The Owyhee Canyonlands is one of America’s last best places. I’ve hiked the Honeycombs, camped with family at Three Forks and driven many rugged roads. During my 33 years as a high school history teacher in Bandon, I regularly made a point of taking students east to experience Oregon’s high desert. Its solitude and connection to the past are unlike anything else.
It’s these qualities I’d most like to preserve. The Owyhee somehow feels like it’s from an earlier time, but this will not last. The nearby Boise metropolitan area is now more than 600,000 and will continue to put pressure on the Owyhee. And there is certainly nowhere industrial development like oil and gas cannot reach. In addition, I believe my small town, Bandon, has done better economically than its neighbors because it has incorporated the natural beauty into its quality-of-life appeal. Towns near the Owyhee could do that too.
I always see something unique when I visit the Owyhee, whether it’s bighorns on the rocks or swallows darting into mud nests. It’s time to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands. Twenty to 25 years from now, we’ll be glad we did.