Owyhee Canyonlands

Home » » Owyhee Canyonlands

Owyhee Canyonlands

Date: 04/23/2024     State: ID     Issue: Wild Lands     Partners: Duck Valley Indian Reservation, Friends of the Owyhee, National Wildlife Federation, Oregon Natural Desert Association, Trout Unlimited Airport Origin : Caldwell, ID    


Bring together Tribal Elders, electeds, and conservation, industry and community leaders to fly over the wild Owyhee Canyonlands and strengthen the grassroots efforts to advocate for immediate, permanent protection.

The Owyhee is a rugged, remote region of sagebrush steppe and deep canyons cut by rivers flowing from mountainous headwaters. It extends through southeast Oregon and southwest Idaho into northern Nevada and is defined by its incredible opportunities for solitude, its wild nature, and value to Indigenous peoples and outdoor enthusiasts.

We flew over farmlands and communities who enjoy and are supported by the Owyhee on the Oregon side, and saw urban sprawl encroaching from Boise and reaching the Owyhee Front in Idaho. The Owyhee area provides critical refuge for iconic species like bighorn sheep, sage grouse, and redband trout. The Owyhee Canyonlands is a living cultural landscape and is sacred and central to the Northern Paiute, Bannock, and Shoshone Tribes’ traditional uses. Following the Owyhee River, we flew above Owyhee Dam and over Owyhee Lake, a popular recreation area for camping, fishing, and boating. Beyond expanding urbanization and recreational use, the Owyhee is threatened by mining proposals. We flew near the proposed Grassy Mountain Mine site, which, if approved, will become Oregon's first chemical process gold mine, and we flew near the proposed DeLamar Mine, a historic silver and gold mine that was purchased by Integra Resources in 2017 with the hope of restarting mining operations.

EcoFlight's partners are working to protect this wild, recreational oasis by urging President Biden to establish the Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument. This swift action could create lasting protections that are widely supported by Oregonians and Idahoans. For years our partners have also been advocating for a Wilderness Area designation. In 2019, ranchers, conservationists, and Oregon’s Senator Wyden came together and proposed a 1.13 million acre Wilderness in Malheur County. If the newest iteration of this proposal gets through congress, about 17% of the watershed will become Wilderness. The bill’s sponsors and proponents have also called on President Biden to give the Owyhee immediate and everlasting protection under the Antiquities Act. EcoFlight will continue using the aerial perspective to showcase the beauty of the Owyhee and the need to preserve its many values for coming generations.


Click for photos from the 4/23 or 4/24 overflights. Click for geo-referenced photos from 4/23 or from 4/24

Flight Images

Flight Location

Related News