Facts about Protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands

The 2.5-million-acre Owyhee Conservation Proposal seeks to protect the most scenic and ecologically significant areas of Oregon’s Owyhee via national conservation area, wilderness and wild and scenic river designations that would be established through legislation. And there are a million 2.5 million reasons to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands. Besides its stunning vistas, incredible wildlife habitat and outstanding recreation opportunities, safeguarding this area will also preserve our way of life.

Here’s how:

Mining & Oil and Gas Development
Currently all existing oil and gas leases are outside of the proposed boundaries of the Owyhee Conservation Proposal. Current mining proposals (Grassy Mountain Gold and Aurora Uranium) are also outside of the boundary and would not be impacted.

Grazing would continue under the proposal to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands. In fact, the legislation would explicitly grandfather in grazing. Additionally, legislation could add certainty for grazers in the form of access and facility maintenance that isn’t currently possible.

Hunting, Fishing & Other Recreation
The Owyhee Canyonlands is critical wildlife habitat for over 200 species, including California bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, chukar and the Greater Sage-grouse. Hunting and fishing access in the Owyhee would be preserved. Activities like rafting, hiking and camping would also continue. Major roads and routes would remain open to safeguard these time-tested traditions.

Roads and Search & Rescue 
The Wilderness Act allows for motorized access for firefighting and for search and rescue. Additionally, the road system would be similar to what exists now. Existing maintained and legal roads to both popular and remote areas in the Owyhee will remain open.

Economic Boost to Our Local Communities
recent economic study found that Malheur County – where the proposal is located – could benefit greatly from protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Wildfire Management 
The Bureau of Land Management can use all available wildfire suppression tactics within the proposal boundaries. Everything from air tankers to bulldozers is allowed with agency approval.

Preserving Wildlife Habitat 

Safeguarding the Owyhee Canyonlands would preserve critical wildlife habitat and conserve existing water developments in the proposal, such as wildlife guzzlers. Maintenance of existing water developments is allowed in wilderness and new water developments could be allowed if needed for wildlife.

Restoration and Active Management
If protected, the Owyhee Canyonlands could help create more local BLM jobs. It would also provide restoration management opportunities. Restoration and management can and does occur in wilderness.