We are thrilled to announce a new conservation project on the John Day River. Western Rivers Conservancy recently embarked on a land acquisition that will revive the largest cold-water tributary to the lower river: Thirtymile Creek. Our effort at Thirtymile will improve some of the most important summer steelhead habitat in the John Day system and forever protect a public access point that is cherished by anglers, hunters and boaters from around the Pacific Northwest. Our acquisition of these lands will also improve habitat for spring Chinook and California bighorn sheep.
Big Sheep Creek is an appropriate name for this Columbia River tributary in remote northeast Washington. After flowing out of the Monashee Mountains on the Canadian border, the creek winds through an area known as “the Wedge,” a prime movement corridor for large mammals traveling between the United States and Canada. Caribou, moose, grizzly, Canada lynx, Rocky Mountain elk, wolverine and the creek’s namesake bighorn sheep all inhabit in the area. And they depend on Big Sheep Creek for the excellent habitat it provides.
We are very excited to announce a new partnership with FishPond and Chaco! FishPond creates top-notch fly fishing and outdoor gear, and Chaco has long been known for its indestructible river sandals. So it makes sense that the two companies are teaming up to produce the perfect river sandals—and teaming up with WRC to protect some of the country’s most treasured streams.
About rivers, Theodore Roosevelt was passionate. That passion changed the character of rivers, landscapes, and life in the Western U.S. More about that later, but first an illustrative and remarkable story. A hundred years ago, Roosevelt co-led a small group that explored Brazil’s intimidating Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt), a tributary of a tributary of a tributary of the Amazon on the eastern slopes of the Andes. The expedition was historic, tumultuous, and, as it happened, murderous.
In the remote northeast corner of Washington, Big Sheep Creek snakes its way out of the Monashee Mountains and winds through a wide valley of conifer forests, meadows and wetlands rich with wildlife. Rare redband and bull trout inhabit the creek, and the gentle, fertile terrain of the river valley makes it the region’s prime migration route for large mammals moving north and south between Canada and the United States. Moose, caribou, grizzly bear, Rocky Mountain elk, mountain goat and bighorn sheep all move regularly through the area. The valley is also home to rare predators like Canada lynx and wolverine.