On Oregon’s lower John Day River, between two spectacular BLM wilderness study areas, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased a second ranch on Thirtymile Creek. The purchase complements our ongoing effort to conserve Thirtymile Creek and ten miles of the lower John Day, while creating new recreational access to over 75,000 acres of public BLM lands surrounding the ranches.
The Associated Press picked up the recent story about our work on the John Day River at Thirtymile Creek. This is an exciting project on what is truly one of the great rivers of the West.
"A conservation group has bought a second large ranch along the John Day River in Central Oregon that could eventually provide public access to a remote, scenic part of the state.
The Western Rivers Conservancy bought the Murtha Ranch at Cottonwood Canyon in 2008 and then sold it to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for what’s now the second-largest state park, at 8,000 acres.
The organization recently bought a ranch 40 miles upstream, at Thirtymile Creek in Gilliam County, near Condon."
Snaking across eastern Oregon, the John Day River winds through a land of basalt canyons and sweeping river bends, where bighorn sheep outnumber cars and the scent of sagebrush fills the air. In spring and summer, boaters put in at sites like Service Creek, Twickenham and Clarno and spend multiple days floating the river, bass fishing and soaking up the spectacular scenery. Each fall, hunters and anglers return to the river just as surely as the wild steelhead do with the coming of higher water.
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.