WRC Blog

WRC Buys Strategic John Day River Property at Auction

Dec 16th, 2010  |  Written by Western Rivers Conservancy

WRC Buys Strategic John Day River Property at Auction
The Murtha Ranch Property. Photo by Dave Jensen.

One of our specialties is the ability act quickly when important conservation opportunities arise.

In dramatic fashion on November 30, on the steps of the courthouse in Wheeler County, Oregon, Western Rivers Conservancy was the successful bidder to purchase a 3,259-acre property at a sheriff’s foreclosure auction.

The property lies along a strategically important section of the John Day River, about 75 miles upstream of the Murtha Ranch, which WRC acquired in 2008. The land provides a vital link between three conservation areas: the recently-designated Spring Basin Wilderness, the proposed Cathedral Rock Wilderness and the Pine Creek Conservation Area. It is also located within the John Day Wild and Scenic River Corridor.

This reach of the lower John Day River provides excellent migratory and rearing habitat for threatened mid-Columbia steelhead. Scenic vistas reveal cathedral-like rock formations and rolling hills. The sagebrush-steppe landscape is dotted with pine stands and juniper woodlands that enrich the diversity of the canyon, where deer, elk, cougar and coyote dwell. The property also includes nearly 100 acres of private inholdings that lie within the Spring Basin Wilderness Area. Stay tuned for updates on conserving this important property.