As a lifelong river runner and health care professional, I treasure wild rivers and remote canyons, not only for the opportunity to journey through spectacular natural areas, but also for the well-being and healing they can impart. As a registered nurse, I’ve seen the toll that modern life can take on our physical and mental health. I’ve seen the cumulative damage caused by daily stress and a sedentary lifestyle. One of the best prescriptions for wellness is to get outside, get active, unplug from social media, take a break from the hectic pace of “civilization,” and reconnect with nature. Open spaces and wild places can heal our bodies and our psyches.
The Owyhee Canyonlands offer something rare and precious. The Owyhee River and its tributaries are among the nation’s most remarkable river systems. By protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands we can ensure that this pristine wild country stays the way it is and continues to nurture us—body and spirit — for generations to come.
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I am a fourth-generation Oregonian and a 20-year river guide. I grew up in the Rogue Basin and have guided rivers all over southern Oregon and beyond. We are surrounded by amazing waterways that provide us with clean water, ample recreation, scenic beauty and sustainable economies.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen our river guide community’s numbers bolstered by some of the most inspired individuals to ever work the rivers. Our livelihoods are directly connected to Oregon’s wild places and we know how important it is to protect them.
One of the most remarkable and yet rarely visited rivers in Oregon is the Owyhee, aptly called Oregon’s Grand Canyon. As someone who knows the Grand Canyon well, I can say that the Owyhee and its canyons are just as magnificent and deserve permanent protections.
Not only do we help ourselves by protecting these last remaining, intact landscapes, but we do something great for the future of this state. Oregon is redefining itself as a destination state for tourism and outdoor adventure and needs rivers and lands like the Owyhee Canyonlands to be protected so that we may enjoy them now and in the future.