High Desert Successes
Omnibus Lands Bill Passes Congress
Spring Basin along the John Day River
The Spring Basin Wilderness Area lies along the John Day River a few miles west of the town of Fossil. It is adjacent to a unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and also to the Pine Creek Conservation Area managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs.
"The pastoral mountains front you, face to face,
But courage! For around that boisterous brook
The mountains have opened out themselves,
And made a hidden valley of their own.
No habitation can be seen; but they
Who journey thither find themselves alone
With a few sheep, with rocks and stones and kites
That overhead are sailing in the sky.
It is in truth an utter solitude..."
The area is significant for its geologic features, but also provides habitat for the typical variety of high desert wildlife. Spring Basin, at over 6000 acres is one of the few large tracts of public wildlands in the region and with proposed land exchanges, the wilderness area now exceeds 8000 acres.
You can view a map of the Spring Basin Wilderness prepared by ONDA (Oregon Natural Desert Association).
Soda Mountain in Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
With the creation of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, 53,000 acres of this incredibly diverse bioregion received important protection, however, none of its backcountry was designated wilderness. With the Omnibus Lands Bill, grazing permits were retired and much of the area is now protected as wilderness.
You can view a map of the Soda Mountain Wilderness prepared by the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council.
Badlands just east of Bend
The Badlands Wilderness Area just east of Bend is a geologic wonderland showcasing volcanic outcrops formed when ancient lava flows created enormse bubble like fractures. This area is now protected from ORV users.
You can view a map of the Badlands and info brochure produced by the BLM.
Write your Congressmen and thank them
We would encourage you to contact Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Greg Walden to thank them for their long standing efforts to designate these areas as protected wilderness. Although new to the national scene, Senator Jeff Merkley also voted for passage of the bill and his support for future wilderness legislation will be critical.
Senator Ron Wyden
230 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
(503) 236-7525 (OR) or (202) 224-5244
Senator Jeff Merkley
40B DirksenSenate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
(503) 236-3386 (pdx) or (202) 228-3997
Representative Greg Walden
1210 Longworth House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
(800) 533-3303 (OR) or (202) 225-6730