Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Steens Mountain: Oregon’s first desert wilderness On October 30, 2000, Congress passed the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act, finishing the work that had taken ONDA and the other members of the Steens-Alvord Coalition decades.   Steens Mountain is a land of startling contrasts: dramatic u-shaped glacial valleys, groves of quaking aspen, uplands...

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Big Indian Gorge

The Big Indian Gorge Trail is 8 miles to the headwall of the gorge and passes through meadows as well as cottonwood and aspen groves. It’s easy to follow for the first 7 miles and then it fades away and becomes a cross-country hike. There are three stream crossings along the way, which can...

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Pike Creek

An old mining track leads 1.4 miles up the canyon through a rugged rock narrows with wildflowers and views of the desert playa below. Two creek crossings can be difficult to pass in early spring and after summer thunderstorms. Along this trail, you’ll find an old cabin and an old mine on the way...

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Visitor’s Guide
to Steens Mountain Region

It may look like a small mountain range, but Steens is actually just one massive mountain. When you visit the largest fault block mountain in North America, expect extremes. Snow falls earlier and lingers longer than you might expect in the high country here, so be sure to check road reports before heading out....

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Little Blitzen Gorge

The Little Blitzen Gorge Trail follows the Little Blitzen River up a long, glacially carved canyon. Expect wildflowers, springs, aspen, and waterfalls. From the trailhead parking lot, walk 100 yards to the start of the trail on the left. This path descends a mile to a bridgeless creek crossing that can typically be accomplished...

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Sage Society: Sustaining Desert Conservation

Retired science teacher Scott Bowler is a proud member of ONDA’s Sage Society, the community of advocates and donors who live their values by sustaining critical conservation efforts year-round with monthly contributions. We recently spoke with Scott about his decades-long commitment to sustaining Oregon conservation efforts through volunteering, advocacy, and the Sage Society. ONDA: Tell...

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Steens Mountain Region

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How to Talk to Your Friends about Public Lands

For most outdoor recreationists, talking about being out in nature comes, well, naturally. We share photos from our trips. We rave about the views we enjoyed and the wildlife we encountered. We invite our friends to join us on our next adventure. But, when it comes to talking about the policies that govern the public...

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Giving Wild Animals Freedom to Roam

Volunteers remove obsolete fence from more than 90,000 acres in the Steens Mountain Wilderness The 97,229 acre cow-free portion of the Steens Mountain Wilderness Area in southeastern Oregon is now completely free of obsolete barbed wire fence, thanks to the work of Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) volunteers who removed the last two miles...

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Kirk Richardson: Alice Elshoff Award winner

For more than a decade, Kirk Richardson has been a strong voice for protecting Oregon’s high desert. He’s served on the Oregon Natural Desert Association Board of Directors, helped dream up the Live Monumental effort to protect areas like the Owyhee through his position at KEEN Footwear, and now is the recipient of the...

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