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Oregonians Across the State Campaign to Protect Owyhee Canyonlands

The Owyhee Canyonlands cover more than 2 million acres in southeast Oregon near the Idaho border. (Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington)
The Owyhee Canyonlands cover more than 2 million acres in southeast Oregon near the Idaho border. (Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington)
April 28, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. - Veterans, business leaders and outdoor adventurists from across the state have come together for a new campaign to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands in southeast Oregon. The coalition Wild for the Owyhee is calling on lawmakers to permanently protect more than two million acres of land in southeast Oregon.

Jim Hammett, a hunter who enjoys the Owyhee for its solitude, is worried some potential uses of the land without protection could harm its recreational value.

"One of the things that has come up are energy corridors," he said. "In other words, corridors for transmission of gas, oil and electricity, as well as wind generation and other things."

Hammett said fears that additional protection would do away with road networks and other barriers to access inside the Owyhee are unfounded.

Robyn Janssen, river guide for Momentum River Expeditions on the Owyhee River, said no one will be pushed out of this unique landscape if it is given more protection.

"A lot of people have come to the table to really make this work for everyone," she said. "it's not just one group of people saying, 'Well, we want to do this and you can't do this,' and I think that's a great way to handle these types of protections."

Veteran Chad Brown, founder and executive director of Soul River, a company that takes inner-city kids and veterans to remote places in the Northwest to connect them with the outdoors, said the Owyhee is one of Soul River's destinations because of its tranquility and lack of development.

"This is a jewel and it's raw and it's wild, and it should be kept like that and respected," he said.

View the petition online here.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR