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Poll: Support for Protecting Owyhee Canyonlands Crosses Party Lines

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A popular rafting and camping destination, the Owyhee Canyonlands stretch across southeastern Oregon's border with Idaho. (Bonnie Moreland/Flickr)
A popular rafting and camping destination, the Owyhee Canyonlands stretch across southeastern Oregon's border with Idaho. (Bonnie Moreland/Flickr)
January 15, 2021

ONTARIO, Ore. - Protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands is a popular idea for people from both major political parties, according to a new poll.

Polling firm John Zogby Strategies found 79% of likely Oregon voters would back legislation in Congress to protect this landscape, including 89% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans and 80% of people who identify as independents.

John Zogby is founder of the polling firm.

"It's safe to say that, while there may have been some differences - say, between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives - that the support really was strong across the board," said Zogby.

Past attempts by Oregon's delegation to protect the Owyhees haven't gained traction. However, a portion of the Owyhee River and surrounding canyons already are federally protected on the Idaho side of the border.

The poll was commissioned by Citizens for the Republic, a political action committee founded by Ronald Reagan in 1977.

The poll also finds high percentages of support for protecting the environment and rivers in general, among both liberals and conservatives.

While the 'left' is usually associated with environmental causes, Zogby didn't find it surprising that conservatives also back conservation causes. He referenced polling he did before the 2000 election.

"The support for conservation, for preserving the environment, was very, very strong," said Zogby. "In fact, in some instances, stronger than their opposition to abortion. And so, this is one area of commonality that we can count on."

On the Owyhee Canyonlands, the poll also found support from a variety of groups, including 63% of hunters, 64% of anglers, and 68% of gun owners.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR