Welcome to "ION" Country, a term coined by locals who understand that borders do not change the fact that these regions of Idaho, Oregon and Nevada are interconnected. The Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon is only part of ION country but it's a major part of the ecosystem and one of the last remaining unprotected wild desert lands in the lower 48 states. In July of 2012, EcoFlight flew conservation leaders over the landscape, looking particularly at grazing allotments that will soon be retired by the BLM. These plots of land make up a substantial part of this spectacular area, and the Idaho Conservation League is working with local foundations in hopes that they will be added to the wilderness areas that make Owyhee so special.
The Owyhee Canyonlands region consists over 1.9 million acres and is home to a thriving diversity of plant and animals species, including sage grouse, pronghorns, big horn sheep, and golden eagles. This area provides rich recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, from hikers and hunters to river runners who paddle the Wild and Scenic River. Home to 17 Wilderness Study Areas and many nearby federal lands with similar wilderness qualities, Owyhee Canyonlands is awaiting congressional action for much needed wilderness protection. The Oregon Owyhee Canyonlands Initiative is working to designate these areas as Wilderness.
In Idaho, local citizens came to agreement over how the Idaho Owyhee should be managed over the long term. Idahoans were successful in their efforts to designate six Wilderness areas in Owyhee County through The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. Now Oregonians have a chance at protecting their back-yard, including the upper reaches of the Owyhee and the West Little Owyhee Rivers, both of which have been designed as wild and scenic.
Check out this map provided by Oregon's Owyhee Canyonlands Campaign.
Learn more about The Oregon Owyhee Canyonlands Initiative at www.WildOwyhee.org
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