The Whychus-Deschutes proposed Wilderness is a rugged and beautiful landscape in central Oregon. Driving here requires a vehicle with high clearance and some sturdy hiking shoes for the remaining distance. It is a place of weathered cliffs, cold streams, and rocky canyons. A prominent landmark is Alder Springs. The main spring appears to spontaneously gush from the dry ground at an impressive 60 gallons per second. These cool waters flow a short distance into the picturesque Whychus Creek and a few miles further it joins the turbulent waters of the Middle Deschutes River. These unique waterways provide spawning habitat for salmon, steelhead, and are central to all life in the area. This wilderness is prominent in fueling the region’s robust outdoor recreation opportunities, tourism industry, and a high quality of life. The Whychus-Deschutes landscape is an asset, yet it lacks permanent protection. The purpose of this Obsidian trip was to learn more about about the natural history, rebuild trails, fix up campsites, and remove some invasive plants that were taking resources from native species. We joined several other volunteers for an extended weekend of restoration work with the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA). Animals we saw on this trip included two bald eagles, turkey vultures, several meadowlarks, a robin, one gemstone colored Lazuli Bunting, scores of butterflies, and two snakes. Sadly, we saw four deceased deer, victims of an aggressively cold winter. We worked hard on this trip, but seeing this land on a behind-the-scenes trip was worth every step.Members: Mark Hougardy, Christiane Hougardy, Kathy Randall, Brad Bennett, Cindy Rice, Jack Loe.
An amazing view looking down Whychus Creek.—photo by Mark Hougardy
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