For the past couple of years, the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) has been working to bring together landowners in the John Day River Basin and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a partnership that will result in both increased protection and better public access for some wonderful territory in north central Oregon. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley just introduced the Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven Wilderness Act of 2010 in Congress, which, if passed, will give these areas federal Wilderness status.
The John Day River is one of Oregon’s major waterways and flows for 280 miles from the Strawberry Mountains in eastern Oregon, crosses much of the central part of the state and then turns north to empty into the Columbia River east of The Dalles. Undammed for its entire length, the John Day is the third longest free-flowing river in the contiguous United States, and is designated both a National Wild & Scenic River and an Oregon Scenic Waterway.
I’ve had the pleasure of rafting the John Day River through some of this proposed wilderness area and can attest that it is truly some outstanding country. Great wildlife and wildflower habitat and lots of recreation opportunities for hiking, fishing, hunting, birdwatching and photography. It’s also a wonderful place to go if you just want a few days of peaceful relaxation.
Please take a minute to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for their efforts, and to encourage Representative Greg Walden to support this legislation. And thank the folks at ONDA for all the great stuff they do, too. (If the links aren’t evident, click HERE).