Time to Protect Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands

Southeast Oregon is home to the most remote expanse of the Great Basin desert found in the continental United States: the Owyhee Canyonlands. Over 2 million acres of wilderness-quality land in the Owyhee remain without permanent protection– an idea noted by the Department of the Interior when it recently listed the Owyhee as one of fourteen possible landscapes eligible for National Monument designation.

Our future generations need the opportunity to enjoy this place in the same way we do today.

A call to protect Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands as part of ‘America’s Great Outdoors’ – click here to join the conversation and cast your vote.

The Oregon Owyhee features red-rock canyons, spiraling volcanic columns, and sagebrush plateaus that offer scenic beauty for visitors and provide homes to a variety of native plants and wildlife.  The largest herd of California bighorn sheep can be found in the Owyhee, along with Rocky Mountain Elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse and pygmy rabbits.  Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy thrilling whitewater rafting trips in the Owyhee Wild and Scenic River, while bird watchers can scan the skies for soaring golden eagles, prairie falcons and red-tailed hawks in the Canyonlands.  Hikers revel in the magnificent solitude, exploring canyons and creeks for days without running into another person. Fisherman cast flies in search of world-class brown trout, small mouth bass and redband trout.

The Canyonlands also host an array of vivid wildflowers including Indian paintbrush, lupine, and arrowleaf balsamroot and at least 28 endemic plant species like Owyhee clover and Packard’s blazing star.

Join the conversation about America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) by promoting and supporting protection of Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands on the government’s AGO website. The AGO conversation was started by President Obama this spring to help gather input and ideas from the public about management and the future of our treasured public lands. This effort has had two entirely different forums for comment, one being scattered listening sessions around the country, and the other being a web/blog where people can post ideas and comment on the ideas of others.

On the AGO website, we have posted a brief blog advocating for protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands as a National Monument, and you can support this idea by going to the AGO website and doing one of two things: You can easily just click the promote button to in essence vote that you think this is a good idea, but you can also write your own personal comments in response, share experiences, expand on the notion etc. Obviously written comments will be more powerful and personal. Be aware that you will need to formally “sign up” to participate which entails developing a login (name and password) and providing an email address. When you get to the blog post and choose to “promote” the idea, you will be prompted to the registration page. It will take less than a minute to register and then you can “vote” and hopefully comment as well. There are hundreds of topics and comments posted and it is a fascinating forum to explore and see who is participating and what their opinions are on a wide range of ideas.

For instance, another Oregon National Monument proposal supported by the Sierra Club is also up for comment. Click here to help protect the Siskiyou Crest along the Oregon/California border as a National Monument.

All comments and promotes/demotes will eventually be reviewed by the Obama administration to help guide them in upcoming decisions on management of our public lands. If you do not speak up your voice will not be heard, and that would be a shame.

7 Responses to Time to Protect Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands

  1. Jean Toles says:

    8/4/10

    Almost every day you hear that thousands of animals are becoming extinct because of human activity. All wetlands, mountain parks, such as Yellowstone and the animals therein, all over out country should be protected forever including ANWAR in Alaska where there is some oil. There is a lot of oil outside of this park

    The idea of the radical right-wing Republicans want to impose their corporate, “no holds barred” ideology to anywhere and everywhere to do what they want and to impose this ideology, driven by greed to a large extent on any American who disagrees with them.

  2. Jean Toles says:

    See comment above

  3. Brian says:

    This canyon is really amazing. I’ve been fortunate to have been there twice. It is as remote a place as I’ve ever been. The only obvious threat seems to be cattle ranching. It would be nice to limit cattle from the river banks and be able to restore/protect this fragile zone.

  4. Lioba Multer says:

    Protect it.

  5. Pat and Ken Simila says:

    This incredible beautiful and unspoiled area must be protected.

  6. Practically nothing better than a fishing joke. My friend just shared this joke with me: How much fishing tackle can a man accumulate before his wife throws him out? I don’t know the answer but I think I’m nearly there.

  7. Sol Pevey says:

    Absolutely nothing better than a fishing joke. My brother just shared this joke with me:Mother to daughter advice: Cook a man a fish and you feed him for a day. But teach a man to fish and you get rid of him for the whole weekend.

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