Deschutes Land Trust Completes Whychus Creek Conservation Agreement

Posted on in category Travel & Adventure

From The Bulletin by Michael Kohn. Read the ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE.

The Deschutes Land Trust, a Bend-based nonprofit organization that conserves land in Central Oregon, has finalized another land acquisition, bringing its total of protected land to over 13,000 acres.

The trust’s most recent acquisition — 1,123 acres of land along the Whychus Creek — was completed earlier this month. The land, known as Rimrock Ranch, is located northeast of Sisters.

The land that has been preserved includes canyons, pine and juniper forests, and nearly 2 miles of Whychus Creek. Deschutes Land Trust partnered with McKenzie River Trust on the long-term stewardship of the ranch.

“From the outset, our shared long-term vision for Rimrock Ranch was that the Land Trust would one day own and ensure permanent protection of its remarkable natural resources,” said Brad Chalfant, founding director for the Deschutes Land Trust. “We have now realized that vision.”

Work to acquire the land began in 2003. By 2006 a conservation agreement had been signed with the landowners to restrict development. It took an additional 14 years to change ownership over to the land trust. Funding for the purchase of the ranch came as the result of the trust’s capital campaign for Whychus Creek.

Owning the property, rather than simply having a conservation agreement, gives the trust a greater ability to do stream restoration, said Chalfant.

The Rimrock Ranch area includes a variety of wildlife, including reintroduced Chinook salmon and steelhead, mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk and golden eagles.

The Land Trust is developing a management plan for Rimrock Ranch. Those plans include the restoration of historic wet meadows along Whychus Creek that were damaged by previous efforts to control floods in the area. Restoration work is expected to start in 2021.

The general public can visit the ranch on guided walks hosted by the Deschutes Land Trust. The walks are temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trust has protected more than 13,000 acres of land in Central Oregon since it was founded in 1995. Earlier this year it preserved a 3,748-acre portion of a Crook County cattle ranch.

 48 total views