Celebrating more than 85,000 supporters

More than 85,000 people from Oregon and beyond have voiced support for permanently protecting Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands and our precious public lands. Looking back on a year of incredible statewide and national momentum toward protecting this desert gem, it’s also a time to reflect on the dedication and breadth of these amazing supporters.

This incredibly diverse array of people hasn’t plastered the I-5 corridor or rural towns with expensive billboards or ads. Rather, they have attended public meetings, town halls and events across the state to voice their support for protecting this place, including in Malheur County, Salem, Bend, Ashland, Bandon, Portland and Eugene. They’ve written letters to their local papers and their elected leaders. And they’ve shared their love for these public lands with their friends and families so that they too come to know, treasure and speak up for this irreplaceable part of Oregon. They deserve to be celebrated!

Here are the thoughts of just a few of these dedicated supporters. Moving forward, it will take all of us, working together, remaining diligent and continuing to show up that will get the Owyhee the protection it deserves.

“I’ve lived in the Owyhee country my whole life. I have five children, and I want to make sure they can experience this place as I have and the rest of my family has for generations.”
– Tim Davis, member of Friends of the Owyhee & Malheur County native

“Having spent the better part of six decades living and working side by side with generations of ranching families in Malheur and Harney counties, I know many who deeply value the amazing places represented by the Owyhee Canyonlands. I’ve explored this place from top to bottom on foot, by horseback and in a four-wheel drive rig. These lands do not now have adequate protections in the face of modern pressures such as mining, oil and gas development, privatization and climate change. The world is a rapidly changing place and the Owyhee needs the recognition and protection it deserves.”
– Julie Weikel, big animal veterinarian & eastern Oregonian

“As a farmer, I know I must be a good steward of my land to remain sustainable for the future. Similarly, I see the value and wisdom in protecting the unspoiled landscape, wild rivers and ample recreational opportunities found in the Owyhee Canyonlands.”
– Mike Higgins, farmer & eastern Oregonian

“Base Camp Brewing Company’s Location Series shines a light on our favorite places in Oregon and the groups and individual who are doing hard, good, important work to ensure these places are here for future generations to enjoy. The series has become a critical piece of how we give back to our state and our community. It was a no-brainer to focus on the Owyhee. What we do actually does matter. The voice we have as individuals and businesses, they do mean something.”
– Joseph Dallas & Ross Putnam, outdoor enthusiasts & co-founders of Base Camp Brewing Company

“My business depends on clean, big waters, like the ones that flow through the Owyhee. I have led rafting trips all of the world and nothing compares to the Owyhee.  People come to southeast Oregon and spend their money in stores, hotels, restaurants, and outdoor recreation businesses. By safeguarding the Owyhee, we are investing in our children’s futures.”
– Zach Collier, owner of Northwest Rafting Company

“Backcountry experiences like those found in the Owyhee Canyonlands are becoming harder to come by. Home to a renowned blue-ribbon fishery, the Owyhee Canyonlands is a sportsmen’s paradise. Protecting our access and way of life are essential parts of the Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation proposal.”
– Bob Rees, sportsman and executive director of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders

“As veterans, we fight to protect what makes America great, and for me, it is places like the Owyhee Canyonlands. It is places like this where we go to fish, hike, paddle and explore Oregon’s big backyard.  I want the Owyhee Canyonlands protected to ensure there is a place of discovery left in the lower 48 for future generations to enjoy. It’s becoming increasingly rare, and once it’s developed there will be no turning back.”
– Joe Walicki, veteran

“Getting outdoors onto protected, public lands inspires hope in our youth, our vets, and all of us. We need to protect the Owyhee River and surrounding canyonlands for generations of today and tomorrow.”
– Chad Brown, veteran, sportsman & owner of Soul River Fly Fishing

“As health care professionals we are responsible for the health and betterment of our communities. This is why so many of us strongly support permanent protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands and its diversity of active recreation opportunities. In an increasingly busy and connected world, having places where we can unplug, recharge and reconnect are becoming more important and rare. The Owyhee Canyonlands is one of these precious places. That’s why protecting this area is so important to the health of Oregonians.”
– Dr. Stuart Garrett, retired physician

“I may be 17, but it’s important that people my age stand up for what they believe in and strive to create the bright, healthy future they want to see. That’s why I support protecting Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands. Every generation deserves the chance to experience wild places as they are today – and reconnect with nature in places that haven’t been marred by mining or oil and gas development.”
– Liz Simpson, high school student

“The Owyhee Canyonlands is a national treasure and one of Oregon’s great outdoor icons—it is our state’s Grand Canyon — with some of the most remote, wild, untouched places in the entire nation. As elected officials who represent constituents in various parts of the state, we also understand the need to balance the interests of local communities with our strong commitment to protecting Oregon’s most important public lands and waters. We have found that protecting these special places often results in new and increased economic opportunities. The Owyhee country is a wonderful place that should be protected for future generations.”
– Pete Sorenson, Lane County commissioner

“I’ve been active in the Presbyterian Church my whole life, serving as a church elder in Corvallis and then in Bend. And a core tenet of my Christian faith is to treat others as I would wish to be treated. To me, this also translates into how we care for our public lands, especially a natural wonder like Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands. Are we being good stewards of the land? Are we preserving it for those generations that will come after us? To answer yes, I believe we must permanently protect the Owyhee Canyonlands.”

– LeBron Hardie, faith community

“We found that lands in the Owyhee proposal are among the most ecologically diverse, intact, and well-connected in the West, which indicates these lands have particularly high conservation value.”
– Dr. Brett Dickson, chief scientist at Conservation Science Partners

“Oregon’s recreational fishing industry generates more than $1 billion in consumer spending annually, and the Owyhee Canyonlands have an important role in our industry’s success. The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association represents retailers, lure makers, guides, rod builders, boat manufacturers, and others, and we know that angler access to healthy, public lands is the cornerstone of our industry. I urge our elected leaders to do all they can to ensure that the Owyhee Canyonlands receives the permanent protections this remarkable place needs and deserves.”
– Dan Cherry, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association

“Protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands would be good for my bottom line. My rafting business depends on places like the Owyhee Canyonlands for clean, abundant water.”
– Brian Sykes, lifetime whitewater rafter & co-owner of Ouzel Outfitters