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High Desert Heroes 

Celebrate a combined 75 years of Central Oregon conservation

Big Indian Gorge, Steens Mountain. Photo by Michelle Alvarado.

Big Indian Gorge, Steens Mountain. Photo by Michelle Alvarado.

Central Oregon would hardly be the place it is today were it not for the blood, sweat, and acumen of so many engaged residents willing to pull together. This year, the holy trinity of Central Oregon conservation groups are celebrating some pretty big anniversaries with events highlighting their many successes.

Central Oregon Land Watch

Central Oregon Land Watch was spawned in 1985 when plans to pipe Whychus Creek for hydropower were introduced. Then, the Sisters' Forest Planning Committee successfully defended the Whychus from piping and the surrounding forest from clearcut. In 30 years time, COLW has been the organization willing to take to the courts in defense of our natural resources. This summer, COLW celebrated with a series of events, like this one.

Deschutes Land Trust

Local lore has it that Deschutes Land Trust was born out of the post-work, beer-fueled debates of a handful of conservation nerds back in 1995. They've been building partnerships and legacies ever since. In 20 years, the group has worked with landowners to conserve nearly 9,000 acres of prime fish and wildlife habitat in Central Oregon, and their name has become synonymous with the restoration of Whychus Creek. To celebrate, the organization is throwing a party back where it all began, in the backyard of the Deschutes Brewery Public House, and we're all invited. Friday, Oct. 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Oregon Natural Desert Association

Oregon Natural Desert Association has been around for over 25 years, working to protect the High Desert. Among their greatest successes was seeing Steens Mountain become a protected Wilderness Area. This Friday, Oct. 2, they celebrate with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Tower Theatre here in Bend, and in Portland with a party at the beautiful, LEED certified, Ecotrust Building. Find details on their website at


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