I am a third generation Oregonian, born and raised in the Willamette Valley. I never thought I could live anywhere else, care about any other place, as much as this verdant valley I called home. Until, that is, I was introduced to the Owyhee Canyonlands by Mike Quigley.
That was in 1993. It was reason enough to marry the man, and I did — in 1994. In 1998, we moved to Boise in order to have easier access to the Owyhee. It was that compelling.
Now back in Oregon, and after nearly 23 years exploring the Owyhee Canyonlands from river to rim countless times, I know from firsthand experience that there are many reasons to protect this region.
The canyon geology offers some of the most stunning visual examples of rhyolite formations on our planet. It is unlike Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands or the Grand Canyon. Imagine spending nine full days in the Owyhee and never seeing another human being. Imagine waking to the mating calls of sage-grouse in the spring. Or coming upon a herd of California bighorn sheep and witnessing their grand escape up and over precipices that leave you awestruck. Or finding a steep desert slope awash with the golden sunflower blooms of arrow-leaf balsam root.
We Oregonians have a golden opportunity to protect a landscape like no other in these United States. It is public land. It belongs to all. And yet, it remains unprotected.
Let’s keep the Owyhee intact. Many generations in the future will thank us for our foresight, as we have come to recognize that the desert is not a wasteland and the Owyhee is a unique jewel in all of these United States.
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While the epicenters of my industry reside in the nation’s largest cities, I instead founded a marketing and advertising firm in Eugene in 1980, eventually netting Fortune 500 clients. One of the main reasons I’ve been devoted to staying Oregon is that, like so many others, I value incredible places like the Owyhee Canyonlands.
I fell hard for Oregon’s high desert shortly after moving here, particularly the stunning Owyhee. In the years since I have regularly camped, rafted and hiked through the Owyhee’s craggy canyons, clear rivers and sagebrush hills.
Protecting amazing places like the Owyhee Canyonlands can serve as an economic draw and an anchor for businesses that want to keep quality employees who value our Oregon way of life. I have had scores of employees who moved here to be able to live and work in Oregon. I’m committed to a bright future for this state, and I firmly believe permanently protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands is a solid investment for our future.
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As a student in the Environmental Leadership and Geology programs at the University of Oregon, I believe that people my age should speak up for the things that they care about. We can create change and can make a difference. That is why I am speaking for the Owyhee Canyonlands. This amazing piece of Oregon should be protected for generations to enjoy, explore and learn.
I am a native Oregonian, and the restorative powers of nature have been instilled in me since I was a child. Sharing the wonders of our natural world is now a passion: In addition to working on my degrees, I teach preschool and volunteer for programs like YMCA summer camps and Girl Circus. I regularly incorporate with my students and campers lessons about special places like the Owyhee Canyonlands. I hope for them to appreciate their magnificent home state.
I want to tell my students with certainty that the Owyhee Canyonlands will always be here for them to enjoy. And I believe the Owyhee is worth the effort to protect it.