The Halfway Point

A personal connection to public lands

Dennis Hanson

fact

Bitteroot

Bitteroot

Bitteroot blooms on north-facing cliffs in western North America.

The Paiute name for bitteroot is kangedya. Traditional Native American uses of the plant included eating the roots, mixed with berries and meat, and using the roots to treat sore throats.

 

watch

Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

voices

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.”

Connecting to Public Lands

For Zavi Borja, outdoor places become special through the way they remind him of people he cares for.

Zavi Borja

This year, due to COVID, I have only been able to visit my Abuelito y Abuelita once. It makes me a bit sad to not have seen the Painted Hills much this year, but, even more so, that I have seen so little of my grandparents. I am super thankful to still have them alive, but I know that will not always be the case. As long as I have a reason to go to Kimberly, I will continue my tradition of stopping at the Painted Hills.

For me, the outdoors and places in general are special because they remind me of something or someone. The Painted Hills remind me of my grandparents. My sense of connection to these places is built on my sense of connection to people I love. 

As I mentioned earlier, traveling to places like the Painted Hills was just something we never did, but once I made the stop, it was easy for me to care deeply about this and other spaces. I mention this only as a way to hopefully inspire people to think differently and creatively as we try to expose more people to the outdoors, especially folks in marginalized communities.

When we engage with communities at a human level and listen, we can connect their experiences with public lands to the need to conserve these places in a relatable way. As we foster that connection, we then have all people who care about the outdoors continually advocating on behalf of places, such as the Painted Hills, in a positive way.

The Halfway Point

By Zavier Borja, Latino Outdoor Engagement Coordinator for Children’s Forest of Central Oregon The Painted Hills of eastern Oregon are one of the seven wonders that we have here in Oregon.  Beyond the fact that it is a breathtaking geological structure out in what feels like the middle of nowhere,  I also hold this...

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What Wild & Scenic
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Member Q&A with Ryan Houston

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Sutton Mountain Dazzles,
Inspires in Equal Measure

By Matt Wastradowski The Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument sees roughly 200,000 visitors per year, almost all of them dazzled by the brightly colored hillsides, arid landscapes, and explosive ecological history of the John Day River Basin. But just east of the Painted Hills sits Sutton Mountain, rising...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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Species Spotlight – Pronghorn

A long list of charismatic animals inhabits Oregon’s high desert. Species such as the Greater Sage-grouse, bighorn sheep, cougars, burrowing owls and even the occasional black bear or wandering moose (okay, just one moose), can all be found exploring the characteristic rimrock, sagebrush, and open spaces of the state’s eastern half. In fact, many...

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Key Concepts in Riparian Restoration

Whether you’re learning about restoring streams and rivers for the first time, or you’re a life-long beaver believer, this list of resources will provide additional information on both how and why ONDA focuses on restoring beaver habitat in our riparian restoration programs.   Background and introductory resources: Historical background on the extirpation of beaver...

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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...

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