How-to: Playa Like a Pro

Devin Dahlgren

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Craig Terry, ONDA member and stewardship volunteer

Craig Terry, ONDA member and stewardship volunteer

“The people I have had the privilege to share time with each season keep me volunteering again and again. Who else but those ONDA staff leaders would make fresh coffee at dawn each morning or pack a watermelon all day to serve as a reward under a juniper in a steep canyon?” Craig, who grew up in northwestern Nevada, says ONDA connects him with places he loves and a mission he believes in. “My grandfather and his father put up wire fences for their ranching needs. Taking out barbed wire sort of completes a circle for me.”

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Wind and Birds in Quaking Aspen

Wind and Birds in Quaking Aspen

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Aaron Tani, Sage Society Member

Aaron Tani, Sage Society Member

“It feels good to support ONDA on a monthly basis, because I know they never stop supporting our public lands. ONDA works to help make our lands a better place for the future, and I feel like I’m a part of that every month with my support.”

Five tips for recreating responsibly on the Alvord Desert playa:

  1. Only drive on the desert playa, not through the dunes, and only drive on the playa when it’s dry. When water is present, the playa turns into a thick slippery mud which can swallow even the biggest tires and the surrounding sand dunes are the nesting grounds for many different bird species. Please also keep this in mind if you camp in the dunes.
  2. Remove rocks, debris, and wood you find on the playa. These pose a safety hazard to vehicles, airplanes, and land sailors.
  3. Use the vault toilet at the Frog Springs entrance, or use a WAG bag to contain your human waste until you can throw it away in the dumpster. Do not leave any human waste on the playa. (The normal strategy of digging a “cat hole” to bury your business doesn’t work on the Alvord because it is a lake bed.)
  4. Minimize the packaging you bring with you, pack out all of your trash, and pick up any trash you find. There is a large dumpster located at the Frog Springs public access where you can deposit trash that can’t be carried home easily.
  5. When establishing camp, secure your tents/awnings/camp furniture well to keep them from blowing away, as the area experiences strong winds.

How-to: Playa Like a Pro

Author: Renee Patrick  | Published: August 12, 2021  |  Category: How-to The Alvord Desert Wilderness Study Area is an iconic attraction in Oregon’s high desert. The 50-mile long Steens Mountain […]

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