The Great Outdoors: Fall River Field Trip

There’s a growing number of outdoor classroom programs for students in Central Oregon–a chance for them to learn about nature and the way it works.

For this week’s Great Outdoors, Brian Jennings takes us on a student field trip to the Fall River.

Thanks Brian for that report. A special thanks to our Great Outdoors sponsor, Parr Lumber, for giving us the time and resources to explore the lakes, rivers and mountains across our beautiful state every Wednesday night on Central Oregon Daily.

Wildhaven Preserve May Become Part of Deschutes National Forest

The Wildhaven Preserve north of Sisters is currently managed by the Nature Conservancy could soon be under new management as part of the Deschutes National Forest.

The Nature Conservancy has confirmed talks with the Forest Service. Catherine MacDonald, the Nature Conservancy’s director of policy and external affairs, said they were excited by the Forest Service’s idea to use the land for environmental education – specifically children’s programs.

However new management could mean more human encroachment on what is currently 160-acres of wilderness.

 

The land is home to elk, deer and wild turkey and, with no hunting allowed on the preserve, those animals only have to worry about natural predators like bear, cougar, coyotes, bobcats and lynx.

This change concerns Mark and Leslyn Grape, who have been caretakers of the Wildhaven Preserve for 20 years. The Grapes said their biggest concern is allowing hunters back on to the land.

Mark Grape said he has had unsavory interactions with hunters and has found skinned or mutilated animal carcasses left on the property.

“Not everyone who comes into the outdoors comes with an open heart,” said Mark Grape.

The Grapes said the land has also maintained natural grasses and boasts old growth juniper trees – some up to 1,250 years old – which are important habitat for local wildlife.

The Grapes added that this isn’t what the land was meant for when it was donated to the Nature Conservancy by Gil and Vivian Staender. The couple who hoped it would be shared with the public but maintained as a natural environment.

This change hits home for the Grapes, who have maintained the land while living in the historic cabin built by the Staenders. The Grapes were told they need to be out by June 18.

“It totally breaks out heart,” said Mark Grape.

The Nature Conservancy has said nothing is final but talks with the Forest Servie will continue next Monday.

The Great Outdoors: Forest Thinning for Fire Prevention

Preventing wildfires is a year-round job, even when it’s not fire season yet. In this week’s Great Outdoors, Brian Jennings takes us to the Deschutes National Forest outside Sisters for a look at one of their fire prevention programs.

A special thanks to our Great Outdoors sponsor, Parr Lumber, for giving us the time and resources to explore the lakes, rivers and mountains across our beautiful state every Wednesday night on Central Oregon Daily.

The Great Outdoors: Ryan Ranch Restoration Project

Before there was ever a Deschutes County or City of Bend, there was a 70-acre ranch established in the 1890’s near Dillon Falls that was primarily used for cattle. Today, the U.S. Forest Service owns that land and crews are restoring it back to the wildlife sanctuary that it once was.

Brian Jennings takes us to Deschutes National Forest‘s Ryan Ranch Restoration Project for this week’s Great Outdoors, sponsored by Camp Abbot Trading Company in Sunriver.

Crews Working to Reopen Old McKenzie Highway After Milli Fire

The impact of the Milli Fire that threatened the residents of Sisters over the summer is still being felt in the Deschutes National Forest.

On Thursday, Central Oregon Daily’s Allison Roecker got a chance to tour the damaged areas of the wilderness, where crews are working on reopening the Old McKenzie Highway.

U.S. Representative Greg Walden Meets with Forest Service and Public

The U.S. Forest Service-Deschutes National Forest and U.S. Forest Service – Willamette National Forest are considering a plan to limit access to five different wilderness areas in the Central Cascades as concerns grow about the impact of a spike in tourists during the last decade.

As Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan reports, Representative Greg Walden paid a visit to the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station on Tuesday to get an update on the Forest Service’s proposal.

Forest Service to Clear Damaged Trees at Lake Campground

Families and outdoor enthusiasts across Central Oregon were disappointed when the U.S. Forest Service first announced the closure of the Cultus Lake Campground for the summer. Scores of dead and diseased trees posed a safety hazard for campers, and initially, the Forest Service said crews had to wait until the end of the Northern Spotted Owl’s breeding season to start the removal operation.

As Central Oregon Daily’s Mackenzie Wilson reports, the Forest Service heard the complaints and came up with a new plan to “clear the way” for a possible re-opening of the campground this summer.

Prescription Burn in Shevlin Park

It’s that sinking feeling you get when you’re driving through town and you see a giant plume of smoke in the distance. It happens a lot around this time of year, and so far, prescribed burns have been the source of that smoke.

On Thursday, the Deschutes National Forest teamed up with the Bend Park & Recreation District for a prescribed burn of 48 acres in Shevlin Park, and Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was there for the story.

Learning the Lay of the Land

You might see them maintaining trails or serving as hosts at campgrounds. Whatever the task, volunteers are an invaluable asset to the U.S. Forest Service and the Deschutes National Forest.

Central Oregon Daily’s Mackenzie Wilson introduces us to volunteer interpretive rangers who help create a memorable experience for tourists and locals who visit our forests and monuments.