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PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2018 


Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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Birthday Bash for OR Badlands, Spring Basin Wilderness

PHOTO: Stark beauty and solitude is what Oregon Badlands fans say is the appeal of this 29,000-acre wilderness area. Photo credit: Greg Burke.
PHOTO: Stark beauty and solitude is what Oregon Badlands fans say is the appeal of this 29,000-acre wilderness area. Photo credit: Greg Burke.
March 28, 2014

BEND, Ore. – This weekend marks five years since the Oregon Badlands near Bend and Spring Basin near the John Day River were designated as federal wilderness areas.

For its fifth birthday, the Badlands have a new Wilderness Management Plan from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), outlining improvements and rules for the coming years.

A maximum of 20 people will be allowed on group hikes, and there's some livestock grazing permitted, but no target shooting or hang-gliding.

Gena Goodman-Campbell, Central Oregon wilderness coordinator for the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), says it's always a balance between keeping the rustic character of the area and encouraging people to use it.

"Some of the parking lots within the existing footprint will be hardened, some gravel will be added, so that it's just a little bit easier to park there and it's really clear where people should be driving,” she says. “And a couple of the trailheads will have improved access for horse trailers, which is great."

The plan also says more than 60 miles of old trails through the area will be rehabilitated.

Friends of the Oregon Badlands is a volunteer group that serves as extra eyes and ears for the BLM and helps with maintenance projects.

Board member Kevin Taylor says anyone who looks at the desolate landscape of central Oregon and doesn't see its appeal isn't looking hard enough.

"Ask the writers who go out there for quiet, or the artists or the photographers,” he says. “Ask the botanists – ask them if there's value to it, and they'll tell you. It's just all about perspective. And if nobody's there to take care of this, it's just going to get trashed up and, in years down the road, it'll be gone."

Taylor says in the past five years, these wilderness areas have attracted more tourists as well as new residents and businesses to the region.

ONDA worked on getting these wilderness designations for more than 20 years. The group is having a birthday reception for the Badlands and Spring Basin on Friday, April 4 at its office in Bend.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR