We left the Owyhee in the rain (apropos) and a bit down. Flicker (the trailer) was in disrepair and without a spare, and we had failed on our mission to visit Cedar Mt. Thankfully our next stop was Boise to see friends and visit a NAPA auto parts store.
Amazingly the rain followed us to Boise and that night brought a deluge of rain more typical of a Portland winter. In the afternoon, during a brief dry spell, we ran out to see the Birds of Prey Refuge. … Read the rest
Snookered by rain the previous day we contemplated a return to Cedar Mountain. Rain was again forecast, so we thought better of another attempt.
With nowhere to race off to, we enjoyed our first relaxed morning. In the afternoon, we unhitched from Flicker and drove into Jordan Valley where we saw a great big No Monument sign at the town center. We soon met Hazel Fretwell-Johnson and toured her yard and home, heard many stories, and bought one of her five books, In Times Past. Hazel was … Read the rest
After Burns we drove south, met an elder couple in a side by side ATV with a chainsaw and two dogs. They were looking for “agates or whatever.” When we said we were on a public lands tour, he replied “they keep trying to close them down.” And when asked what he meant, he explained “the monuments.” He didn’t elaborate, and we continued south and crossed the Malheur river.
We came upon a roundup of sorts. There were many cows and some Cowboys walking their horses across the … Read the rest
On our way to the Owyhee, we stopped for parts (trailer repair) and food in Burns. We happened upon the Steens Mountain Brewery. As a former resident of Burns, Sam couldn’t be more excited! They are using local feral hops originally planted by German immigrants. Very cool. We chatted with Andrew (the brewer) about how Burns was doing. He noted a familiar tension between people wanting to move towards a recreation/tourism economy and people who were waiting for a return of the extractive industries. For instance, his father … Read the rest
We woke up early again the next morning for a 9:00 am group meeting including a welcome from federal employee Laurel. Laurel wears multiple hats now because of the federal hiring freeze. There are two on-site staff for Hart Mountain’s 278k acres. There are another dozen staff at headquarters in Lakeview, Oregon, but they are also in charge of Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge 573 (k) acres in northern Nevada. In other words these public lands are staffed around 50k acres per employee.
Late starts seem to be our … Read the rest
After a flurry of packing everything we owned into a 10’x10′ storage unit, we left Portland at 8:00 pm on June 4th headed for Bend. At mile 37, we were pulled over by Sandy Officer Cox for a non-functioning tail light. I write non-functioning because we just paid a shop $400 to safety check Flicker (our intrepid trailer) including fixing the tail lights. Fortunately Officer Cox was kind enough to let us go with a warning. What a nice guy! We arrived at Michelle’s mother’s house about 1:30 … Read the rest
The idea: support and learn about public lands. It seemed the best way to contribute and learn would be to get out there and volunteer. It’d also be a good way to meet the people working to protect these places and hear the current challenges of public lands management.
Along the way we are visiting the 21 National Monuments located in the contiguous western US that are under review by the Department of Interior. While this may be just the latest foray of the larger movement to prioritize … Read the rest