Western Rivers Conservancy buys another John Day River ranch; future public access possible
Jan 7th, 2015 | Written by The Oregonian
Photo by David Jensen
Terry Richard at The Oregonian wrote a great story about our continued work on the John Day River—and its value for fish, wildlife and anglers, hunters, hikers and other recreationists.
"Western Rivers Conservancy has done it again.
The Portland-based land conservancy, which made Oregon's Cottonwood Canyon State Park possible, has bought another large ranch on the John Day River of east-central Oregon.
Western Rivers recently completed purchase of the Rattray Ranch on Thirtymile Creek in Gilliam County near Condon. The ranch had been owned for three generations by the same family that homesteaded in the 1880s, passing it down to the six sisters who sold it.
The change in ownership of 14,148 acres of ranch land, plus grazing rights for 10,530 adjacent acres of BLM land, may one day open a part of Oregon seldom visited by the public. The ranch has all-weather private road access to the John Day River to where it runs in a 1,000-foot deep canyon. The 70-mile federal wild and scenic segment of the river in the canyon has no other viable public access, except for boating all those miles.
Access through the ranch to the river has been available for a fee and will continue that way, until Western Rivers determines otherwise.
Western Rivers' intent is to convey the property to the Prineville District of the federal Bureau of Land Management, which has long been interested in the area due to the river access the ranch offers and because of outstanding fish and wildlife habitat in the area."
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