Summit Creek Planting

Sage Brown   Website




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.



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.”


Tim Neville, journalist

Tim Neville, journalist

“Oregon’s Owyhee reminds me a lot of Southern Utah’s red rock country… only dipped in fudge.”

Organizer: Sarah Lindsay

Start Date: May 16, 2024

End Date: May 19, 2024

Region: Malheur River Basin

Difficulty Rating: Level 3: Challenging

Maximum Group Size: 15 participants

About the place

This project takes place on the homelands of the Burns Paiute Tribe and within the boundaries of the Tribe’s original reservation. A Northern Paiute tribe, the Burns Paiute Tribe has a rich history of living in relation with the Malheur River. This region remains an important fishing, hunting, and gathering area for the tribe. After being forced to leave their lands following the Bannock War, members of the Burns Paiute tribe returned and reestablished their community in the Harney Valley. The area is also part of the traditionally used lands for the Cayuse, who seasonally came to the area for fishing, hunting and gathering.

Summit Creek is a tributary of the Malheur River that provides critical habitat for bull trout, redband trout, and other native fish and wildlife species. The Prairie City Ranger District of the Malheur National Forest has implemented a large scale restoration project along the creek. This planting will contribute to the overall restoration of the area by enhancing native vegetation along the creek to provide shade and cool water for native fish, improving ground water storage capacity and increasing wildlife habitat. ONDA volunteers will be planting willow, dogwood, and other native plant species.

Since 2014, ONDA has helped the forest to implement a variety of ambitious, multi-year projects restoring key fish habitat on headwater streams, including past work along Summit Creek.

About the stewardship work

Volunteers will work with ONDA and Malheur National Forest staff to conduct two days of riparian planting along Summit Creek, planting a variety of riparian species. The planting work will involve pounding metal spike into the soil to create a hole, then sticking willow cuttings, or stakes, into the hole. These stakes will then sprout roots and grow into a lush riparian forest that will shade the stream, resulting in cooler and cleaner water for fish and wildlife as the plants mature.

We typically head to the work site at 8 a.m. and stop work by 4 p.m. in order to leave time in the afternoon to clean-up, relax, and cook a well-deserved dinner. No previous planting experience is needed to attend this trip. ONDA and Forest Service staff will provide all instruction and necessary tools to do the job. All that is required is a love of the high desert, a big smile and a willingness to learn.

Trip timeline

  • Thursday, May 16, 5-7 p.m.: Volunteers should plan to arrive in the evening with enough time to set up, meet others at camp, and spend some time talking about the weekend ahead.
  • Friday, May 17: Our first of two work days. We will meet with Forest Service staff and carpool to the work site. After a brief safety talk and a discussion of the restoration efforts, we will begin planting. Plan to be away from camp from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 18: Our second day of work planting along Summit Creek. Plan to be away from camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 19, 8 a.m.:  After a good night’s rest, volunteers can pack up and head home or take their time exploring the area before hitting the road.


We will be car camping at Big Creek Campground which has potable water and vault toilets and is a short drive from the work site. ONDA will bring extra group camping supplies such as tables, chairs, and extra water. Further details describing camp and driving directions will be provided to participants in the trip details email three weeks before the trip.


Level 3

Participants will be bending down, carrying boxes of plants, digging holes and navigating uneven terrain. Everyone can find a task that works best for them and work at a comfortable pace with frequent breaks.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food, water and, camping gear as well as transportation to and from the trip. The trip leader will facilitate carpooling amongst participants. Sturdy ankle-high boots are required for this trip. Volunteers should be prepared to be away from camp all day each of the work days. A more complete packing list will be sent to participants by the trip leader three weeks before the trip.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide tools for the work, work gloves, and eye protection. We will bring some group camping equipment (tables and chairs), extra snacks and drinks, and expert leadership.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.


Join Waitlist


What happens next?

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 weeks of submitting your form. The confirmation email will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “waitlist.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, car-pooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.