How-to: Playa Like a Pro

Devin Dahlgren

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Nate Wilson-Traisman, member since 2019

Nate Wilson-Traisman, member since 2019

“My greatest hope is that Oregon’s desert continues to gain public lands protections, and is guarded from unsustainable development, so that future generations may benefit from all the region has to offer.

I felt inspired by trips to Oregon’s high desert, and was actively searching for ways to contribute to the protection of these wild places. ONDA stood out as a leader in this respect, and when I’ve had money to contribute, ONDA has been a clear choice.”

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Jeremy Fox on Steens Landscape

Jeremy Fox on Steens Landscape

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Carl Axelsen, member since 1999

Carl Axelsen, member since 1999

You folks at ONDA really have your stuff together. Such a well-planned opportunity to comment, since figuring out how to connect with the gummint is off-putting. You make it work for me.

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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