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Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Monitoring

September 3, 2019

$65 – $75

Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Monitoring

When Oct 02, 2014 03:00 PM to
Oct 05, 2014 12:00 PM
Where Owyhee
Contact Name Michael O’Casey
Contact Phone (541) 330-2638
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Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) inspire us.  They remain some of the last great open places and rugged canyons in the West, where animals have the freedom to roam and the vistas stretch on for miles.  The Vale BLM has over 22 different WSAs within the Owyhee Canyonlands- and no two more important than the Owyhee River WSA and Lookout Butte WSA near the Nevada and Idaho border.  Both of these areas tie together an expansive landscape integral to sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer; and they also contain flourishing desert plant communities, Paiute lithic scatters and breathtaking views along the Wild and Scenic West Little Owyhee River.

This trip will be focused on helping the BLM establish a baseline monitoring trend for the two WSAs and further south into Lands with Wilderness Character.  ONDA volunteers will accomplish this by traversing the area on foot and in their vehicles using GPS cameras to document man-made impacts on the landscape.

Owyhee Canyonlands Inventory #2
A great shot of last year’s volunteers on the Owyhee Canyon Rim. Photo by Jim Davis



  • Thursday, October 2nd: Meet at Burns Junction at 3PM Pacific Time to carpool to the campsite at Anderson Crossing.  After reaching our campsite by 5:30PM we will have dinner and then go over how to use the GPS and cameras.
  • Friday, October 3rd: Awake early and head into the backcountry by 8AM.  We will be split into two or three groups and travel north into the Owyhee River Canyon WSA.
  • Saturday, October 4th: Another early morning, leaving the campsite by 8AM for another day of monitoring and signing- this time heading south to the Lookout Butte WSA and Lands with Wilderness Character.
  • Sunday, October 5th: Finally, a well-earned morning of rest and coffee. After breakfast we will pack up and head home.  We will reach the pavement of Highway 95 by 12PM Pacific Time so that volunteers can make the five and a half hour drive back to Bend and beyond.

Expect long days traveling rocky, bone-jarring roads leading to canyon edges.  Driving is perhaps the greatest challenge we’ll face in the Owyhee country, but up to two-mile hikes over uneven ground might be a close second.  Volunteers will have to navigate on unsigned backcountry roads using GPS and work cooperatively as a team to take pictures and collect valuable field notes for use by ONDA staff at a later date. Using GPS cameras we will document naturalness characteristics inside the Wilderness Study Area boundaries. This includes photopoint monitoring of unauthorized motor vehicle use, dispersed campsites, and wildlife encounters.  Volunteers will receive training on how to use GPS cameras and write pertinent field notes. Some areas will be driven to but many will involve a hike over uneven ground through sagebrush.


This trip will involve car camping at dispersed/undeveloped camping areas along dirt roads in the Owyhee backcountry.  At least one night will be spent at Anderson Crossing.  Participants need to have a tent capable of handling cold temperatures, rain, and wind… or the ability to sleep comfortably in their own vehicles.

Owyhee Canyonlands Inventory
A place that will not soon be forgotten!


The terrain in this region isn’t very steep, but the cross country travel through thick sagebrush and over uneven ground can be challenging and tiring. Weather can be highly variable.  Driving and camping conditions are primitive and the location is one of the most remote within the lower 48 states.


Participants are highly encouraged to have (or have a ride in) a high-clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle in good working order for this trip.
 The vehicle should have a full-size spare tire, towing straps/chains, jack, and board for the jack, fix-a-flat, lug wrench, and jumper cables.   Carpooling is highly encouraged.

Driving conditions in the Owyhee are extremely challenging.  Roads are often unmaintained, rocky, and rutted.  A small amount of precipitation makes the road surface slippery and creates a mud buildup that clogs wheel wells and limits travel.

Participants are responsible for their own food and as well as transportation to and from the trip.

Participants will need their own four-season tent or the ability to sleep in their cars; a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, cookware, stove, lanterns and headlamps are also required.
Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are recommended for this trip.

A full packing list will be provided by the trip leader 3 weeks before the trip.


ONDA will provide the gear for the work, excellent guidance in the field, and a few group camping items to make things more comfortable (chairs, tables, dishwashing bins, campfire materials, water, shade/rain tarp, etc)


This trip will be led by ONDA’s Wilderness Stewardship Assistant, Michael O’Casey Michael@onda.org
Group size will be limited to 8 participants.
This trip is offered free of charge.

An ONDA registration application and medical form is required for this trip. Click HERE for the form.  You only need to fill this form out once per year: You can join additional 2014 trips by e-mailing the trip leader directly.  You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 10 working days of submitting your form.  The confirmation e-mail will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list”.  Five weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs open spaces will be backfilled with people from the wait list.  Three weeks before the trip begins, the trip leader will send out an e-mail with additional information, maps, driving instructions, car-pooling options etc. However, if you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.


Deschutes Brewery
(541) 382-9242
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Deschutes Brewery Public House
1044 NW Bond St
Bend, OR 97701 United States
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