toad Lizard

Young Horny Toad Lizard

In the summer these lizards begin foraging for food as soon as their body temperature rises as the heat of the day increases. They feed on slow-moving, ground-dwelling insects. In the fall they hibernate by burying themselves in the sand.

Latin name: Phrysonoma platyrhinos

Desert Lakes

Quintessential of the Basin and Range landscape, Lake Abert and other desert lakes provide vital habitat for an astounding diversity and abundance of wildlife, including tens of thousands of migratory birds. Lake Abert and its sources, like the Chewaucan River and Poison Creek, which pours off the dramatic Abert Rim, are threatened by climate change and upstream water diversions for agriculture.

Jim Davis

Mountain Streams

High up on desert peaks like Steens Mountain, streams like Cottonwood Creek arise as a trickle that can transform with spring snowmelt into a raging torrent. As ONDA member Julie Weikel fantastically described, “for brief weeks or even just days each spring, the jubilant celebrating streams move boulders, rip out tree roots, and raise a little canyon hell.” These small but mighty creeks sustain populations of rare Lahontan cutthroat trout and wildflower-filled meadows that provide critical habitat for sage-grouse and other desert species.

Mark Darnell   Website

Canyon-carving Creeks

Boasting stunning scenery and exposing millenia of stunning geology and rocky spires, powerful waterways, like Succor Creek, are a refuge for sensitive wildlife such as California bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and redband trout. Many desert canyons are also sacred and traditional sites for the Northern Paiute people and other indigenous communities who continue to live and gather food and medicine in Oregon’s high desert.

Sean Bagshaw   Website

Salmon-bearing Rivers

Salmon and steelhead journey hundreds of miles deep into northeastern Oregon to spawn in the North Fork John Day and its tributaries. Stretching nearly 40 miles through spectacular scenery, the last unprotected stretch of the North Fork John Day also provides wild water and rare solitude for boaters willing to make the trek to enjoy its remote canyonlands.

Greg Burke   Website

Oases in the Sagebrush Sea

From nesting songbirds to sensitive native trout, desert creeks are vital to life in an otherwise arid landscape. Rock Creek, on the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, is one example of these ribbons of green bursting with life.

Jim Oleachea

What Wild & Scenic
Looks Like

Did you know that, in addition to rivers, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act can also protect creeks, streams and lakes?  Wild and Scenic desert waters take many forms and every drop of desert water plays an important role in the desert ecosystem. From mighty salmon-bearing rivers, like the North Fork John Day, to...

Read More

Hole in the Ground

Hike to Hole in the Ground, one of author William L. Sullivan’s favorite high desert destinations! This weird, half-mile-wide pit really looks like a meteorite crater, but it is in fact a volcanic maar, a crater left when a bubble of magma rose to the surface, hit ground water, and exploded. Explore the crater on an...

Read More

Protect Desert Rivers

Senator Ron Wyden is looking to add more Wild & Scenic Rivers to Oregon’s legacy of protected waterways and you have the chance to conserve 825 miles of desert rivers with your gift today.  Stand up for Whychus Creek, the Chewaucan River, and the North Fork John Day River. Stand up for free-flowing streams,...

Read More

Summertime Strategies

Wow, it’s hot out there in the high desert! At least much of the time … not so much at night … and not every day either. (I can clearly recall July 4, 2010, when, camped out on the West Little Owyhee River, we got 4” of snow overnight and all our water was...

Read More

Signs of Summer

Across Oregon’s high desert, plants and animals spend the summer months “searching” — for shade, for water, for food, for safety from predators. Below, you’ll find a snapshot of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena you might see taking place across Oregon’s high desert in June, July and August. We invite you to share your...

Read More

How Much Wilderness Do We Need?

In a recent editorial, The Bulletin asked a good question: “how much land does Oregon have that is appropriate for wilderness?” The answer is a lot. A heckuva lot. In Oregon’s high desert alone, federal surveys and volunteer-driven inventories have identified eight million acres of public lands and hundreds of miles of rivers and...

Read More

How to Identify Native Plants

By Scott Bowler Hey, what’s that cool flower? After leading wildflower discovery and identification trips for 40-plus years, I can tell you that people’s most common reaction upon encountering a new flower is: “Oh, cool! What’s that?” They want a name. In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the key steps to figuring...

Read More

“My favorite spot on earth …”

When Sen. Ron Wyden invited Oregonians to nominate rivers and creeks for protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act last fall, hundreds of people spoke up to nominate Lower Whychus Creek in Central Oregon. The name Whychus means “place where we cross the water” in Sahaptin, the language of the Columbia River tribes....

Read More

How to Protect Desert Rivers

This is part of our High Desert Academy digital event series. Right now, we have a remarkable opportunity to secure Wild and Scenic River status for our beloved desert rivers – if we all speak up! You’ll learn how to write an effective letter to the editor, use your social media to rally your river-loving friends,...

Read More

Canceled: South Fork Crooked Riparian Planting

A great weekend planting several thousand trees along the South Fork Crooked River.

Read More